Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Ghost Cat Has a Friend

I’m not obsessed with ghosts or anything, they just seem to be occupying a lot of my time lately.  So, light a fire, throw an afghan over your legs and cozy up for another horrifying ghost story.

Once upon a time, two families of friends went on a vacation together to South Dakota.  This intrepid crew stopped at a ghost town that had been used in movies to sight-see and have lunch in an old train car.  There were cats in the area and while my memory is a little iffy for the details, I’ll recount the tale as best I can.  There was a noise, or a meow or something and not a single one of those varmints was visible.  The Dad of one of the families said somthing like, “You have to jump up and down and spin around three times so the ghost cat can’t follow you home.”  The Mom of the other family laughed and said, “I’ll take my chances.”  THAT brave reader was a mistake.

Fast forward a few years to June 27, 2011.  That foolish Mom was making dinner for her family.  It was a lovely dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans and crescent rolls.  This Mom uses real butter in her cooking, so she opened the last new box of butter that she had, took one stick out to use in the potatoes and on the rolls and made a mental note that the three sticks that were left were more than enough to make the frosting for her son’s birthday cake the next day and for any general uses the family would have until she could get to the grocery store.

The next day, the family went fishing.  It was a last minute decision, and an important cake needed to be made, but the Mom decided to go ahead and go with her family and make the cake when she got home.  The family had a wonderful time and the little boy caught 13 tiny blue gills.  When they got home, the Mom got in the refrigerator to get out a stick of butter to soften for the frosting while she made the cake.  She looked high and low, in the fridge drawers and in the dairy thingy on the door.  She couldn’t find the butter!  She called her husband and said, “While I put the cake together, could you please look for the butter?  There are three sticks in the box.  I’ve looked and I can’t find it and I really need to get this cake made.”  So he looked.  He looked high and low, in the drawers and in the dairy thingy on the door.  He couldn’t find it either!!  He asked the Mom if she was sure about the butter.  She said absolutely, and went through the entire story again.  “Well, if you remember it that well, you can’t be mistaken.”

This always thinking Dad started looking in the garbage can.  The empty butter box was in the garbage!  It was laying on TOP of some papers that the Mom had thrown away that morning before the fishing trip!  He looked for the papers that would’ve been wrapped around the butter sticks.  They were not there.  He questioned the children.  They knew nothing.  The Mom and Dad snuck around the house looking for abandoned butter stick papers in the kid’s rooms, behind couches, in office trash cans.  NOTHING!!  The Mom in her very smart way pointed out that whoever had taken the butter and thrown away the box had done so AFTER the family went fishing.  The mystery gets even deeper here.  No one else has keys to the family’s house, so the only logical explanation is that a GHOST had taken the butter and eaten it or used it to get back through the portal to the other realm because the butter was completely and totally absent and gone from the house.

SO, the Ghost Cat who obviously followed this poor family home, brought a friend and waited stealthily like cats are know to do, until the family sort of forgot about him and when they least expected it, he whipped out his friend, THE BUTTER GHOST to terrorize these innocent people.

Moral of the story?  Next time someone tells you that you have to do a fancy and public dance to ward off a ghost, you’d better do it, because they bring friends.    MWUHAHAHAHHhaaaaa……

I realize how terrorizing this tale is, and I would like to tell you that it is not true, unfortunately, it is 100% true.  Ghost Cat dance and disappearing butter and all.  I’m sorry if you now have to sleep with your lights on…

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We Might Have Seen a Ghost

In early June, my family and I fulfilled a long-term dream.  We went to Mackinac Island in Michigan and spent the night out on the Island.  Before I go any further, I need to tell you a few things.  First, it is pronounced MackinAW, not MackinAC.  The locals will get on your case if you pronounce it wrong.  I know, I know, it makes no sense, but that’s just the way it is.

Second, we stayed at a pretty nice place called Mission Point Resort.  It was kinda hot when we got there, and when we got into our room and tried to turn on the air conditioning, we discovered that the air conditioning was a ceiling fan and an open window.  Thankfully, my husband is an environmental controls specialist and he used his magical skills to reverse said ceiling fan so that instead of blowing the hot ceiling air DOWN on us, it sucked UP the slightly cooler floor air and thus sorta cooled the room.  Also thankfully, within a few hours of our arrival, the weather became much more Michigan-like and our room got almost chilly.

Third, never, never, ever, ride your bike or walk through a puddle on Mackinac Island.  There are no cars, only feet, bikes and horses.  The horses are the reason for avoiding puddles.  They may not be composed of water if you get my drift.

Fourth, the downtown part of the island smells worse on a warm day than the French Quarter in July.  For the reason, see third above.

Fifth, the locals call tourists Fudgies.  I don’t think I like that.

Sixth, the place is lousy with spirits and I don’t mean booze.

The first night we got there, we were riding our bikes out along the path that runs all the way around the Island.  We were out in what we called the “country” although an argument could be made that the whole place is the country.  All of a sudden, coming toward us was a guy on an old fashioned bike.  It was one of the ones with the HUGE front wheel and the little tiny back wheel.  He was dressed in old fashioned golf clothes and he had one of those little wool caps with the bill on it, pulled way down low over his eyes.  He was hauling you know what and we were in awe, because our backsides were screaming from hours of bike riding and we could barely move.  We looked right at him, and he completely ignored us.  Didn’t look in our direction, just kept going on that cool old bike.

So the second and last night (only two nights, because as I read yesterday in a magazine, budget travelers should stay on the mainland) we were there, we took a ghost tour.  That girl walked our bike injured butts all over the place, and finally, at the second to last stop at the bottom of a hill in one of the neighborhoods, she told us about a fatal bike crash from the early 1900’s in which a guy on a big wheeled bike  died on that hill and has since been seen riding his big wheeled bike in his ghostly form on the trail that goes around the perimeter of the Island.  Needless to say, the four of us literally almost fell over.  The ghost guide proceeded to tell us that we were the first people to see him this summer.

The last stop of the night was at OUR RESORT.  It told the story of a bunch of poor little waif kids who had been neglected and died in an old building that is now used to house summer employees.  We were going to go down to the lovely lawn that is next to the lake and sit for a bit in the Adirondack chairs there, but alas, the sighting of the Big Wheeled Bike Ghost right up the path from the lawn, proved to be too much for a certain short member of our family to process and we went on back to the room.

Did we see a ghost?  I can’t say for sure, but we had NOT heard the story of the ghost until after we saw it/him, and when we told the ghost guide about what we had seen, we asked if anyone on the Island had a collection of those bikes and she said no.  Although it is comfortable to deny the existence of things that are not easily seen  that doesn’t mean that those difficult to see things aren’t there.  Just as there is no proof that ghosts exist, there is also no proof that they don’t.  I WOULD recommend however that if you get the chance to go to Mackinac Island, you should take it.  There is a lot to do, it is like stepping back in time, and you just might see a ghost 🙂

Pretty close to the spot where the Big Wheel Ghost was seen.

I Can’t Go In There, I Have a Pocketknife!!

You can't go in HERE with a pocketknife.

Our family is very politically incorrect.  I don’t make my kids wear bike helmets, I didn’t wear one, so I’m pretty sure they’ll survive.  My daughter has candles and various lighting implements for them in her room.  My son likes to carve Chinese Dragons with soap and a very sharp knife.  I let him.  He’s nine.  They drink soda and eat things containing sugar and salt.  I let them eat fast food now and then.  We go to drive-ins and I let them swim in dirty lake and ocean water.  We have dogs and cats.  They clean the litter boxes and haven’t contracted anything yet.  I fed them peanut butter and strawberries before the age of five and they were both given extrememly thin rice cereal at seven days of age because the getting up at night was shaping up to be a real pain in the butt and based on their appetites, I figured they’d be dead of starvation if I made them wait til they were six months old for solid food like the crazy Doctor wanted me to.  You try living and growing on a liquid diet, it’s not fun.  Oh, and a couple of years ago, they went out in the back yard and dug a hole and repeatedly filled the hole with water and played in it for a while.  Their underwear was so dirty I had to throw it away, but they had fun, and they survived.  They are not allergic to any foods, their intestines work fine in spite of the early food, and they are generally healthy, except for my son’s tonsils, but that is another story.  After this litany of modern parenting “missteps” it should come as no surprise to you that my kids have a few small survival implements and that is what makes this story so interesting.

A year ago, my father-in-law passed away from gallbladder cancer.  He was an old-fashioned, idependent soul from the country.  He hunted and fished and built things and carved stuff up.  In order to carve stuff up, one must have knives.  Before he died, he gave my kids some of the pocket knives from his collection.  They were pretty little things with lovely carvings of wild animals on the bone handles.  I didn’t mind at all; they weren’t any longer than my index finger and my kids are/were both Scouts, so they already had some knives and anyway, how can one do lovely soap carvings without a knife?  So I stopped paying attention.  I was happy that they had something of their grandpa’s that he actually used and they loved having them.

Skip ahead one year.  Picture it, the St. Louis Arch.  I’ve been by it on the highway a million times, but I’ve never been there.  St. Louis was a place we sped through as a child on our way “OUT WEST” for vacation.  My husband and I and the two kids went there last week with every intention of going inside the arch, or at least to the free museum underneath it.  As we waited in line to go inside, we realized that since it is a FEDERAL SITE, we had to go through what amounted to airport security.  We had to put all of our stuff in a bin and go through metal detectors.  “Oh!” I said, “No wonder we have to stand in this very long line.  I was wondering why it took so long to get tickets?!”  Instantly, my beautiful fourteen year old daughter’s nose turned red and her eyes filled up with tears.  In response to my queries about what was wrong, she said, “I can’t go in there Mom, I have a pocketknife!  It’s one of Grandpa’s and I don’t want them to take it from me”  “What?” I said, “A pocketknife, well, that shouldn’t be any big deal, they’ll probably hold it for you till we come out, give it to Daddy and let him explain.”  I turned back around and watched the Amish family ahead of me prepare to go inside and a few seconds later, my husband gently poked me in the back and said, “Holl, (my name is Holly) look at the pocketknife.  Seriously, look at it.”  The “pocketknife” that I thought was one of the little pretty things I knew about, was a seven inch long pig sticker.  The blade is about six inches long and slightly curved.  “Oh my GOD Lydia!  We can’t go in there!!  Why in the world are you carrying THAT around in your purse?”  “Well, Mom, I keep it with me most of the time, cause you never know when your gonna need it.  I have matches too.”

Some of you may be horrified.  I am not.  I’m actually proud of her.  All that independence I’ve tried to instill and the type of freedom I’ve tried to give them has made her a thinker.  I’ll bet she has elastic, paper clips, a granola bar and bandaids in there too.  My girl could put McGyver to shame and if she is faced with an emergency situation, she’d be a couple steps ahead of the game.  Now I just need to teach her when to leave the “pocket knives” in the car.