www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          June 2005                                      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!

Hello from The Grove, and Jefferson, Texas! Well, this is the ezine that I've been DYING to send out! We received notification on Monday, May 23rd, that The Grove had been approved for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It will bear the name of the builder of the house, combined with the longest resident of the house, so the official register will show The Grove as the: Stilley/Young House. We can't think of a more fitting tribute to Frank & Minerva Stilley, and the Charles Young family. We're almost giddy with excitement about this!

Introducing... Letterboxing!

We get emails all the time, and of course, we love hearing from everyone. We try to answer all of them, but forgive me if you didn't get an answer this past month. Between a death in the family, and both of us coming down with an upper respiratory infection that swept through Jefferson like Sherman took Atlanta, we're still getting caught up on emails. I don't remember exactly who it was, but in the signature line of a friend's email was the web address: www.letterboxing.org - I'd never heard of Letterboxing, so I clicked on the link, and found something that was fascinating. It's kind of part travel game, and part treasure hunt, so click on that link to see it for yourself.

You've Got To See The Door

Speaking of emails, we received one not long ago that was simply precious - there is no other way to describe it. You'll have to see the photo that was attached for yourself, so go to www.thegrove-jefferson.com/door.htm and read all about it.

Another Recipe

Okay, I know that this isn't a recipe 'zine, but many of you know of my love for cooking chicken wings. If you've toured The Grove, you probably remember the final story that I tell in the kitchen about what happened when I was lighting the stove to cook a batch or two of wings. Anyway, I've found what may be my favorite chicken wing recipe yet, so I thought that I'd pass it along. Here we go with my new favorite, Chipotle Wings!

Chipotle Chicken Wings

20 chicken wings
2 cloves garlic
12 oz chili sauce
4 chipotle peppers
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp salt

Chipotle pepper can usually be found in the produce section of your grocery store - they're basically smoked jalapeno peppers, so they are dried and usually sold in clear packages. Just ask if you can't find them.

Combine all ingredients, except for the wings, in a blender and liquefy to a paste. Marinate the wings overnight in the mixture, then bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until done. Every fifteen minutes, take the wings out and brush the marinade on them. Make sure that after the last brushing, you cook them for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy!

I noticed that my friend Robert Miller, Jefferson's official photographer, is moving from his office beside the Chamber of Commerce a couple of blocks over to the Banker's Building on Walnut Street. I am absolutely thrilled that someone is going to fix up that building! Robert is an outstanding photographer, who does all of the photos for the Historic Pilgrimage, the Candlelight Tour of Homes, and pretty much everything else around town. If you're having a wedding or other gathering here in town, Robert is the man to talk to... and I love the building that he's moving into - it's a historic old place.

And speaking of the Chamber of Commerce, don't forget to stop by there when you're visiting town. They have ALL of the latest info on tours, events, and everything that's happening in town. You can also pick up a coupon book there that give you discounts all over Jefferson. It's free, making it one of the best deals in town! The Chamber office is located on Vale St., which is the street that runs right beside the Jefferson Hotel. In fact, if you start at the hotel, and walk up Vale toward the gazebo, you'll see the Chamber on your right. The ladies there will take good care of you.

It's been a while since I mentioned one of my favorite Jefferson eateries - The Bakery. We like to go there for breakfast (I get the "pancake sandwich", but every meal is delicious there). One thing that I always recommend to friends, though, is that on the way out of town, stop by and get a loaf of that fresh baked bread to take home with you. My favorite is the jalapeno cheese, but you have to get there early for that one - I think that all the locals love it as much as I do, since it sells out early! Now that I've mentioned it, we're going to have to go out for a Pancake Sandwich in the morning, and take home a loaf of jalapeno cheese!

Mitchel the TV Star...

Okay, okay, I'm not really a television star. But I DID get to be an extra in a program featuring Jefferson not long ago! A very good friend of ours, Bobbie Hardy, owns and operates the "Gone with the Wind" museum just around the block from The Grove. If you've never been, I HIGHLY recommend it - Tami and I went there many years ago on our first trip to Jefferson, and as Bobbie's neighbors these last few years, I can't count the number of times that we've been inside. Still, whenever I take a moment to look around in there, I find myself fascinated by her collection of memorabilia. It is truly incredible. Anyway, a little while ago Bobbie called me to say that a program named "Texas Country Reporter" was going to be doing a segment on the museum, and she needed a few extras. I reported for duty that morning, along with several other friends here in Jefferson, and we spent a few hours portraying "guests" at the museum. The segment aired, and there I was! Although I've done television interviews associated with The Grove and with my writing, in this role I had to "act", so it was a new experience and a lot of fun. The only thing is, I don't think that Brad Pitt has to worry about me breaking into the business and taking away his star-status...

A Ghost in My Suitcase...

Finally, finally, finally! "A Ghost in My Suitcase: A Guide to Haunted Travel in America" has been released. It's been a long time coming, but it is now out! I got my advance copy about two weeks ago, and I know that they're available online, but in the next month they should be in most bookstores around the country. If you'd like a copy, just go to The Grove website and click on the "Grove Emporium" link. As least go look at the cover - I think that the artist who designed it did a great job!

It's been months since either one of us has had an encounter with the Lady in White, but I believe that she paid me a visit on May 18th, a Wednesday when I was terribly sick in bed. I was in the midst of the upper-respiratory infection that I mentioned earlier, and lying there in the bedroom, I really wasn't sure that I was going to make it - I fell TERRIBLE! Anyway, our two bassets Lilly and Samantha had climbed up on the foot of the bed (Sam had a little assistance - she is twelve, after all, and we old folks sometimes need a bit of help). As I was laying there, I heard footsteps on the hardwood floor, and it sounded like they were in the game room. I could tell when the steps crossed into the stairwell, because the floor there is different. Of course, my first thought was that Tami had come home from school to check on me. I remember thinking, "That's really nice of her!" When I turned over to greet her, though, no one was there, and the footsteps had stopped. Lilly, our youngest basset, was standing up on the bed at that point, peering out into the stairwell - she had obviously heard the steps as well. As sick as I was, I climbed out of bed, and walked through the house. I was the only human there. Since the steps were taking the pathway of the Lady in White, I have to wonder if she happened to come back for a visit while I was there sick in bed - some unseen entity had certainly walked through.

Speaking of Lilly, something happened last month that we still can't explain. On May 27th, we were in the den watching TV, and the dogs were in their beds asleep. Suddenly Lilly jumped up and ran over to the French doors that look out into the side gallery. Her tail was wagging at half-mast, as if she was looking at something that she wasn't sure about. After a few minutes, I got up to investigate, but I didn't detect anything at all out there. She was riveted to the spot, though, and finally I opened one of the doors and asked if she wanted to go check it out. She cautiously went out into the hall, then dashed back into the den. For the rest of the evening, she sat right beside Tami or I like she was terrified of something. For the next several days, Lilly would not go into that part of the hall, which of course she has to do to go outside. Instead, she began having accidents in the house - she's never done that before, since she was pretty much housebroken from day 1. We tried everything, but the poor little puppy was extremely scared. I even put her on a leash and led her back that way and out the back door, and I've never seen her so frightened. In desperation, I went back there and said, "I don't know who or what has scared my basset hound, but you are not allowed to mess with our dogs. If you keep that up, you are not welcome to visit here - so cut it out!" Soon after that, everything returned to normal. Whether it was my words, or Lilly just getting acclimated to living in a place where spirits walk the halls, we'll probably never know.

On June 8th, a film crew came to Jefferson to do a documentary on the haunted places in town. They stopped at the grove for a few hours, and after interviewing us and Patrick Hopkins, the former owner, a paranormal investigation group went through the house. The Marshall News Messenger newspaper had an article about it, but here's the segment concerning The Grove: "On Wednesday night, the ghost hunters visited a house known as The Grove. There has been a structure on the property since the 1840's, but the home now standing was built in the 1860's."
"The property was the site of a couple of hangings, and is reputedly haunted by a man in a pin-striped suit."
"Dr. Rita Louise, the team's psychic, took copious notes about her impressions of the house and grounds. She didn't feel at all welcomed by the house's ghostly inhabitants, she said during a debriefing Thursday with Morris [the filmmaker] and his assistant."
"She said she sensed a man and woman buried in a shared grave under the front porch; a child was also buried there, but separately, she said."
"On her way to the attic, she had to force herself up the steps. 'The energy wasn't very pleasant,' she said, grimacing. 'I felt a little slimed by it.'"
"She was so exhausted by the home's negative vibes that on Thursday, she took a two-hour nap before her debriefing."
(story by Lassie Bailey, copyright The Marshall News Messenger)

I'm not sure about the "negative vibes", since we feel nothing but positive, welcoming energy there, but I'll write more about their visit in the future - it was an interesting evening.

Finally, I wanted to add a footnote to something I reported some time ago. You may remember me telling you about the Dallas Disk Jockey Kidd Kraddick who sent his sidekick "Big Al" Mack to Jefferson last year for Halloween. Tami, myself, and a friend who'd helped us with the tours that day were all back in the den by 11:30, exhausted and just watching some TV to unwind. What we heard that Big Al told on the air the following Monday was that he and several others had come to The Grove around midnight, and were chased off by an old man with a long, white beard carrying a shotgun. I have an update to that story that makes it a little more interesting. Yesterday we met a lady who happened to be with Big Al's group that night. She had hooked up with them at the Jefferson Hotel, and just come along to see the house. When they arrived around midnight, someone else in the group started telling stories about the place, and at that point one of the guys from the radio station (she didn't think that it was Big Al) turned around and said, "Here's what I think of The Grove!" He then dropped his pants and mooned the house. Suddenly, they saw an old man coming toward them carrying a shotgun - of course, everyone fled in panic. When she told us this story, I asked her if there was any possible way that it could have been me. She immediately shook her head and said, "Oh no, this was an old man with white hair and a long, white beard." I just laughed and told her that I was the only male on the property that night - at least, the only flesh-and-blood one. I'd been feeling a little bad that Big Al and friends had a negative experience when they visited the house, but after learning that, I don't feel bad at all. My number one rule about visiting haunted places is that you have to be respectful; of the place, of the current owners, and of those from the past who still return to visit. It sounds like that group wasn't, and it happened to be on a night when the protector-spirit of the house was hanging around.

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!


To repeat our words from the beginning, this is a free subscription ezine for friends of The Grove - in other words, we NEVER arbitrarily add email addresses. We also NEVER sell or share email addresses with anyone else.

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