Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Jack o Lanterns

We used to get all excited waiting for the day my dad would come home and carve our pumpkin when were were kids. It was the highlight of our... Halloween except for the candy of course.

It seems daddy would get all the glory even though mom was they one who did the shopping and all the preparation and the work that made every holiday so great. She even bought the pumpkin and cleaned up the mess (until we got old enough to clean it up ourselves anyway)

I guess that's the way of all households. Dad's get the gets stuck holding the bag (so to speak)

Friday, October 28, 2011


When I lived in Huntington I lived in a house that had a wheelchair ramp for my dad. One Halloween a little boy around 3 years old came tromping up the ramp in his cowboy boots with his little cowboy hat askew and yelling, "Halloweeeen! Halloweeeen!" He was saying "Halloweeeen," instead of yelling, "trick or treat!" He was absolutely adorable.

He fell in love with the ramp. His mom and I talked for a couple of minutes while he marched back and forth along the ramp having a grand old time. It came time for them to leave and his mother said, " Come on, Austin, it's time to go." Well Austin would have none of it. He laid down on his back and started to kick and scream and throw a class A temper tantrum. Of course his mom was apologizing the whole time while trying to reason with him to get up and go.

Finally I looked at Austin and said, "Austin, you are welcome to play on my ramp all night long if you want to, but while you are here all these other kids are going to these other houses and getting ALL the candy!" Little Austin immediately bounced back up and raced down the street squealing, "HALLOWEEEEN! HALLOWEEEEN!" He was the cutest trick or treater ever!

Later that night on his way home Austin made sure to swing by my house and march across the ramp a couple of more times.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Hunt for Mamie Thurman

We were all terrified of Mamie Thurman. She was murdered on 22 mountain in the 1930's. The story I grew up with is actually scarier than the truth. I have posted an article about her true story in my next blog. I grew up thinking that she was beheaded on top of a large rock on top of 22 mountain. No one ever found her killer.

There are stories to this day that she still roams 22 mountain looking for justice. (I have to amend that statement now because the mountain is halfway gone due to mountaintop mining now)

When I was in junior high school a friend drove a bunch of us to the top of 22 mountain on Halloween night. The plan was for us all to walk down the mountain and see what we could see. Everybody chickened out except for me. (I was a daredevil even in those days) We sat on top of the mountain arguing about walking down the mountain for about 1/2 an hour. Finally a couple of us got out and we were going to start walking when just as the van pulled out my friends started screaming for it to wait for them. They got back in the van.

I didn't.

I walked all the way down from the top of 22 mountain to the bottom - just me and a flashlight. I DID NOT SEE ANYTHING THE WHOLE WAY DOWN. I DID NOT HEAR ANYTHING THE WHOLE WAY DOWN EITHER. When I got to the bottom of the mountain my friends were waiting for me in the van (some practically in tears). They were all yammering about the scary noises they kept hearing around the van. They were very glad to see me because they were all sure that I would be murdered - but I wasn't.

We used to play a game and I have learned there is a version of it in every part of the country. You know the one. You go into the bathroom with a candle and turn all the lights out. Then you stand in front of the mirror and start chanting "Mamie Thurman show your face" over and over. Supposedly after 10 times she will appear in the mirror. I have to confess that I NEVER did have the nerve to finish that little game. We would ALWAYS run from the bathroom screaming before we got to 10.

A couple of years ago channel 3 ran a story. In it they did a demonstration. If you park your car facing downhill on 22 mountain and put it in neutral - IT WILL ROLL BACKWARDS UPHILL. Now that was strange. Their car actually did it! I am sure there is a logical explanation though (although I don't know it). It's like when you go to one of those "mystery hole" tourist attractions and everything is backwards. It's a lot of fun and doesn't make any sense. They always tell you there is a flaw in the earth's magentic field or something.

I almost forgot the scariest story of all. One time when we were driving back from a car auction one of the drivers told this story. He said he got it from the "old timers". The old timers said they would be in a dive called the Green Lantern (I can remember that bar). There was a beautiful woman with dark hair and a polka dot dress. (Mamie Thurman was wearing a polka dot dress when she was killed) They would dance and drink and then she would ask for a ride home. They would be driving down the road and the man would look over and ask where she needed to go and she would be gone - vanished into thin air!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Ghost in the Guard Shack

When I first started to work in the dog business I was working with a man named, Larry. I did the racing kennel and he did the puppy farm and came in to help on schooling days or whenever we were really busy in the kennel. One day my boss came in and told me that Larry was in the hospital, he had a heart attack.

For the next couple of days when my boss came in I would ask him how Larry was. On the third day he told me Larry had died. I went about my life as usual. I worked for a couple more years at Tri-State and then I worked for 5 years at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Then I moved back to West Virginia and started to work at Tri-State again.

One day I walked into the guard shack and there stood Larry - plain as day! I turned about 63 shades of white as my mouth started to pop open over and over like a guppy sucking in water. Larry stood there, pale as could be with silvery white hair and a big, beaming smile came over his face when he saw me. I stood there staring and trying to regain my composure after my heart had fallen to my knees.

"Larry, how are you?" I managed to sputter out.

"Great. It's good to see you," he said.

Even though I momentarily thought I had seen a ghost, obviously I did not. Larry had been pale with silvery, white hair when I had known him 10 years before that. We talked pleasantly for a few minutes. I was afraid to tell him that I thought he was dead all that time. I didn't know what kind of shape his heart was in and I didn't want to upset him.

Later, after I had seen him a few more times, I told him that Sal had told me he had died and how bad it scared me when I ran into him in the guard shack that day. Larry just laughed.

"That sounds like something Sal would do," he chuckled.