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Re: A Ghost Story for Gerry (Suzianne 40168)

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  • Susan Donahue
    Dear Gerry, I am so glad that you found the Crescent Moon. I spent a lot of Monday evenings there (in its two previous locations), basking in the glow of
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 4, 2011
      Dear Gerry,

      I am so glad that you found the Crescent Moon. I spent a lot of Monday evenings there (in its two previous locations), basking in the glow of great company and poetry from the hearts and minds of some very interesting souls.

      I still have my Crescent Moon coffee mug. Each time I use it, it brings back wonderful memories of the place.

      Enjoy your time with Rex and those people. They are very dear to me.


      --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, Gerry Merck <gerrymerck@...> wrote:
      > Susan...I did my first reading tonight at a little coffee place in Lincoln
      > called Crescent Moon. Met an old friend of yours, Rex Walton. He says hello!
      > Small crowd. Great company!
      > Gerry
      > ________________________________
      > From: Susan Donahue <suzianne411@...>
      > To: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Mon, January 3, 2011 8:43:53 PM
      > Subject: [ticket2write] Re: A Ghost Story for Gerry (Suzianne 40168)
      > Dear Wings,
      > What a remarkable story about the ring and the dream. I am also glad to hear
      > that there is a guardian angel watching over you. I suspect you have tried it's
      > patience more than once.
      > Suzianne
      > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Wings081" <wings081@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Dear Suzi
      > >
      > > Re."No basement" That is one of the many things I would like in my house.Many
      > >older houses in UK have cellars which primarily were for the storage of coal
      > >that would have been tipped down a chute from road level through a round
      > >grating.
      > > While I think of it, let me tell you a true story about a coal cellar.
      > > My mother's mother lost her wedding ring and was most upset until my mother
      > >woke one morning and said she had a dream that the ring was under a large lump
      > >of coal in the cellar.They all went down the cellar steps and Mother exclaimed
      > >"There,that's the lump of coal I saw"
      > > Sure enough ,when they moved it, there was the ring.Must have been a message
      > >from the guardian angel who transferred its allegiance to me when Mother passed
      > >away.
      > > Another time Mother awoke and said she had a terrible dream that a tram had run
      > >over a flock of sheep.
      > > Sure enough her dad came home and said there had been a terrible accident with
      > >a tram losing control and running into a flock of sheep, killing more than half
      > >a dozen animals.
      > >
      > > Re. "Lost their house with all external walls blown away"
      > > A tornado might strip my roof but would have its work cut out to demolish my
      > >walls which are almost three feet thick, constructed of stone and cob built
      > >pre-1900.
      > >
      > > Re. "Miracle of Facebook" Doan 'old with it myself.
      > > I am continually being invited to become a friend on facebook but believe it to
      > >be too invasive by far and reviewing the site I am disturbed by some of the
      > >vituperative comments posted. So call me a happy hermit and let me paddle my own
      > >canoe.
      > >
      > > As ever
      > > Wings
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ogroups.com, "Susan Donahue" <suzianne411@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Dear Gerry,
      > > >
      > > > Thank you for the kind words. It is a little bittersweet to read this story
      > >again. Friday morning, I woke to the sound of tornado sirens. We don't take
      > >the warnings any less seriously here in Rogers, Arkansas than we did in
      > >Nebraska. Within a few minuts we knew the tornado had struck the tiny town of
      > >Cincinnati, Arkansas about 20 miles SW of us. The pre-dawn storm was furious
      > >here with terrible wind, driving rain and hail. We were listening to the radio
      > >while I was making toast and frying up bacon and eggs, knowing that the
      > >electricity was not likely to stay on long. There is no basement in the house
      > >and no place to take shelter, so I figured nobody should go hungry if the worst
      > >was to come.
      > > >
      > > > As the minutes flew by, word came that Cincinnati had been leveled. The fire
      > >house and all the emergency equipment had been destroyed. The storm was heading
      > >on a path directly toward us. I am not sure if it was by nature or prayer, but
      > >the tornado lifted about two miles from us and passed over. Suddenly, the sun
      > >came out. Well, phone calls and e-mails and the miracle of Facebook quickly
      > >disclosed more information about what was left in the wake of the storm. Two of
      > >my three friends in Cincinnati had lost their homes and had gone to take shelter
      > >with their parents. One of the girls and her husband and baby had huddled in
      > >their bathroom for what they guessed was about 30 seconds while the tornado
      > >passed through. All the exterior walls of their home were blown away. Three
      > >peopled died; an older couple and a farmer who had been milking in his cattle
      > >barn. Many were injured, Fourteen homes and several barns, sheds and storage
      > >buildings were gone. The town was all but gone.
      > > >
      > > > So, you can imagine how this old story came to mind. There is nothing like
      > >nature's furry to remind us of how small and fragile life is and how little of
      > >it is within our control.
      > > >
      > > > Well, sorry to go on and on...But, I am glad to see a new year. I am also
      > >glad to have you here with us at ticket2write.
      > > >
      > > > Suzianne
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, Gerry Merck <gerrymerck@> wrote:
      > > >
      > >
    • Amy Rissna Thompson
      Dear Suzianne, it was a very moving story and I thought you wrote it. But even if you didn’t, it was very timely. Thanks for sharing it with us. Amy
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 4, 2011

        Dear Suzianne, it was a very moving story and I thought you wrote it. But even if you didn’t, it was very timely. Thanks for sharing it with us.



        De: Susan Donahue <suzianne411@...>
        Para: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
        Enviado: lun, enero 3, 2011 7:58:13 PM
        Asunto: [ticket2write] Re: A Ghost Story for Gerry (Amy)


        Dear Amy,

        Thank you very much. It is an old story that was published in "Voices of the Heartland" - It came to mind after the tornado here and Gerry's sweet ghost story. I could picture the little ones, scared, then relieved to discover their mother's clever prank. Childhood memories are so dear.


        --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, Amy Rissna Thompson <riisna@...> wrote:
        > That’s a beautiful story, Susan. I haven’t been in this group for a long time
        > but I’m glad I looked in today. Thank you for sharing such a touching story
        > with us.
        > Amy
        > ________________________________
        > De: Susan Donahue <suzianne411@...>
        > Para: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
        > Enviado: dom, enero 2, 2011 5:26:49 PM
        > Asunto: [ticket2write] A Ghost Story for Gerry
        > Same Time, Next Year
        > by Susan Donahue
        > The sky was a cold steel gray on the morning of Halloween. There was no sign of
        > frost, but the wind blew cold across the Nebraska prairie, rustling through the
        > tall grass and weeds by the side of the gravel road.
        > "Listen to me, Billy, calling in sick isnt an option, ok?" Mary Jo brushed the
        > hair from her oldest boys eyes and pressed her palm against his forehead to
        > assure herself that he was really just faking and not running a fever.
        > "But, Ma..." His protest was half hearted, She wasn't falling for it one bit.
        > Billy just didn't want to go to school that day.
        > "Shush," she whispered, giving Billy a quick hug before the school bus came into
        > sight. At eight years of age, he could be her little boy one minute, then
        > practically all grown up the next. "We'll have a real Halloween, tonight, I
        > promise."
        > "Its no big deal, Ma, really." But it was a very big deal to an eight year old,
        > and Mary Jo knew it. What she didn't know, was how she would make good on her
        > promise.
        > The twins didn't share their brothers sullen mood. Katy and Kelly were six year
        > old bundles of energy, still as affectionate as beagle puppies. Being poor
        > didn't bother them, and Mary Jo wasn't sure they even understood what it meant.
        > In their excitement, anticipating the Halloween party at school, the two of them
        > had been up and ready for school before daylight.
        > When the bus arrived, the twins gave Mary Jo big hugs and scampered away, eager
        > to join their friends. They were dressed up as a pair of scarecrows. That was
        > the best Mary Jo could do for costumes. Second hand overalls from the Goodwill
        > Store in Lincoln, battered straw hats, old flannel shirts and some well placed
        > corn husk stuffing completed the outfits. That was enough to make them happy,
        > and they were adorable. Mary Jo wished she had a camera and film to record the
        > moment, but like so many other things, they were beyond her means.
        > She smiled at Billy, as he got on the bus, but he refused to look at her. It
        > broke her heart that he refused to dress up for Halloween. His third grade
        > teacher made arrangements for a party, too, but that didn't seem to interest
        > Billy. Mary Jo didn't have the heart to insist that he wear a costume. It was
        > apparent that he was embarrassed. He was enough older than the twins, that he
        > remembered how things used to be. Four years ago, life had been different for
        > Mary Jo and her kids. In those days, there would have been trick or treating and
        > a big party at the farm. Neighbors from miles around would be there. There would
        > have been cold cider, warm doughnuts, laughter, fiddle playing and dancing.
        > When the bus was out of sight, Mary Jo started back toward home. Along the way,
        > she paused at the the old burr oak which sheltered the family cemetery. Every
        > day since her husband died, she went there and leaned against the rough bark of
        > the tree and had a chat with him. Sometimes, she brought a handful of
        > wildflowers, other times, she came empty handed, but she always had something to
        > say, some little story to share, but, not that morning. She plunged her knotted
        > fists into the pockets of her cardigan, and paced back and forth between the
        > tree and his headstone. Finally, she kicked the stone and turned and ran down
        > the hill and across the creek, to the old Bouton farm, or what was left of it.
        > When the tornado tore the house and barn to splinters, it had torn her life
        > apart, too. She and the babies had huddled in a corner of the cellar. Now, that
        > dark place was their home. All that was left of the farmhouse was the stone
        > cellar below ground and a brick chimney above. All that remained of the Boutons
        > were Billy, Katy and Kelly. It was Mary Jo's obligation to keep the land for
        > them. It wasn't an easy thing to do, but the children were the fourth generation
        > there, and it was all they had.
        > Mary Jo got busy. There were chores to do, stalls to clean, animals which needed
        > tending and a heap of firewood to be chopped and stacked. If the children were
        > going to have supper, one old hen was destined for the stew pot. There was a lot
        > Mary Jo liked about country living, but she never liked killing chickens. When
        > all the other work was done, she cornered a big Rhode Island Red, and wrung its
        > neck. It was quick, but the bird fluttered and fought all the way. She did what
        > she had to do with practiced efficiency. When she sat on an old tree stump to
        > pluck feathers, she glanced up at the overcast sky and decided it was time to
        > say what she had to say to her husband. One of the good things about the
        > solitude of rural Nebraska, she thought, was that a woman could talk to herself
        > or her late husband without fear of ridicule.
        > "This is a fine mess you left me, Will Bouton!" She worked fast, and rust red
        > feathers blew in the wind, scattering across the yard.
        > "Three babies, two sections of land, a broken down tractor and a load of debts!"
        > Her favorite hound slunk away and hid.
        > "Will, you're up there, I know you are, and you're laughing at me!" Even now,
        > after four years, Mary Jo could occasionally hear his laughter in the flutter of
        > leaves, or a whisper in the wind. She looked up again and shrugged her
        > shoulders. I'm doing the best I can, babe, but its hard work, and I am so tired,
        > and half the time I have no idea of what I'm doing. Why, why did you leave me
        > like this?"
        > She had asked him that a thousand times. There was never an answer. He and his
        > dad had been out mending fences that day, the day the big storm came up. His mom
        > had run outside to take laundry off the line. Mary Jo grabbed the babies and
        > took little Billy by the hand and sheltered them in the cellar. When the winds
        > died down and the storm had passed, she and the children were alone in the
        > world. Since that day, her sorrow had not lessened, but on days like this, she
        > almost resented that they were beyond caring about her problems. She needed her
        > husband, and the children sure needed their daddy.
        > Mary Jo kept plucking the chicken and voicing her frustration as the sky grew
        > darker. She looked across the fields toward the western horizon, trying to
        > assess how much time she would have before the rain would come. Storms could be
        > sudden and fierce in Nebraska. When the children were away, she spent as little
        > time as possible in the cellar. She liked being outside and hated it when the
        > weather chased her into her hole in the ground. It only reminded her that in
        > four years she had failed to rebuild the house. Money was tight and no banker
        > would lend a young widow money to rebuild. They didnt care that she worked
        > harder than any man in the county or that she always paid her bills on time.
        > They just wondered why she didn't find herself a new man.
        > There was something slightly ridiculous about cooking supper in an iron pot in a
        > fireplace open to the elements. The walls were gone, but the masonry was sound,
        > and Mary Jo had become accustomed to roughing it. She was a mile from her
        > closest neighbor, with no electricity, no plumbing and only an old fashioned
        > pump for water. She coped with the inconvenience, and did her best, but Mary Jo
        > lived in constant fear that someone from school, or the county would discover
        > how she and the children were living and interfere. She never asked anyone for
        > help, but she was certain that some well meaning person could get her thrown off
        > her own property, or even take the children away.
        > She sat cross legged on the floor which served as a roof over their underground
        > shelter, and pealed and cut up potatoes, an onion and carrots to add to the pot.
        > Even when the first raindrops darkened the hearth stones, Mary Jo sat, watching
        > the fire and talking to Will.
        > "I know its no big thing, but it means so much to Billy. Just tell me what to
        > do. Give me some idea." Mary Jo poked at the logs with a stick, exposing the
        > glowing coals. "Halloween was always his favorite night of the year. You
        > remember, dont you? You always made it so special for him."
        > Mary Jo wiped a tear from her cheek. She folded her cardigan, making a pillow of
        > it, and curled up in front of the fire and closed her eyes. She had barely
        > drifted off to sleep when she sat bolt upright. She was not sure if it was the
        > wind blowing down the chimney, or something else, but she had felt a hot gust of
        > air against her face, and was startled. But that was not the half of it.
        > "Oh, my! She stared in disbelief. Will? "
        > There he stood, leaning against the charred mantelpiece, as she had seen him do
        > so often in life. "Will you give me no peace, woman?" There was a sparkle in his
        > eye and a grin on his face.
        > Mary Jo stood and extended her hand to touch his sleeve. "You're real," she
        > stammered.
        > He took her hand and pressed it to his lips. The gentle kiss was so real that
        > she had no doubt. He was as substantial as he had ever been in life. She reached
        > up and touched his cheek, felt the warmth of his skin, then pressed her face to
        > his chest. He held her close, as he had always done and she listened to the beat
        > of his heart. It was as strong and reassuring as she remembered.
        > She looked up at him and began to speak, but he placed a finger to her lips and
        > quieted her. Until midnight. He had answered the question she had not yet asked.
        > "The children! "
        > "Only you can see me, darling. Theres nothing to worry about, nothing to be
        > explained. "
        > "Will, how....I mean, why?"
        > Will brushed a strand of dark hair from her face and caressed her cheek. It was
        > a familiar gesture. "I am here because you asked me, dear, and the how of it is
        > nothing strange. It is All Hallows Eve, the one night of the year when we are
        > free to, well, free to be here."
        > The storm had passed to the North and what little rain there was had stopped,
        > but the sun was well to the West, and Mary Jo didn't know quite what to do.
        > "When do you expect them?" It was a little unsettling to have him know what she
        > was thinking before she said anything, but she remembered that it was often that
        > way before.
        > "I should go get them now. Its about that time."
        > "I'll go with you, hun. Just act natural. They wont know a thing."
        > "Will?" Mary Jo looked into the eyes she never expected to see again in this
        > lifetime and smiled. "Can you help me? Can you do something to make this night
        > special for the children? I don't even have bread, much less candy for the
        > children. This won't be much of a Halloween for them."
        > "Trust me, babe. Just leave it to me." The ghost of Will Bouton put his arm
        > across her shoulders and the two of them walked down the lane, to watch for the
        > school bus. By the time they reached the gravel road, he had given her
        > instructions and she knew just what he wanted her to do.
        > Supper was solemn occasion. Mary Jo, Katy, Kelly and Billy sat at the little
        > table in the cellar and ate by candlelight. It was not for effect, or something
        > special for Halloween. It was their usual practice since they lacked electricity
        > and Mary Jo was afraid to chance the hazard of kerosene lamps. No one questioned
        > the presence of a fifth chair at the table. If the children noticed Mary Jo
        > glance in the direction of the chair, they did not say so.
        > When the dishes were cleared away, Mary Jo read them a story. The Legend of
        > Sleepy Hollow, had been a tradition from her childhood. She took her time, as
        > Will had instructed, and it was not until she heard a little knock from above
        > that she announced that the time had come for their surprise.
        > "Follow me, and be very quiet, ok? "
        > Even Billy looked excited, and that warmed Mary Jo's heart. She ascended the
        > cellar stairs, opened the door at the top, and led the children along a path, to
        > the rear pasture and the little hollow where Bouton Creek wound though a small
        > meadow. As they approached, they noticed the smell of burning wood and saw a
        > glow, which presently proved to be a small bonfire.
        > There were big shocks of corn, bound in the old fashioned way. In firelight,
        > they appeared to be Indian teepees. Around the fire, there were curious figures,
        > not quite life size. Had the children been closer, they might have seen that
        > they were made of cornstalks and husks, but at a distance, they looked for all
        > the world like Indians, smoking pipes. Rust red feather war bonnets completed
        > the illusion.
        > Mary Jo sat the children on a log above the little meadow, and wrapped a blanket
        > around their shoulders. They huddled together and watched in wonder as the
        > spirits of Indians who once lived on the Nebraska prairie appeared to dance
        > around the fire to the music of drums. Coyotes howled in the distance and the
        > hoot of a lone owl added to the strange spectacle. The children were wide-eyed
        > with the wonder of it.
        > When the fire finally burned out and the voices faded, Mary Jo led her sleepy
        > children back to their home. It had been a long day for all of them. She tucked
        > the twins into their beds and kissed them goodnight, then looked up and smiled.
        > Katy and Kelly were so sleepy, they did not notice that she exchanged glances
        > with someone only she could see. Billy had slipped under his covers, and Mary Jo
        > saw him reach for the small framed photograph on the table beside his bed. It
        > was a picture of the family, taken nearly five years before, when the twins were
        > still babies. His father held Billy on his lap. Mary Jo never saw Billy do it
        > before, but he kissed the picture and carefully placed it back on the table.
        > "Ma, that was the most incredible Halloween ever. I will never forget it "
        > "Me neither, honey. Me neither. "
        > Billy was still smiling when he closed his eyes. For the first time in a long
        > while, he looked like the sweet little eight year old boy he was. He was happy.
        > Will took Mary Jo's hand and led her upstairs and outside. Long into the night,
        > they sat together in front of the outdoor fireplace in what used to be their
        > living room. They talked and laughed, and even shed a tear or two. Mary Jo
        > closed her eyes, content in his sweet embrace. The last thing she heard before
        > she fell asleep sounded like the wind blowing through the cottonwood tree, but
        > she was certain she heard, "Same time next year. I promise."

      • Wings081
        Dear Gerry Congratulations on your first reading. I m sure I don t need to tell you this but I always advise poets and writers about to embark upon their first
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 4, 2011
          Dear Gerry
          Congratulations on your first reading.
          I'm sure I don't need to tell you this but I always advise poets and writers about to embark upon their first public oration, to take particular note of the punctuation. Pause at the commas and semi-colons. Stop awhile at the full stop (period) and take a deep breath. This will allow your audience to absorb your words and hopefully teeter on the edge of their seats in anticipation of further words of wisdom. Also, if you are reading from notes, print the text at least font 16 or more if you suffer macular degeneration or other visual incapacity.
          Of course you can use a little subterfuge such as I resorted to some years ago.
          I joined an evening creative writers group at our local senior school for children. The tutor was a very knowledgeable, slightly sunburned gentleman, (my euphemism for coloured) who very soon got the measure of my peculiarities.
          We met weekly and at the end of each session he would give us an exercise to be presented the following week.
          One challenge was for the ladies to write a love story from the male POV and men to write from the ladies POV.
          Right up my street and I turned in a real scorcher, hoping to embarrass the ladies.(as is my wont).
          Came the time to read and both genders turned in some admirable compositions.
          Time was advancing to end the session and our tutor called time. The girls weren't having it and clamoured to hear my paltry effort.
          "OK" moaned our tutor "let's hear it then" to which I replied, with tongue in cheek: "I've got a tickle in my throat, would you do the honours for me"
          So he took my manuscript and proceeded for a while until he suddenly stopped and said: "You may not believe this but we do blush under this colour".
          There was one more story to be read by an elderly lady but she declined to read saying "You surely can't expect me to follow that one".
          I should point out here that I do know how far to titillate a female appetite for scandal within the bounds of propriety. Mickey Spillane I aint. Which is why I am not a millionaire best selling author.
          One last piece of advice Gerry: Never feel embarrassed standing in front of an audience. You are the boss and but for the odd heckler, the floor is yours.
          The time worn advice from the masters is: Imagine your audience are naked and you are the only person with clothes to cover your modesty.
          Tried that but I tended to stare too long at that pretty young filly in the back row. The one with the cleavage and skirt right up to her pelvic region.
          Time to go.
          Keep posting
          As always
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