Tales from the Cabin
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Accidental Cabin Security

A Very Funny Video-worthy Moment

By Dan Armitage
Published: January 20, 2011
Cabin security can come in many shapes and sizes.
Photo by Dan Armitage
We arrived at our family cabin for the holiday weekend only to learn the well pump had given up the ghost. That meant indoor plumbing for niceties such as flush toilets, hot showers, dishwashing and the like would be a pipe dream until I could get it fixed. The result: a long, slightly smelly – yet no less enjoyable – cabin weekend.
Back home after the holiday, I called a couple of my rural cabin neighbors seeking references for a reliable well guy. I finally located one willing to take a VISA number in exchange for stopping by our place to repair the pump in my absence.
I had already exhausted any options inside the cabin to explain the lack of water flow – faulty wiring, blown fuses, etc. – and moved outside to isolate the problem to the well and jet-pump itself. So I felt confident that the repair could be made without the repair crew having to gain entry to the cabin.
I was mistaken. I got a call from a young man (let’s call him “Hank”) on the well crew I had hired, who said he and his coworker were on site and needed access to the breaker box in order to replace and test the faulty pump. That required going into the cabin.
I explained to Hank where the extra entry key was hidden and convinced him that, despite significant signage to the contrary, the repair duo need not beware of a bad dog, an armed security patrol or a shotgun-rigged front door. And I gave him permission to enter the cabin.  
An hour or so later, I got another call from Hank.
“It was the pump,” the fellow said, if a bit too matter-of-factly. “We replaced it, and you’ve got water.”
“So you got in okay?” I inquired.
There was silence, and then I could hear someone in the background doing a poor job of stifling laughter.
“Well,” he answered, “you know how your door kinda sticks, probably with the humidity and all?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Well, it took both of us to put a shoulder to it, and when it popped open we sorta fell in – right as this horrible sound came on and scared the daylights out of us. Then we looked up and there was a big guy with a club standing there just staring at us!
“We sort of screamed and beat feet out and ran up the driveway, yelling at him that we had your permission to be there,” he admitted, somewhat sheepishly.
“We hid behind trees for a while, and when he didn’t come out, we sorta sneaked back up to the cabin, explaining who we are and asking if it was okay if we got our tools.
“Finally, my buddy peeked in the side window and saw him just standing there, looking really mad.”
At that point, even I was freaked out – until I remembered my 10-year-old son’s life-size freestanding photo cutout of a particularly scary-looking pro wrestler. It was a figure too frightening for my son’s bedroom, so I had suggested leaving at the cabin for future use as a BB gun target. As I recall, he had left it standing in a corner across the room from the entry door.
“When he didn’t move or answer us,” explained Hank, “we finally figured out what it was.”
The ruse up and their nerve returned, the guys eventually went back in, did their testing on the new pump and gave me the call.
“I gotta tell you,” he admitted, “when we first burst in, and then came out yelling and falling over each other to get away, if someone had been in your driveway with a video camera, we would have made AFV [America’s Funniest Videos] for sure.
“I also gotta tell you,” he added with a nervous laugh, “You’ve got one of the best security set-ups I’ve ever seen.”

Dan Armitage is a freelance writer who wants us to believe that he has installed a real security system at his riverside Ohio cabin …
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