I’ve always been fairly confident that if accosted, unless there was a gun or knife involved, I could hold my ground. My plan of action was to jam an elbow or knee where necessary to take the guy to the ground, then run and scream like crazy. Everything sounds like it will work when listening to plans in your mind.

Late in the summer just after our first anniversary, Jim and I moved into a duplex not far from the university campus where he was in the middle of two a day football practices. The tiny space had wasn’t air conditioned, so all the windows were propped open with box fans set on high. I think the fans just stirred the heat.

Early one morning after Jim left, I heard someone calling his dog through my open bedroom window, but ignored it and went back to sleep. The next morning right after Jim left, I heard the guy calling his dog again, “Blondie, Blondie. Come on over and see me.”

I sat straight up in bed when I realized this guy wasn’t calling his dog. I jumped up, closed and locked all the doors and windows, grabbed my 15 pound Dachshund for protection and sat down in the hall like I was in a tornado drill. At that time no one but Dick Tracey had a cell phone and Jim wouldn’t be home until noon. It was 7am.

All my imagined courage evaporated when I was actually faced with a situation. After an hour in the hall drenched in sweat I suddenly realized my plan of action only worked in my head and I got mad; mad at myself for being such a baby and mad at a person I had never seen for harassing me. The next day the almost perpetrator was evicted. As it turned out he was known in the neighborhood and was harmless, but in my mind he was a potential ax murderer.

Bravery is tested only when you come face to face with your fears. Each of us is courageous, just in different areas of our lives.

Erma Bombeck once said, “All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with white carpet is one of them.” I don’t know if that’s a test of courage or a lack of sane judgement.

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