At The Tone The Time Will Be…



There’s an Urban Legend- based on an Old Wives Tale that at twenty minutes after the hour ” an inexplicable silence ” will strike a group of conversationalists.

I’ve never actually noticed this, but I years ago I think I saw something like it happening in my back yard for almost an entire summer.

My Sister and her family had just moved back to the State and we had invited them to live with us while they looked for a place and settled back into the Pacific Northwest life.

It was Summer and it was hot so her daughters, who were about 4 and 6 years old, were spending a lot of time in the backyard in their little swimming pool or they would hang around in the shade playing with their toys and my cats and dogs.

I started to notice that once a day the girls and my dogs would walk the same place along the fence line until they reached  the far corner of the yard where there’s an Oak tree and once they got there they’d stop and stand.

They would each seem to be looking straight ahead in different directions and then they would walk away in different directions and get on with the rest of their day.

It was a game I thought so I was able to put it from my mind for a little while

But it was happening over and over again.

So finally one day I asked my older Niece what they were doing in the corner of the yard with the dogs and she said, ” You know. ”

I said I didn’t and then she shrugged and motioned for me to lean over. Then she says in my ear ” You know.”

From the look on her face it looked like she felt like she had made her point. I could tell it was really important to her that I get it so I smiled back and said, ” Oh, I see.”

Well that went nowhere fast, and I just let it go.Then one day I came home from work and there they were in the corner of the yard, all four of them standing still and I could clearly see that they were all looking directly At something.

” What are you girls doing there? ” I said over the fence and my youngest niece looked up at me and smiled and laughed and said,  We’re not doing anything Tia. “

She was looking over my shoulder when she said that and did I turn around to catch a look at what she saw?

Not on your life.



11 thoughts on “At The Tone The Time Will Be…

  1. It is official. I am never doing a sleepover with you Anita. You would tell a couple stories and then happily snooze off and I would spend the rest of the night staring at the ceiling with my eyebrows frozen at an unnaturally high angle.


  2. Max…I know how this would work, you’d invite someone over on that you really want to scare and you’d invite me over too …and they when I tell the story you’d go out ‘for a sec’.
    You wouldn’t be able to resist.

    Hi Dolly- as soon as my nieces tell me, I’ll let you know. But I’m not in a rush to ask 😉


  3. My dad told really scary made up stories. They were always stories about something true with enough true events in them they could be real, and nice little details like, you know, a ketchup bottle breaking in a store aisle, which always makes things more real, when you do that [stolen liberally as an example from Mr. King I think], and then you would look at him and say [like the five year old you were] You Are So Making That Up.

    And he would say, Hmm. And raise an eyebrow. And saunter away.

    The irony of this is, between he and I, it became a joke. But I guess it was only supposed to be a grown up joke or something because the night I told two kids staying the night a scary story based part on truth with nice details like ketchup bottles breaking they freaked and I got in a lot of trouble.


  4. Hi Max
    I had some natural born story tellers in my family and few who actually practiced the stories they told at family events.

    My Mom’s Dad told me that when I told a ghost story to ALWAYS look around the room and find some little detail from the to put into the story.

    Like have a character wearing the same jacket as someone there, or put in the name of a person you all know…something subtle and familiar.

    Then, my Grandfather said in his real heavy Filipino accent, ” you got them forever. ”

    I didn’t understand that until I got older too…but to tink that a kid was running around doing that ( like we both did from the sounds of it ) …now THAT is a scary thought.

    Cool…but scary.

    ps when my Mom got complaints she considered it a compliment, so that was totaly wasted on her…then I’d get some sort of reward for telling a good story. What can I say, my family were odd.



  5. God… here I go, innocently clicking a link over at criminy’s because I’m a bit bored, knowing your reputation but thinking it can’t be bad… scrolling down the page… and you spring this upon me.

    It was rather good, actually. Besides the fact that I’m scared to death now. Count me in the not wanting to know what they saw crowd.

    I scare easily, but I might come back anyway, because my foolishness outweighs that particular trait. Great blog!


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