Here's what happened.
Judy, who had invited me to speak, had offered to meet me in Burnsvillle and drive me to Little Switzerland as the shortest way was apt to be confusing.
"I'll be in a black Four-Runner," she said. "And I'll meet you in the mall parking lot."
So I arrive a little before the appointed time and park where I can keep an eye on cars turninng into the mall. After a while I notice a shiny black Four-Runner parked over by the Burger Kingand I figure that Judy was early too. As I'm getting ready to drive over there, the car backs out and moves to the nearby drug store -- also in the mall.
"Okay," I think and drive over to park beside the black Four Runner. I get out but, to my surprise, there's no one in the car.
"No worries," I tell myself, "It's still early; Judy's probably slipped into the drug store to pick up something or other."
Then I notice in the back seat, a head moving behind the dark-tinted windows. Judy mentioned she'd be bringing a neighbor, so I tap on the window and say, "I'm looking for Judy."
The person doesn't respond and I reach to open the door so as to make myself heard.
I try the front door -- also locked. Then I put my face to the dark glass and see that it's not a neighbor but a small child strapped into a car seat.
"Funny," I think. "Why would Judy be bringing a small child to this meeting?"
Just then, from the corner of my eye I see another black Four-Runner turning into the area where I had originally parked.
And I realize what this poor wide-eyed child must be thinking.
As I hurry into my car, back out and head for the other black Four-Runner, I wonder how good this child's communication skills are.
Will he startle his mother with a tale of a witch, her wispy white hair blowing around her face as she tapped at his window and tried to get in the car with him?
Or will I figure in his nightmares for years to come? I hope not.