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Ah, the air is cooler, the leaves are falling, and it appears to be autumn in Jefferson. Here at The Grove, our thoughts have already been focused on Christmas decorations since we're on the Candlelight Tour of Homes the first two weekends in December. Come to town if you can - it's a wonderful time. The entire city is lit up for Christmas, and just a block away is the Enchanted Forest, where a hundred or so trees are decorated by different organizations and families, and when they're lit up at night, the place looks magical. On the Candlelight Home Tour, you can visit four historic homes with one ticket, hosted by docents in Victorian clothing in every room. The Grove will be one of the four homes on tour, and we're already planning for those two weekends. In fact, the master bedroom has been closed off from the tours all month because it's piled high with decorations - in November, people who tour the house will already begin to see signs of Christmas!
We're also getting ready for the first weekend in October, which is the city-wide garage sale. I know that the GroveZine has readers all over the country (and some international), but if you're within driving distance of Jefferson, plan on coming down for the garage sale weekend. Pick up a free map at the Chamber of Commerce, and you can spend the better part of the day sifting through all the sales around town. We'll be having one here at The Grove, with some of the most eclectic selections (and junk) that you've ever seen. It's going to be fun.
You know, sometimes I forget just what a wonderful place Jefferson is. Lately I've seen a few signs that have reminded me, though. There's one house in town that seems to be having a perpetual garage sale (they're not waiting for the first weekend in October), and I happened to be driving by not too long ago, and there was a piece of notebook paper taped to their usual "garage sale" sign. It said, "Closed due to bad sickness." What the message lacked in elegance, it made up for in honesty. Several days after that I was out for my morning walk (doctor's orders), and I passed one of our restaurants. There was a sign taped to the door, and while I didn't have a pen and paper to copy it exactly, it said something like, "No crawfish pies until the cook recovers from surgery." Although I'm an East Texas boy, I lived in the Dallas area for about 20 years, and I'm pretty sure that I never saw anything like that taped to the front door of a Chili's or Olive Garden... but that's why I love Jefferson so much. The final sign that impressed me was one that I ran across a few days ago, but I guess that it wasn't really a sign - it was a mailbox. I've been having trouble with my lawn mower, so I took it out to a fellow's house because I'd heard he was a good small engine repairman. When I got there he wasn't home, but there was a mailbox by the front walk, and on the side was painted the message, "Leave a Mower - Write a Note." I unloaded my lawn mower and rolled it up beside the mailbox, then used the pen and paper that I found in the box to tell him who I was, how to reach me, and what was wrong with my mower. I haven't heard back from him, I assume that everything is progressing fine. I truly love living in Jefferson.
Two other quick things to mention: the MusicFest, and A Taste of Jefferson. Last weekend we had that first annual MusicFest, and the town was filled with tunes, from gospel to blues to rock'n'roll. You couldn't escape the live music, whether you were sitting at the main stage or dining in a local restaurant. It was WONDERFUL! I highly recommend checking it out next September. Come and join us for everything from laid-back guitar to hard-thumping rock.
Of course, you've heard me rave about "A Taste of Jefferson" before. It's coming up this next weekend, so if you're in town for the city-wide rummage sale, be sure to stay for the Taste of Jefferson on Sunday. Restaurants from all over the area will be represented, and it's a food-fest that you won't soon forget!
Speaking of food, something happened today that we'd never experienced before. I was in the back part of the house, and Tami called me up to the front parlor. As I walked in, she said, "Notice anything?" I already knew what she was talking about - the front parlor and dining room smelled like fresh baked banana-nut bread. No candles had been burning, and we hadn't done any baking in the house, so there was no real explanation for it. Sure enough, though, the room smelled like someone had just baked a fresh loaf of bread. Of course, in the history of the house anything like that would have been baked back in the kitchen, so we were at a loss to explain what we'd encountered. Still, it smelled great!
I mentioned that we were getting ready for the upcoming garage sale, which meant that we were going through all of the boxes stored in the attic. On September 7th, we'd spent most of the evening upstairs, and when we finally quit I carried one box back up there and when I opened the door, there was a very powerful feeling in the attic - as if someone was there, and was very emotional. I went back downstairs, and told Tami that she had to go up to check it out. I went with her, and we both felt an intense presence there. We finally headed back down, but Tami turned around in time to see a shadowy figure standing on the landing. weird feeling in the attic on 9/7, Tami saw shadow figure on the stairs. Obviously we'd stirred up something in our unpacking.
Last weekend I got a call from Jody (of Jefferson Ghost-Walk fame), and she was very excited. A gentleman on the ghost walk had taken a few photos of the garden from the street, and in one there were two men standing out there. Another showed a woman. Jody is going to send them to me as soon as the guy sends them to her, but that hasn't happened yet - stay tuned!
After signing the papers to buy The Grove four years ago, Patrick Hopkins (the former owner) came back with us and gave us a lot more info on the place. While we were in the kitchen, he pointed out that often he would look back up toward the front of the house, and would see a shadowy figure of a man stepping from the game room into the stairwell. In the last four years, that's happened quite a bit. Not just to us, as it turns out. One Sunday morning we had a small group, and when we moved into the kitchen to end the tour, and one of the guys on the tour stopped me to say that he'd seen a shadow person step from the game room (the old master bedroom) into the stairwell. I hadn't told that story on the tour, so it surprised me that it happened with a few witnesses there.
Okay, we're into Autumn and October, and I'm sure that I'll have a great batch of stories next month... and I promise to try to make it a little more on time! The main website for The Grove is: www.thegrove-jefferson.com
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