www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          June 2007                                      ISSN 1558-3252

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I think that I should have a canned opening to every GroveZine this year, where I generically say, "Wow, I can't believe how fast this month passed by!" I say that because it's true - 2007 is travelling at warp speed. It seems that only a few weeks ago we were taking down Christmas decorations, but now not only is Tami out of school for the summer, but her vacation is already one-third over. Wow.

Since it's summer, we've had some friends in town here and there, but one asked a question the other day that made me stop and laugh. We were pouring iced tea with dinner, and our friends asked, "Why do you drink out of Mason jars with handles on them - is that a Jefferson thing?" Well, as it turns out, it is. The Blackburn Syrup works is located here in town, and so we get some of the best-tasting, freshest jellies and syrups that you'll ever find. In fact, you can buy them at the outlet store in town. Blackburn's jelly comes in jars with handles on them, though, and after eating the jelly, people in town have used them as drinking glasses for years. You'll find a set in the finest home to the most modest dwelling here in Jefferson. I'd never really thought about it, but I guess that owning a set is just a badge of honor for living in Jefferson.

Independence Day is right around the corner, and we're looking forward to an old-fashioned fourth-of-July celebration at the park downtown. Tami is baking a cake for the cake auction - the proceeds go to buying children's books for the local Carnegie Library. Fireworks and all, it's going to be quite a celebration.

The big news this month has been a train derailment here in town. Of course, there were no toxic chemicals spilled or anything, so it has been more of a little inconvenience than anything else. The reason that I'm even bringing it up at all is because of a friend of mine who saw it happen... and that's the story about the derailment that's REALLY interesting. He was out walking his dog before going to bed, giving the pup one last chance to go to the bathroom. His house backs up to the railroad track, so every time a train goes by, he knows it. That particular night he heard a train coming in the distance, and he told me that his dog immediately started freaking out. Keep in mind that his dog is as used to the trains as he is, so this was highly unusual. The dog continued to go crazy, as if he was trying to warn my friend that something was wrong. After just a few minutes, there was a rumbling and the train cars started derailing right in front of him. My friend called 9-1-1 to report it, but he still can't explain how his dog seemed to know that something was going to happen in advance of the accident.

I'm also excited to report that there's a new Cemetery Tour at our historic Oakwood Cemetery. If you enjoy the ghost walk (which we do!), then you'll be happy to know that the same person - Jodi - is doing the daytime cemetery tour. It covers the history of some of the fascinating people who are buried there, and is well worth your time while you're in town.

Finally, I've been talking about Jefferson's new McDonalds for the last few issues, so I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it's still underway. The parking lot hasn't been poured, but the basic building is complete. What other ezine can you read that tracks the progress of a McDonalds??? Hey, I think that I'm just looking forward to being able to get a bacon-egg-cheese biscuit for breakfast!

As for this month's ghost stories from The Grove, I have several things from the tours. Those are my favorite stories, because not only do they happen to other people, but they are often observed by several people at once.

The first thing to report concerns a surveyor's marker that was tied to a tree on the southeast corner of the property. Someone was buying the house behind us, so a crew was surveying the lot for the title company and they used The Grove as a guide. In the course of things, they tied a piece of florescent surveyor's tape to a tree that was right above the corner stake. A gentleman that came on the tour told me that he was on the ghost walk the previous night, and the evening was very still - no wind movement at all. As they stood in front of The Grove, he saw the orange fluorescent tape and started watching it move. The tape started swaying back and fourth, and then moved in a circle, and then stopped again, all while he and his family stood there staring at it. He told me that the strangest thing about it was that there was a wind chime in the garden just a few feet away, and it wasn't moving a millimeter - the evening was completely still. I have no idea what all that might have been about, but the fellow who saw it was completely blown away - it must have been quite dramatic.

Speaking of dramatic, that describes the next story as well. This happened in right in front of me and everyone on the tour one weekend this month. You may have heard me say that if I know that something is happening during the tour, I usually don't mention it. I'm terrified that if I do, it will seem like we're faking or rigging things for the tour - something that we would never, ever consider doing. The tour group was in the new room (the den), and we were just starting to move into the kitchen to finish the tour. If you've seen the house, you know that the kitchen is done in a 1950's "general store" theme, with all kinds of objects arranged on top of the cabinets. On top of the eight-foot-tall cabinet to the left of the door as you walk into the kitchen are many different things: a few tins, a pair of skates, and a ceramic stein. As we walked from the new room to the kitchen, the stein sailed off the top of the cabinet in a gentle arc, and fell six foot away on the floor to the right. Everyone ooo'd and ahh'd, and although I just picked up the stein and downplayed it, I was amazed. First of all, if it had been jarred off the top of the cabinet, it would have fallen straight down, not at such a huge arc. Secondly, from that distance it should have shattered, but it didn't even have a nick. I have absolutely no explanation for what happened, but everyone on the tour that day thought that it was incredible.

Finally, we had one couple on the tour a Sunday or so ago, and while we were in the den - the new room - the lady started fidgeting and finally asked if she could sit down on the couch. When I finished talking about the room and we were moving into the kitchen, she told her husband and I that someone had been fiddling with her sock, and pulling it down. That happened a few times, to the point where she wanted to get away from it and get off her feet. Although I didn't see it, this fits right in with the fact that the spirit in the den seems to be very fond of the ladies, and will often flirt with them while they're in the room.

And so go the spirits of The Grove. It's an interesting place to live, and we really enjoy sharing our stories with all of you!

Everyone have a happy 4th of July, when we celebrate this wonderful country that we live in. If you get a chance to get away for a little vacation during the summer, I hope that we see you here in Jefferson. No matter what, though, I hope that you have a wonderful, leisurely July - hopefully it won't fly by like the rest of the year has!

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