My brother was little at the time, and had been at a friend’s house. I don’t remember what the occasion was, but my parents were picking him up. It was late at night, winter. My parents pick my brother up, load him into their car, and start driving home. As they are leaving the neighborhood to get to the main road, they see a man come out of the woods with a shotgun, and get into his van on the side of the road.

Now, the area I grew up in was suburban, but the folks can be rather redneck. Seeing someone come out of the woods with a shotgun is worrisome, but usually just means it was a poacher.

Dad just keeps driving. The man gets into his car and follows my parents onto the main road. Still nothing to be worried about. They make a few turns on the way home, and it becomes increasingly obvious that the van was following them.

They pull into the housing plan we lived in, which was mostly new construction. The van pulls into the plan behind them.

At the time, our house was the only finished, occupied house on our little cul-de-sac. The street lights hadn’t even been turned on yet. Pitch black. Winter. Cold. Isolated.

The van pulls into our driveway behind my dad.

Dad gets out of the car, sends mom and brother into the house and tells them to lock the door. He waits till they get inside, then he walks up to the van. Stands at the nose of the car, and just stares at the man inside. Waits. No questions, no bravado, no nothing. He just stands there and waits. Intimidatingly.

Now what you need to know about my father at that time; He is an intimidating man, and always has been. Without being overly tall or large, he has a presence. You just don’t want to mess with him. He is now much older and somewhat overweight. But in 1977 he must have been something, because without any words being exchanged, the man put his van into reverse and just… drove away.

The story doesn’t end there though. The next morning it was all over the news. A man had been murdered the night before, in the housing plan my parents picked my brother up from. Just a street away, a man had been shot through his living room window with a shotgun. The man died on the floor while the wife tried to flee with the kids asleep upstairs.

The wife leads the man through the woods on a chase. They find her body a few hours later in the woods. The same area where my family saw the man come out of the woods.

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