Dr. Rodney T. Hard

In the picture you can see how high our gate was with the barbed wire on top. You can see the side door to the left of the big gate through which the robbers fled.

                      THE TWO ROOSTERS

By:  Dr. Rodney T. Hard

Armed robbery was highly unusual in post war Korea, but not unheard of.  Burglary was common but burglars feared for their lives and any discovery would send them fleeing in fear.  If someone caught them, the whole neighborhood would come out and beat them senseless.  I saw that happen more than once and the collared criminals were glad to see the police arrive to rescue them.

We had been burglarized several times before, but what happened one Sunday evening at our house was totally unexpected.

Three other missionary families were guests for dinner at our house.  After dinner and a short worship service, everyone was sitting around the dining room table socializing.  I went to my room to read some comic books.

Sometime later I thought I heard a loud rooster crow.  Then there was a lot of commotion so I went out of my room to investigate.  That is when I found out about all the excitement I had missed.

Two armed intruders had managed to get over our eight foot high cinder block wall that had shards of glass embedded  in it and barbed wire on top and come into the house.  One man put a knife to my father's throat and asked for all the money, jewelry, and valuables.  With foolish hubris, my father told him "No!" several times.  The other man put a gun to his temple and repeated their demands. 

My father finally relented, and while the man with the knife stood guard by the dining room door, the man with the gun went around and collected everyone’s rings, watches, pens, necklaces, money, and other valuables.  The men lost everything they had to the intruders, but the women were smarter than that.  As soon as the two armed men came into the room, the women all secretly slipped their wedding rings off and tucked them away under their belts.  The women also slipped their watches and bracelets up their arms under the sleeves of their sweaters. 

My brother Sterling, who was about eight years old at the time, had sat down in my baby sister's high chair after dinner.  He was just goofing around because of boredom and locked himself in the chair just to see if he could.   When the robbers came in, he tried to surreptitiously unlock the tray on the chair so he could get loose.

The man with the gun noticed the movement out of the corner of his eyes.  He swung all the way around and pointed the gun at Sterling's face from just feet away.  Sterling froze and his face flushed red and hot with his heart pounding.

My mother got up and started edging her way toward the door while this was going on.  The man at the door stuck his knife out toward her and told her to sit down, but she bravely, or foolishly one might argue, called his bluff and pushed on past him.  When she got outside, she screamed bloody murder.  That was the “rooster” that I had heard while reading in my bedroom.

The robbers took what they had gotten from the men and fled out of the house toward the gate with my brave brother in pursuit.   Sterling grabbed the first thing he saw, which was a rubber shoe in the foyer, and slung it at the fleeing felons.  He hit one of the men in the back with the shoe as he was exiting the yard through the gate.

My brother continued to chase them down the hill yelling, “Catch the robbers!”  Normally, neighborhood men would have heard the cry and tackled the running men.  But, the robbers were running down the hill yelling, ”Catch the robbers!”  The neighbors were fooled into thinking that these fleeing men were actually chasing robbers running ahead of them.  Nobody was ever arrested and no valuables were ever recovered.

After the commotion died down, that is when I experienced the second ‘rooster’.  I had to listen for days to my brother, strutting around like a cock rooster, retelling over and over again the story of how he hit the robber with a rubber shoe.  I still hear him crowing about it at every family reunion.  Well, it is a good story, after all!

Gathering of missionary families. Hards, Hunts, and Conns.

Sterling revisits the road he chased the robbers down years before as a young boy.