www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          December 2004                                      ISSN 1558-3252

This is a tiny little free subscription ezine for friends of The Grove - it is by request only. In other words, we NEVER arbitrarily add email addresses. We also NEVER sell or share email addresses with anyone else, for any reason at any time. We hate SPAM as much as you do!

Wow, what happened? Thanksgiving whizzed by, a very merry Christmas came and went, and here we sit in the "new room" of The Grove, our den, getting ready to see in the New Year. It went by so fast that it's so easy to take everything for granted. At the risk of getting a little sentimental here in the GroveZine, I have to say that Tami and I are very thankful. For many things, of course, not the least of which is all of our friends and family - one of the unexpected bonuses of The Grove has been the opportunity to make such wonderful friends with all of you... in person, or by email, but either way we're blessed to have such a large group of people who share an interest in this wonderful place known as The Grove.

We know that in the grand scheme of things, we're just the current caretakers of the place. There's a wonderful line from the movie "Crocodile Dundee" that, paraphrased, says: "People talking about who owns a place is like two fleas talking about who owns the dog they're on." Many people before us have been the caretakers of this property, and we hope that many people after us continue the job. I'd love to come back a hundred years from now and sit in on a tour, just to hear what they say about the crazy Whitingtons. But who knows - since several of the previous owners seem to show up occasionally here, maybe I'll get that very opportunity.

We had a great Thanksgiving - Tami cooked a turkey, we visited with friends that morning and then had family over for the big meal, and even got to see some of the parades on television. We stuffed ourselves at the dining table, then pooled our energy to do some work decorating The Grove for Christmas. After that I had to crawl under the house and drag out a dead opossum. Yep, it was a regular Norman Rockwell painting around here. :)

The place was decorated for Christmas with a tree in every room - a Texas tree in the den, a Coca-Cola tree in the kitchen (of course), and other themed trees throughout the house. We had a lot of fun doing Christmas tours, but we're taking this weekend off so that we can take down the holiday things... and start decorating for Mardi Gras - always a fun time in Jefferson!

Speaking of having fun, Tami and I were both docents at some of the Candlelight Tour Homes, so if you were in Jefferson for the Candlelight season you may run into us. It's a beautiful time of the year here in town, with attractions featuring the Enchanted Forest of Christmas Trees, the life-sized Gingerbread House, and many more too numerous to name. How does that song go? "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

There's a lot going on in town, starting with the annual quilt show in a couple of weeks, followed closely in February by Mardi Gras. The year's just getting started, see www.jefferson-texas.com for details.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, a film crew from the television series "American Hauntings" came by the house. They'd made an appointment to do some taping here, so we gave them the full tour and then let them shoot footage for the television show. One thing that they did was to put a member of the team in the front parlor alone, with a couple of cameras on him. Everyone else was gathered around a monitor in the kitchen in the dark, watching him to see if anything was going to happen. Nothing was going on up front, so one of the ladies on their team broke out her night-vision video camera to film all of us in the kitchen as we huddled around the monitor in the dark. After filming only a few minutes, she said, "Oh my!" and we all rushed over to see what had happened. She replayed the tape, showing a glowing ball zipping around us and then flying across the room. It was one of the most dramatic things that I've ever seen.

Speaking of glowing orbs of light, just a few weeks ago I was walking down the side gallery when something zipped through my legs and up ahead of me. It was a bright light, moving about a foot off the floor, and it disappeared just as suddenly as it showed up. It was something that I've never seen before, and I tried for quite some time to reproduce it as a reflection or something, but it was so dark and overcast outside that the possibility was highly unlikely. This is something that I'll have to watch out for in the future!

For some reason, supernatural activity during the tours has picked up considerably. I don't know why, but people are getting touched, or feel someone beside them when no one seems to be there. This has always happened every now and then on the tours, but now it's much more active than normal. There's no telling why - maybe the ghosts of The Grove like the holiday season. We received an email today that said, "I want to pass on to you that when I went over to the corner in the parlor I definitely detected the scent of a woman's perfume that I didn't smell anywhere else and that it felt cooler in that area that other parts of the house. Just thought I would pass it on!".

Most of you who've toured The Grove know that we have bassets, Murphy and Samantha, and many of you have met them. The question that I get from a lot of people is, "Do you ever get scared at The Grove?" The usual answer is no, but something happened on Thursday 12/9 that shook me up. I'd been up late writing, which happens occasionally, and Tami had gone on to bed. Our basset Murphy was asleep in the bedroom, and Samantha was in the den (the "new room"). I checked on Tami, then decided to call it a night. When I tried to locate the dogs, I suddenly couldn't find them anywhere. I searched every room of the house, and even though it was highly unlikely, I decided that they'd somehow wandered outside. In a panic, I ran to the clothes closet off of the side gallery (the new one that we added) to get my shoes, and when I opened the door, both dogs trotted out of the small space. Now, they've never gone in there before, and I'd seen them both earlier in different parts of the house. I don't have an explanation as to how they both got stuck in the closet, but I'd love for them to be able to talk to me, just for a few minutes. I doubt that the closet story would be the strangest tale that they'd have about The Grove.

This Monday a segment for a movie named "Southern Fried Bigfoot" is going to shoot here at The Grove - not to capture any ghosts, although that may happen as well, but instead to film me talking about my adolescence not far from Fouke, Arkansas, where the legendary Fouke Monster roamed the creekbeds. I'll let you know how that goes, or at least tell you where you can see the film. It should be a lot of fun.

To close things out, I'll tell you something that happened today. You've probably heard us talk about Thomas, the spirit that hangs out in the attic and sometimes comes down into the center stairway. We were flooring part of the attic this morning, and we'd enlisted the help of two of Tami's students. Tami told me that she felt Thomas in the attic during one of her trips up, but didn't say anything to the boys about it. A little later, one of the guys said, "Mrs. Whit, there's something weird up there - my whole body tingles when I go into a certain part of the attic, and it feels like someone's there!" We told him that it was just Thomas, probably checking to make sure that the work that was being done up there met with his approval.

Thanks for your interest in The Grove, and for reading the Grovezine. Have a safe and prosperous 2005, which here at the house is in about an hour. See you on the other side!

Well, that's this month's edition of the GroveZine. We're very happy to get to share some of the current goings-on around the house. For some reason, supernatural activity during the tours has picked up - hopefully we'll have a few more tales for you by the time the next month rolls around. See you then!

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