Back when I was 12 our church youth choir was invited to give a night-time Halloween performance at … wait for it … The Evergreen-Washelly Cemetary in Seattle. On the appointed day we crammed onto the tired old First Presbyterian summer camp bus for a boisterous ride to our performance venue. The fact that we were going to be singing in a grave yard had us all wound up, and we looked forward with excited anticipation to the hot cocoa and cookies promised to us afterwards!
We arrived after dark, assembled for last minute instructions from Mrs. Sherman and shortly were herded together to the stage for our singing performance. All went well and no one blundered… well, not too badly anyway. Afterwards, we attacked a table loaded with hot chocolate and treats in the eery darkness, grave stones and cemetery statuary all around us.
Since the bus would not be leaving for another 30 minutes we decided to play a game of Graveyard Hide & Seek and, as can be imagined, we had a blast hiding behind an infinite number of strange cold statues and markers! I was proud of my concealment skills as I avoided getting “caught” that night. Oh what fun… playing in a cemetery in the dark with friends! My self confidence grew and I ventured further and further out to avoid detection.
We had been playing for about 15 minutes when I found myself stooped down behind a headstone, waiting to hear yelling that would tell me that someone else had been caught… and I waited and waited … maybe for 5 minutes… and I heard nothing so finally, frustrated, I stood up to check things out and discovered that I had no idea where I was and there was no one in sight. I had gone too far out into the darkness and suddenly realized with terror that I was LOST IN A CEMETARY ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT !
I strained to hear the familiar voices of my church playmates but heard nothing. I couldn’t even see the lights over the stage where we had performed. My heart pounded out of my chest as terror replaced my earlier self-confidence. I wanted to run away, but where to? I was frozen with a scared-to-death fear. I was dead meat!
Well or course I did finally find my way back to safety after many minutes later, running up to the ready-to-depart bus under Mrs. Sherman’s look of disapproval. They had been waiting for me. Everyone was mad at me for the delay and I acted like it was no big deal, but I was secretly relieved beyond belief to be going home because for many dark, dark moments, just a few minutes earlier, I really believed that I would be sleeping with the dead in the cemetery that night!