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Is May almost over? That's incredible... it seems like just a
few days ago we were replacing Christmas decorations with all
the trappings of Mardi Gras. I guess that the biggest indication
is the heat that's been beaming down upon us - I've been getting
out every morning to water the garden, just to keep it growing.
A few days ago my jalapeno plants looked like they were going to
wilt and fall over; I can't seem to soak them enough. I planted
them because I'm now eating a jalapeno pepper every day, by the
Why a jalapeno every day? Well, scientists have discovered that
a substance in jalapenos cause prostate cancer cells to die
(read the article at
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4805190.stm). My dad had
prostate cancer, and there's a good chance you may know someone
affected by it, too. It is (or eventually will be) a very real
concern for most men, so you may want to take note of that
article and pass it along. But don't eat *too* many peppers -
that can be dangerous as well.
But enough on the medical front. This has been an interesting
month, which I'll talk about in the next couple of sections. In
short, though, we survived Pilgrimage, and the Jefferson JR/SR
Prom, and are looking forward to next year for both of those
Okay, hands up, how many of you did I see in the dining room of
Hale-Walla House during Pilgrimage? Wow - that's a lot.
Jefferson had a throng of people in town for the weekend, even
if the forecast called for rain (that never came during tour
hours!). Tami and I worked as docents at Hale-Walla house every
day - it's a beautiful home, and the owners are personal friends
of ours. It was great to see so many GroveZine readers, though,
and to get a chance to visit with you. Now that Pilgrimage is
over, plans are already starting for next year; in fact, last
Monday night a bunch of us were in full costume around Stern
fountain for a 2007 Pilgrimage poster photo.
Before the next Pilgrimage, we still have to get through
Candlelight, and don't forget that The Grove will be one of the
tour homes. I'll provide more info as I get it, but for now,
mark your calendar for one of the first two weekends in
December. The folks who tour The Grove this fall may see us
putting up decorations in October, just to get ready for the
holiday season. There's a lot to do, and we want the place to be
Prom weekend (last week) was incredibly draining; the theme was
"A Red Carpet Affair", and everything was decorated like a
Hollywood movie premier. The prom was on a Saturday night, and
Tami and I got to bed about 3 AM Sunday morning... when we woke
up, we went right back to the school to finish cleaning up. It
was one of those things where you think, "why in the world am I
doing this?!?", but when the kids start coming up to us saying,
"I had such a wonderful time...", it all made sense.
I have more news, regarding the film trailer that's on The Grove
website: "City of Spirits: The Hauntings of Jefferson, Texas".
It hasn't been released yet, but this past month I happened to
be at the right place at the right time to get a preview of the
film's opening segment. It was great! I wanted more - I can
hardly wait to see the entire show. I don't know exactly when or
where it will air (that's still being negotiated, I hear), but
it's going to be fantastic. Stay tuned, and I'll keep you
posted. And if you haven't seen the trailer yet, just go to
www.thegrove-jefferson.com and scroll down to the banner that
says, "Watch the Trailer".
You know, I thought that my main story this month was going to
be a terrible one. As wonderful as it is to live in a historic
old home, it does have its drawbacks. During a Saturday tour
this month, the sewer line that goes under the garden exploded.
When I say exploded, I really mean exploded. Now, whatever you
may be thinking at this point, it was an order of magnitude
worse. Thankfully, after the tour everyone went straight out to
their cars, and didn't spend a lot of time in the garden.
Jefferson's one plumber was out of town, so I had to run to
Lowe's in Marshall, buy a 50-foot snake, and attack the problem
myself. Let's just say that whenever I finally talked to the
plumber a couple of days later, I said, "Man, whatever you get
paid for something like that, it isn't nearly enough!" (and I
sincerely meant it).
I said that I *thought* that would be my main story this month,
but read on - life at The Grove gets even weirder!
To end the Jefferson section though, as summer approaches, think
about coming to Jefferson for July 4th - brass bands in the
gazebo, festivities all afternoon, and one heck of a fireworks
show that evening. It's small-town Americana at its best. Be
careful, though... if you ever once celebrate Independence Day
here, it will be a tradition forevermore!
My ghost stories this month come from one particular couple who
came on the tour... they had quite an experience in Jefferson.
I'll try my best to portray their stories accurately.
The first took place long before The Grove tour - early in the
morning, in fact. They were staying at Falling Leaves B&B, and
the lady woke up a little early - something like 5:00-5:30 AM,
and was craving a cup of coffee. It was early enough that she
knew that no one else was awake, so she just decided to snooze
in bed until it was time to get up. Suddenly, she heard voices
out in the hallway as if a man and a woman were conversing
outside their door. When she peeked out, there was no one there.
Just before breakfast, she asked the innkeepers Mike and Lisa
Barry if they'd been walking around that early, but that wasn't
the case; everyone had been fast asleep. When I was discussing
this with Lisa this past weekend, the most interesting thing
about it was that someone had reported the exact same event just
two weeks before. To make it even stranger, the exact same
phenomena was reported over Memorial Day weekend - I think that
if things ever slow down at The Grove, we'll just go rent a room
for the weekend at Falling Leaves!
The couple that I mentioned came on The Grove tour, and the lady
shared her Falling Leaves experience with me. Something totally
unexpected happened to her husband, though. While we were all
standing around the dining room table, he felt someone tapping
him on the back. After the tour he was standing in front of Ms.
Daphne's portrait just to see if any of the flower arrangements
could have been responsible. As he was standing there, I asked
him what he was doing, and he told me the story. There was
literally nothing in the area that could have been responsible
for the taps on his shoulder - but it was in the dining room
where I tell the Young family history, and he was standing in
front of Ms. Daphne's portrait, so who knows? People have
reported cold spots in that area, but never a tap on the back.
Now, my final story may cause this month's GroveZine to run a
little long, and for that I apologize. But I just have to tell
you this. People ask me all the time whether I ever get scared
living at The Grove, and I always answer, "No..." but I can no
longer do that. This Memorial Day weekend scared the heck out of
me! You see, we were getting ready for the Saturday tour, and I
was vacuuming the couch in the den (the "New" Room). As I moved
one of the pillows, I spotted a long, naked tale sticking out
from behind it. Those of you who know my tolerance for such
creepy-crawly things can probably imagine what happened next. I
ran out of the room panicking, and told Tami, "We have a huge
rat in the couch!!!" We quickly put The Grove under lock-down
procedure, something that any military base would be proud of.
We isolated the den, put pillows against the bottom of the
windowed French doors so that the creature couldn't go out
underneath, and got both Lilly and Delaney (our bassets) out in
the hallway, away from the action. I figured that the best
answer to the problem was to alert our cats to the presence of
this beast, since in the past they've both brought us "presents"
of wildlife that they've killed. I ran outside and scooped up
Daphne, our white cat with one blue eye and one green, and put
her down beside the couch. Using a broom handle, I started
poking around underneath, and the monster ran out. Tami (who was
standing in the hallway) yelled, "That's not a rat - it's an
opossum!" At that point I didn't care, and obviously Daphne
didn't either. She sat and watched as the young critter ran
right past her. "Great," I though, and went to search for Elsie,
our other cat. You may remember form last month that she got hit
by a car, but is now doing stellar. While I was looking for her,
the folks for the 2:00 PM tour came rolling up, and I had to
explain that the tour was postponed - not for any medical
emergency or family crisis, but for the simple fact that there
was an opossum loose in The Grove. You know, I never thought
that we would cancel a tour for that reason. Everyone was
understanding, though, and departed to return later. Which left
us with a wild animal loose in our den, and only two hours to
get it out of the house and get things back in order.
Tami made it clear that she wasn't about to set foot in the den,
so I picked up the phone and called my buddy Mike, who owns
Falling Leaves B&B with his wife Lisa (the same place from the
above ghost story). Since we fish together, I hoped that he
might have a net to use to catch the vicious beast. He didn't,
but he came over to help in the capture. It was quite a sight -
Mike brought a cattle whip, and I was armed with a broom and a
broom handle. After chasing it around the room for a while, we
finally came up with a master plan: I would beat under the couch
with the broom handle to drive it out, and Mike would throw a
towel over the creature to trap it. To make a long story short,
that's exactly what we did, and it worked well. In short order,
we had the opossum captured, and took it out away from the house
to let it go. You will be pleased to know that the animal has
been returned to the wild, all part of the "Opossum
Catch-And-Release" program that we have instituted here at The
Grove. If nothing else, it made for interesting stories on the
weekend tours. As I've said before, ghosts don't frighten me...
but creepy-crawly things (like opossums) do!
Okay, time to close out a hot, dry May at The Grove - whatever
happened to Spring... it seemed like we jumped right into
Summer! That, and we are now looking everywhere for critters in
every corner of The Grove.
I'd like to sincerely thank you for reading the GroveZine, and
for your interest in the spirits of The Grove.
The main website for The Grove is: www.thegrove-jefferson.com
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