"Many have tried to explain what ghosts are, and there are numerous theories - all unproven. Nevertheless, these strange stories have forged our faith and our fears, many becoming the tales we tell each other on moonlit nights around a campfire." - Richard Palmisano
Hello, everyone. Let me start out with a request for a little help! I was notified last week that The Grove had been nominated by USA Today's 10best.com website for the Best Haunted Destinations in America. Actually, around twenty places were nominated, and popular vote will decide the 10 Best. You can imagine my request... if you believe The Grove to be one of the ten best haunted destinations, then please vote by clicking this link and scrolling down to the Grove, and giving us your vote! It costs nothing to vote, and I'd really, sincerely appreciate it. You can even vote once a day if you're so inclined, and the voting goes on for the next 4 weeks.
We'd love to see The Grove as one of the 10 Best Haunted Destinations in America, but we're up against some tough odds. Competing locations include Eastern State Penitentiary, which has been on every national ghost television show, and Winchester House, which had its own Hollywood movie made about it. There are a lot of household names in the competition that people who haven't heard about The Grove will naturally vote for, so this will be an uphill battle, but if you could see your way to tossing a vote or two (or more) our way it would be appreciated. If you were to mention it to your friends on social media that would be very welcome as well - the actual link is https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-haunted-destination/.
I hope that I'm announcing a victory in the next GroveZine, but to make that happen The Grove really needs your help. Thanks again!
That said, let's get on with this month's GroveZine... and first, an apology. You see, the curse of being a writer is that it's impossible to edit your own work. After putting the GroveZine together, I read it, read it again, read it one more time, and declare it perfect. I hit the SEND key with a sense of satisfaction... and that's when I find a huge, glaring error!!! In the last GroveZine I told the story of "Old Abe" the bald eagle on a Vicksburg monument, and then a couple of sentences later, I referred to him as a falcon. Heavy sigh. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...
I'm a big believer in the wise, old adage "Dance with the one that brung you." Well, for seventeen years our Whirlpool microwave served us well. The only thing that I ever had to do it was change the lower light bulb whenever it burned out. It didn't give us a single day of trouble until it died a natural death a while back. I wanted to replace it with the same model, but in 17 years they'd updated it, redesigned it a bit, but it was very reminiscent of the old unit. We put it in a few months ago, and the lower bulb burned out earlier this month. Like I'd done dozens of time before with the old Whirlpool, I bought a new bulb at the grocery store and changed it out. And it wouldn't turn off. You could cycle through the settings on the control panel: off / full / half, but no matter... the bulb stayed on full. I went online and found that it is a very common problem - much more so than you might think. It seems that Whirlpool has improved their microwaves to the point where changing out the light bulb can actually short out the circuit board. Whenever the light burns out, you have to be prepared to buy a bulb and a $40 circuit board. There's another wise, old adage shot full of holes, 'cause I'm marking Whirlpool off my future appliance list.
Now on to a much better note - I spent a few days this month revamping the portion of the Grove website dedicated to the City of Jefferson. It had slowly but surely gone terribly out of date. I tried to organize it a little better as well, with separate pages for restaurants, tours, parks & places, historic churches, and museums. Be sure to take a look at it - it's on the website for The Grove, but you can take a shortcut to it by clicking on www.visitjefferson.com.
Most of you who've taken the tour of The Grove have met our cat Elsie. She's our unofficial greeter, hanging around on the front porch to get petted as people are gathering for the tour. She knows the schedule as well as I do, as it turns out. Over the last year Elsie's been slowing down a bit, and I guess rightfully so - she's getting up there in years. At one point this month, a mouse made its way into the house; I saw it run across the floor, and wondered if Elsie still had it in her to handle the situation. I guess that later in the evening she sensed that we had an intruder, because she was walking through the kitchen, stopped, and froze like a statue. I don't know how long she sat there, but I couldn't resist snapping her photo. When I got up the next morning, there was a little pile of what used to be a mouse in front of the stove. I guess that the old girl still has it in her.
When my dad's birthday came around recently, I thought about him a lot. He passed nine years ago, but that incredible old man still occupies my thoughts. One of my fondest memories about him involves The Grove, back when we first bought it in 2002. Dad was always skeptical about the supernatural, and certainly didn't believe in "ghosts." Whenever we'd talk about The Grove being very active with such things, he'd laugh and try to poke holes in our experiences. One day we were working on the kitchen, which is in the back of the house, and needed a 2x4 cut to a particular length. Since our table saw was set up on the front porch, Dad said, "I'll go cut it." He walked up front, and a couple of minutes later, appeared in the doorway to the kitchen. My wife and I were there, along with her parents and my mother. Dad looked around, then turned and walked away. He returned in a few minutes with the 2x4 of just the right length. Later he pulled me aside and said, "I have to tell you something. When I walked to the front of the house, as I was entering the Dining Room I heard some people talking over in the Parlor. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but there was just no question about what I heard. I assumed that some of you had somehow beat me to the front and were having a discussion - when I stepped into the Dining Room, the conversation stopped, and I saw that the front of the house was completely empty. It was very real, so I had to come back and make sure that all of you were still in the kitchen." I don't think that Dad ever resolved what had happened to him that day, but I noticed he never questioned any of our stories in the future. I miss him so much!
I remember the first year that we owned The Grove and were still getting used to the supernatural activity at the house. I had a friend who lived in the D/FW Metroplex and whenever we talked, he'd always ask questions about The Grove. On one occasion he asked, "Do you actually see them?" I told him that sometimes we heard talking, footsteps, and other things; we would smell odors like cigar smoke or perfume; but yes, on occasion we'd see something. My friend went on to ask, "So do they just walk up to you and stand there?" I laughed and said, "No, it's more like you're living in a house with several people and you occasionally see them walking by going about their daily business." I thought about that conversation this past week, because I was in the Den - the "new room" added in 1870 - and since the house was opened up I could see through to the dining room. As I looked up I saw a figure in white walking beside the dining table, west to east. It couldn't have been our "Lady in White" since she always takes the same path, east to west through the Game Room and across the Stairwell. So who was it? I have no idea... just one of the strange things that happen at The Grove.
If you've been reading the GroveZine for any length of time, you know that human spirits aren't the only ones that we've encountered. We've seen phantom felines dashing by, which shouldn't be a surprise since we've been told that the fifth owner, Ms. Louise Young, had a number of house cats in residence. As an aside, we have friends here in town with a B&B that has a ghost cat that's been experienced by them and their guests. But we've also encountered dog spirits as well, some of them basset hounds, which we've had throughout our marriage. This happened again a few nights ago; our basset Bella was asleep, snuggled up in the covers we put down for her. Deveraux, our Basset/Beagle mix (a "Bagel") was snoring away in our bathroom, curled up on the shaggy rug. It was getting late, so I'd gone to the bedroom to check on Dev, and left her alone because she was sleeping so soundly. When I came back into the Den, my wife said, "So Dev's outside?" I told her that I'd left Dev sleeping, to which she replied, "So she didn't just walk down the hallway?" I assured her that no one was in the hallway, canine or otherwise. My wife just laughed and said, "Well, after you went into the bedroom I heard the clicking of toenails out there - I assumed that you'd gotten Dev up and she was walking outside." Once again we'd had a doggie visitor, and we hoped that it was one of our previous puppies coming back just to check on us.
The Grove says...
Well, that's the July issues of the GroveZine. Your help is greatly appreciated in trying to make The Grove one of USA Today's 10 Best Haunted Destinations in America. Although we're up against seemingly insurmountable odds, you can really help by clicking this link a few (or many) times over the next month. The voting goes on for four weeks, and I've already made a note to remind myself every morning. The rules say that we can't run a contest or give away anything for votes - we have to depend solely on the help of our friends. Share the link on your social media if you can, and click on it whenever you get the chance... you can vote once a day. Thank you again... so very much!
Here's what's coming up around Jefferson...
Once again, this is strange but I have to say, "Who knows?" Our sincere prayer is that Jefferson - and the entire country, for that matter - is able to safely come back to some normalcy in the very near future. Until we get those directives, it's impossible to list upcoming events. Things are still cancelling, like the Historical Museum's Civil War Symposium and the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend. Everyone's being careful. We will come through this, and eventually get back to some form of normal again. Hang in there, my friends.
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