One December night long ago, my little brother and I woke to a clunk and clanging. We lived at the beach and from our open bedroom window could hear the familiar sounds of the surf and foghorn, but this noise was new. Maybe Santa had come early! It was almost Christmas. Our parents were asleep, apparently not aware of the commotion. We crept out to the living room to investigate, leaving our sister safe in her crib.
Santa had been there! But instead of toys he had left behind a bunch of black boxes in various shapes. We opened the lids, astonished to find a shiny musical instrument in each box, nestled in blue velvet. There was a trumpet, a trombone, flute, clarinet, and a saxophone. We bumped into some brass cymbals, which finally roused the household.
I don't remember my parents' reaction except that they called the police. After all, a stranger had broken into our home!
This curious event from my childhood inspired The Secret of the Junkyard Shadow. In this Cabin Creek adventure, folks are perplexed about broken items showing up on their porches in good repair. It takes much sleuthing for the cousins to solve this mystery, but a lot of nice things happen along the way.
Back to our living room. It turned out that a musician from a beach club had volunteered to deliver all the instruments to a friend's home. It was late and dark and he was on the wrong street. So when he found the house with the porch light on and the front door unlocked, he figured he'd found the right place.
p.s. I've been accused of stretching the truth to have fun with a story, but not here. Yesterday I verified this one with my mom while we were drinking coffee and playing Bananagrams. You can ask her :)