Just after dinner, she sat out on the back steps, catching a glimpse of the dark, enormous house next door, its roof looming over her favorite climbing tree.

The house had always been a source of fascination for her. It was a really old house, two stories of stately brick, in dark shades of brown. She knew someone owned it, but she never saw anyone there, and she had really been watching from the safety of her tree. Nothing was ever happening over there, and yet the yard was always mowed. Did someone live there? Really? It just didn’t add up.

On top of the air of mystery about the house, there was a stash of interesting-looking items around an old shed in the back yard, under some trees. She loved old stuff. That shed and its pile of objects looked, to her young eye, like a giant chest of treasure; so much so that if she’d had an eye patch, she would’ve put it on, and given a good ol’ “Rrrrrr, matey!” to no one in particular.

The fact of the matter was, she decided, that she needed to get over there. She had put to rest her curiosity about what was really the only explanation for the house: it was haunted. And, if it was haunted, could ghosts really use the stuff in the shed? Could they even lift it with their transparent hands? Inquiring minds wanted to know…especially if there was the possibility of a souvenir.

Laying down in bed that night, she decided this was an adventure best taken with a friend. She’d pull her very best buddy aside at recess tomorrow and they’d formulate a plan for the weekend. Mom had said they could have a sleepover, so that part was already set. They just needed a strategy.

Her request was met with a loud and excited “YES!!” right next to the monkey bars the next day, and on Friday afternoon, after school, they both piled into her mother’s car and headed home. That night they plotted and planned, and after they scarfed down some Cheerios the next morning, they headed out to play. Or at least that’s what they told her mom.

With a stealth typically reserved for cat burglars, they set foot on the property next door. She boldly walked up to the front door, heart pounding, and rang the bell, while her friend stood watch over the yard. That should settle the question of whether there were actually people living there, once and for all. She waited and waited, but no one ever answered.

So that was that. It had to be haunted, she reasoned, and she shivered at the thought of it.

Should they go check out the shed? Her confidence was starting to wane. Do ghosts just stay inside the houses they haunt, or do they haunt the whole property? Originally, she thought they’d be safe to go check it out if no one answered the door, but now she wasn’t sure. They walked quietly around the house, and they grabbed each others’ hand, both thinking the same thing.

“Let’s just quickly walk past it and see what’s outside, and then we’ll go,” her friend said. It seemed reasonable; after all, they’d neither seen nor heard a thing. So very quickly they found themselves there, looking at gardening castoffs, and some really interesting looking objects that they’d never seen before. She picked up what looked like a miniature, heavy iron lamp stand that maybe had been used in a flower bed at one time. the top had a chunk out of it, but she thought it would look good painted with a candle stuck in it. Mother’s Day was coming up; maybe she could use it as a gift.

Just then, with the iron piece still in her hands, she saw something move out of the corner of her eye. Her head flew up just in time to see a silhouette pass by a window.


She screamed, so her friend screamed, too, and she dropped the piece as they both ran as fast as their 8 year old legs could carry them.

“Wait! Girls, wait!”

They stopped and turned to see a very normal looking older woman stepping out the front door of the haunted house.

“I saw you out the window, and wanted to come say hello.”

With stumbling words came the reply, “Oh, um, we’re sorry. Well, we rang the bell and no one answered. We, um, thought your house was haunted.”

“Ha! Well, no. I’m sorry I didn’t hear the door. I also wanted to tell you that you can have whatever you might want out of that pile you were looking at. We were going to have it all carted away.”

“I can really have that one lamp stand thing for my mom?”

“Of course!”

“Thank you, ma’am!” rang in the air as she ran back to retrieve her treasure. “Oh, and we’re really glad your house isn’t haunted, not just for you, but for me, too! I have live next door!”

Then she grabbed her friend’s hand, knowing she’d never have had the courage for this adventure without her. They went home and grabbed some paint out of the garage…


The dog just jumped up onto the couch and broke me from my reverie. I can see that iron piece now, as I type, as my mom passed it on to me when it no longer worked in her house. I always smile when I look at it, remembering the first big adventure I ever had with a friend, and feeling so, so thankful for all those that came after…all those that still lie ahead.


“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20 ESV

“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17 ESV

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!


By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 MSG