One More Spooky Story for Halloween

This one is kind of spooky and kind of just strange. When I first moved down here, the Shill came to visit me and I hauled her over to the Stones River Battlefield to go ghost-hunting. (Yes, nieces and nephews, if you come to visit me, your butt is getting hauled on one unsuccessful ghost hunt or another.)

The Stones River Battlefield is supposedly riddled with ghosts and it’s kind of got a creepy feeling about it. This creepy feeling is not assuaged by the fact that some homeowners who live at the edge of the National Park have yards full of religious statuary facing into the battlefield, as if they are the first line of defense against something awful. But, despite our best efforts, the scariest thing the Shill and I encountered was an unforeseen long walk.

So, as we’re leaving, we see, on the other side of the road, a strange walled-off area near the cemetery. We decide to stop and go up and take a look. Here, (I hope; it’s my first blog photo) is a picture of what we found inside the wall.

Hazen Brigade Monument

As you can see, it’s a big cube monument surrounded by graves: graves of dead Midwesterners. “These are our boys,” I say to the Shill as we wander around looking at the gravestones. Now, it’s an utterly still day; there’s no traffic and no trains. I look over to the area on the right of this photo and I see that some of the stones are white (which you can see here as well). I walk over to take a closer look, to see if I can figure out why the stones are different.

And just as I step onto the nearest grave to take a closer look at the headstone, two osage oranges drop onto the ground at the exact same time. It scared the shit out of me. I holler and jump back. The Shill says, “Oh my god, did you hear that?” And I say, “What?” “I thought I heard someone laughing.”

Okay, fine, skeptics, I’ll admit, we were geared up to have something strange happen and the laughter could have been imagination. But what is the likelihood of two osage oranges hitting the ground at the same time if there’s nothing to shake them loose? Isn’t it more likely that one would drop causing the weight on the branch to shift, causing the other one to come loose, thus resulting not in them both hitting the ground at the same time, but one hitting slightly later?

Well, hmm, it was scary when it happened, but now I’m sort of convinced we were freaked out by a strange, but not supernatural, arboreal occurrence.

October Soup

Yesterday, I had to turn the air conditioning on in our house. It’s only 72 here on the third coast, but I’m running the air conditioner.

Miss J.’s father-in-law will tell you how it gets so cold in Alaska sometimes that you can go out and push the fog around. The air here is so full of water that this morning, instead of taking Mrs. Wigglebottom for a walk, we took a lovely canoe ride* around the neighborhood. I’m running the air conditioner just to pull the humidity out of the air so that we can breathe. Still, it annoys me and cracks me up that I’m running the air conditioner at the end of October.

*As you all know, there’s no way this could happen in real life. After the last/only time we tried to take Mrs. Wigglebottom canoeing–which resulted in her tipping over the canoe (losing my sandals, damn you dog!), swimming for shore, and hiding behind a brownie troop–there’s no way she’s ever getting back in a boat, I’m almost certain of it. Which is too bad, because, for a dog who sinks like a stone, she really loves water.