www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          July 2006                                      ISSN 1558-3252

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We're having a hot, hot time here at The Grove - literally! The last few weeks have been brutal, and I know that they have been for everyone. When I see news reports about St. Louis and New York being without power for days, though, I'm thankful that we at least have electricity for fans and air conditioning. Hang in there, everyone... fall is looming on the horizon. Meanwhile we're just trying to save as much of the garden as possible. Oh, and I have some very exciting news to report: we were just notified that the Texas Historical Commission has designated The Grove ("The Stilley-Young House") as a historic landmark. We're thrilled, and I hope that means that a hundred years from now someone won't tear the place down to build a car wash or something, or cover the place in chartreuse aluminum siding. I love the place so much that I worry about things like that... hopefully this designation will help preserve The Grove's history.

Rumors abound around town... a steakhouse coming to Jefferson, Diamond Bessie's opening up as a restaurant again, even a new tour home opening up. The Hale House is going to be a B&B again, and a new place called the "Delta Street Inn" will be receiving guests soon. I'm happy to see things flourishing in town.

Speaking of things happening in Jefferson, the new regime at the Chamber of Commerce is doing a wonderful job the city's calendar of events is staggering! There is literally something for everyone happening here throughout the year. From a sanctioned barbecue cookoff to a gun & knife show to a june-bug jamboree, you won't believe what all is going on in town. The old favorites are still here as well the car show, the historic pilgrimage, the candlelight tour of homes... and get ready for this, the TASTE OF JEFFERSON is coming back this year, bigger and better than ever. Stay tuned to the GroveZine, or check out the calendar of events at the Chamber of Commerce website:


I also have to mention how amazing the 4th of July celebration was here in Jefferson. There was patriotic music in the Otstott Park gazebo, a homemade ice cream judging contest, and all kinds of fun. We had an incredible charity cake auction to benefit the children's reading program at Carnegie Library, for which Tami donated her famous chocolate-covered cherry cake for sale. To top off the evening, the fireworks display was better than ever. Come join us next year!

Ah, now for a few ghost stories from The Grove. To start out with, I have a tale from one of our guests on the tour. We were finishing up back in the kitchen, when one of our guests mentioned smelling Prince Albert pipe tobacco when we were up in the dining room. I didn't smell it, but I started offering explanations since I always try to come down on the skeptical side of things (that makes the things that you can't explain even more interesting!). For example, when someone smells cigarette smoke, I try to determine whether we have a smoker in the group who might have some residual smoke on their clothes from before the tour started (that happened on a tour this month, in fact). In this case, though, as far as I could determine we didn't have anyone on the tour who smoked a pipe, and the only other scent up front could be a candle that we had burning. The person who reported the Prince Albert quickly dismissed anything like that, and even said something like, "My Dad smoked that kind of tobacco while I was growing up, so I wouldn't mistake it it was definitely Prince Albert pipe tobacco." Discounting any physical explanation, I don't what unseen presence might have been visiting, but I'm glad that he showed up on the tour and someone was there who could readily recognize it.

We hear some great ghost stories about other places in Jefferson, too. One of our guests on the tour shared one with us that had happened the night before. She'd been walking around the old McGarity's Saloon, which is currently unoccupied, and happened to turn and see a shadowy figure run across the area behind her. While I can't do justice to her first-hand account of this, she told me that she'd initially thought that it was one of her friends who was with her. That person suddenly called out to her from a little ways away, saying something like, "Did you see that shadow running across there?" We've seen shadow people here at The Grove, so I immediately knew what she was talking about. I still have no idea what these entities are, but they are definitely a mysterious part of the supernatural world, and seem to be different from typical ghosts and hauntings.

Getting back to The Grove, we had some friends visit us a few weeks ago. They had a daughter who was eleven years old, and we initially met them for dinner over at Auntie Skinners (they have some of the best burgers in town - I always get their jalapeno-chili burger). Afterwards we adjourned to The Grove, where we sat in the front parlor to visit. Their daughter went into the center stairwell chasing our bassets, and suddenly came back out. She said that it felt creepy in there, and didn't like it a bit. This made perfect sense to us, since Tami has been feeling the presence of a "creepy guy" in there since we first brought the house. The interesting about this was that the girl had never heard any of these stories, and had never been to Jefferson before (much less The Grove). Whatever it was in the stairwell, she couldn't stand to be around it.

The final thing that I want to mention this month is also related to the stairwell. During one of the tours in the last week or so, we'd just about finished up and everyone was back up front signing the guest book. Someone asked the question, "Earlier in the tour, was someone walking up and down the stairs?" I told them that I didn't think so, but said that I'd ask Tami if she'd been up there. I doubted that she was, of course, since during the summer it's hot as the dickens at the top of the stairs let alone up in the attic itself. A couple of others on the tour said that they'd heard the stairs creaking during the first part of the tour as if someone had been walking up or down them. Of course, I checked with Tami, and she had been in the back of the house getting it ready for everyone to see, and hadn't been upstairs at all. The dogs were in back as well, so I don't have a good explanation for what these folks heard - I just wish that I'd noticed it as well, but that's often the case. The spirits here sometimes reveal themselves very selectively.

I had a couple of new things happen on the tour today, but I'll save them for next month - I don't want to get too longwinded... and with me, that's ALWAYS a possibility! I really would like to sincerely thank you for reading the GroveZine, and for your interest in the spirits of The Grove. I say it every month, but I really mean it... thanks for reading.

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