I thought I share a "ghost" story to make you smile.
The Phantoms of Trace
Stemming from the
fact that she was an only daughter of four children and I was an only child, my
cousin, Jeannie, and I were very close growing up, more like sisters than
cousins. I was a city girl, having been brought up in the big metropolis of Laurel, Mississippi,
while Jeannie was a country girl, having grown up just outside Laurel in the Shady Grove community. The
biggest difference in our upbringing, the amount of light that shined in our
windows at night.
The darkness out
in the country proved to be one of our greatest adventures as well as one of
our biggest blunders. After our good friend and other troublemaker, Jenny, was
grounded as a result of one of our mishaps, Jeannie and I stayed close to home,
her home, for a while. After watching “The Midnight Special” late on Saturday,
we would sometimes walk in the woods. Our walks were well lighted, sort of. We
would frequently don silky white bathrobes and placed a flashlight under the
material, giving ourselves a ghostly appearance as we moved slowly through the
woods near Jeannie’s house. Some of the best stories we heard were about The
Phantoms of Trace Road. Oh, we were extremely scary.
Jeannie would tell
me about friends at her high school asking if she had ever seen these
apparitions as they appeared so near her house. Jeannie would feign fear. “No! You
have me too scared to go in my own backyard.”
However, that is
exactly what we did. We went into her backyard and down the road a piece. Of
course, her parents were sound asleep. They would have skinned us alive.
As fate would have
it, the next Saturday night we dressed in our ethereal costumes, and the moon
was not to be seen. As a matter of fact, a storm was brewing. Lightning flashed
now and then, but the rumbling was still at a distance. Nonetheless, it did add
to the mystery of The Phantoms of Trace Road.
Jeannie and I
walked slowly and deliberately in the heaviest wooded area near her house and
the road. The wind wafted our garments around us as if the silk were floating
in the air. The eerie glow from the shrouded flashlights cast a pall. Never
before had there been any gruesome sounds to accompany our silent haunting. Sound
would have been distracting. A distant rumble of thunder was not terrifying,
but the sudden screeching of tires and the grating of metal was horrifying,
The Phantoms of
Trace Road froze. The car skidded to a stop in the ditch less than a hundred
yards from us. Being a specter was so NOT funny as a groan came from the
occupant of the vehicle.
The Phantoms of
Trace Road found a shred of life and disappeared into the confines of the crypt
of Jeannie’s house. As the man who had swerved into a ditch at the sight of two
ghosts, knocked on Uncle Bill’s door to ask to use a phone to call a tow truck
(This was long before cell phones and at a time when one felt safe to knock on
a door.), two phantasms slept the sleep of death. The man told Uncle Bill about
the figures in the woods. Uncle Bill said sleepily, “You really saw something?”
“Yes,” said the
man. “I ran off the road looking at it.”
Uncle Bill walked
outside with the man. “Where?” he asked. The man indicated where he had seen
the spooky display. The rain started.
Uncle Bill told
the man, “Well, there’s nothing there now. Come in and call the tow truck.”
As the tow truck
pulled the man’s car from the ditch, Uncle Bill cracked Jeannie’s bedroom door.
“Boo!” was all he said before he went to sleep. Alas, the demons were
exorcised, never to reappear, the fading light completely extinguished.
The Essay Category attracted 136 total entries, of which 27 finalists were selected. The Short List selected from the finalists totaled 13 manuscripts. An additional 24 entries were selected as semi-finalists. The entries included 91 from Louisiana including, including 33 from New Orleans. Six foreign countries were represented.
A Poetic Treatise on “Bad Poetry” Conjuring My Father Cookies for Breakfast Equivalence and Will Inheritance Lost and Can’t be Found Shakespeare’s Sonnet Crown The Baby Whaler That Roared The Ember and the Stream The Flinch The Holy Water and the Regular Water River Journey Two The Bravest Women in Town
Dangerous Fish Days, Robert Hambling Davis, Newark, DE Early Warnings, Leslie Daniels, Thorold, Ontario, Canada I Don’t Believe, Katherine McCord, Sykesville, MD Journalists as Democracy’s Map Makers, Nancy DaFoe, Homer, NY No Stranger at the Table, Maxine Backus, Grüeningen, Switzerland Reckonings in a Wheat Field, Frank Johnson, Greenfield, MO Red, Beth Shankle Anderson, Tallahassee, FL Scenes from a Childhood, Katie Burke, San Francisco, CA Speaking in Signs, Laine Cunningham, Hillsborough, NC The Corner by the A&P, Ellis Anderson, Bay St. Louis, MS The Membrane of Memory, Jean Carr, Tucson, AZ Walk, Nancy Brock, Columbia, SC What Do We Do Without Question?, Rosemary Daniell, Savannah, GA When Bum Bum Canned, Sudy Vance Leavy, Athens, GA
Angels Watching Over Me, Donna Fado Ivery, Richmond, CA A Ripple Becomes a Wave, Cynthia Anderson, Chapel Hill, NC A White Mother Looks at the NYPD Through the Eyes of Her Black Godson, Pat Gallant, New York, NY Bee Frankenstein, Mary Jean Pramick, San Francisco, CA Be Thou My Vision Therapist, Mary Barrett, Branford, CT Daddy, Eugene C. Thomas, New Orleans, LA Ghosts in the Snow, Rachel Nielsen, Burlingame, CA Howdy Doody Strings, Pat Gallant, New York, NY I Left a Piece of Myself in Positano, Marney L. McNall, Charleston, SC It’s Political, Nancy Defoe, Homer, NY It’s the Brain, Stupid, Garry Wallace, Powell, WY Me Cleaning with a Dustbuster, Brooke Champagne, Northport, AL Notes to Self: Which Self? Ruth Moon Kempher, St. Augustine, FL Pillow Talk, Pat Gallant, New York, NY Taos, Duane DeRaad, El Prado, NM Tell Him to Be Kind to Women, Nancy Dafoe, Homer, NY Thank You, Chuck Barris, Angela Campbell, Salen, MA The Lightness of Thoughtfulness: Following Rikki, Nicola Preuss, New Orleans, LA The Two Shot West, Kathleen Griershader, Metairie, LA Therein Lies the Lump, Michelle T. Simon, Scottsdale, AZ Wait For Me, Lottie Brent Boggan, Jackson, MS When ‘Mom’ Becomes a 3-Syllable Word, Pat Gallant, New York, NY Yellow Jack is Back, Carlene Singleton, Florence, MS