My father was a sound sleeper and could fall asleep rather quickly. He snored very loudly so the nightly challenge was to get in bed and fall asleep before he did or it might mean a long time laying there listening to him breathe. Or not breathe. Then the snoring again.
My mother, on the other hand, was a light sleeper and awakened easily. One night after I had fallen asleep, my mom heard an unfamiliar sound and awoke abruptly. As a musician, she had perfect pitch and keen ears. She listened a moment. She heard a high-pitched sound that seemed to circle the room. Around and around and around.
“Honey, wake up. There’s a bat in our room!” In a flash, my dad was up and pulled his pants and slippers on. (He would never dream of not being dressed if he were out of bed.) He carefully edged out of the bedroom leaving my mother in the bed. I imagine she pulled the sheet over her head. He returned a moment later with the broom and a shoebox.
He swung the broom at the bat. Missed. Swung again. Missed. He didn’t want to hurt it; he just wanted to knock it down to the floor. Finally, he swung and connected, sending the bat to the royal blue carpet. Quickly, my dad scooped it into the shoebox and put the lid on.
As dawn approached, he took the bat to the back porch and set it free. As he told me the story the next day, he held the shoebox and looked inside wistfully as if there were the essence of bat left behind.