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Another year in the history book! Can you believe how fast 2007 zipped by? Well, it seemed to for us, anyway. As we were getting the Christmas decorations down a month or so ago, I remember thinking, "I just put these back up in the attic." Well, as I was putting boxes back up there today, all I could think was that I'll be hauling them down again before I know it. But I don't want to rush things - we have an entire year of 2008 to look forward to. In these last few moments of '07, though, let me say Happy New Year to you and yours from The Grove!
Another HGTV Update! Okay, last ezine I reported that we'd received an email from the HGTV show "If Walls Could Talk" saying that The Grove would be on the show airing 12/31/07. Well, a couple of weeks ago we got a phone call telling us that it will be on 1/7/2008, at 5:30 PM Central time. I guess that at this point, we're just going to have the VCR rolling at 5:30 on every Monday in January until we see the episode!
If you've been on the tour in the last few years, you've no doubt heard me talk about a movie that we hoped would be filming in Jefferson. Denzel Washington was the director, and he even visited our city to check it out. Unfortunately, they chose another place to film. Still, it's interesting because the university that they portray in the film is the place where the Young sisters whose family bought The Grove in 1885, Louise and Mable, got their college degrees. I haven't seen the movie yet, but we're going to try to catch it in the next week or so.
The shopping experience Jefferson continues to get better and better - and the latest store to go in has me excited. It's going to be a hobby shop that focuses on trains, with a big model train set-up and all kinds of related goodies. Model trains seem to bring out the kid in every guy that I know, so I'm sure that it's going to be a popular place. Whenever I go shopping downtown with Tami, I'm sure that I'll be saying, "Come pick me up at the train store when you're through!"
Like I mentioned last month, the next big event in Jefferson is the Quilt Show, which takes place January 25th through the 27th. All the information on the show is at jeffersonquiltshow.com. I'm not a quilt person (except for snuggling down under one on a cold winter night), but I still enjoy seeing all the craftsmanship that goes into the ones displayed at the show. They are truly amazing.
This is probably one of the most interesting things that I've had to happen at the house for a while. I've mentioned before how much I love sitting out on the front porch in the rocking chair - early in the morning with a cup of hot coffee, or late in the evening with a glass of wine, it's the most relaxing place in the house. On the tour, I often joke that after I die, that's where I'm coming back to haunt; whoever owns the house 100 years from now will talk about the "rocking chair ghost", and how the chair rocks by itself and there's the smell of fresh coffee in the air. Well, on the 15th we had just finished a tour. Some of the folks had already gone outside, while a few more were still in the parlor talking to me. A girl suddenly dashed inside and said, "The rocking chair was rocking by itself!" As rational adults, we all assured here that it was simply the wind, because a storm had been brewing all afternoon. I walked everyone outside, and a lady from a family who was already out on the walk in front of the house told me that it wasn't the wind. She said that she'd looked up and seen the chair rocking deeply back and forth, as if someone was sitting in it. When the girl saw it and ran inside to tell us, the woman said that the chair stopped abruptly; it didn't slowly die down, it simply stopped. We stood there speculating for a few minutes, and as the wind gusted even higher, I notice that the chair wasn't affected at all... there was no movement. The lady pointed out that the wind was blowing harder than it had been before. I had no explanation; in fact, throughout the evening I kept walking out onto the porch to take a look at the chair, and no matter how high or low the wind level was, it never moved. Not at all. If you recall, I had a similar story about the rocking chair in the parlor from a month or so ago. Who knows, maybe there's a spirit here that likes rocking chairs as much as I do, and it may be that once I've passed on and I decide to come back and visit The Grove, I'll have to take turns with another spirit in the rocking chair on the front porch!
As much as I love telling about the things that happen to us around the house, I also enjoy relating things that happened before we bought the place. For example, we had a fellow on the tour said his ex-wife was dining at The Grove back when it was a restaurant during the early 1990s, and while she was eating, felt a hand rest on her shoulder. Thinking that it must be the waitress coming to check on them, she looked back, but no one was there. I had another treat this month, though. After Miss Louise Young passed away in 1983, The Grove was purchased by a couple whose name was "Grove" - he was a retired military chaplain, but that's about all we knew. Patrick Hopkins, the gentleman who restored the house in 1990 and opened the restaurant here, said that when he was buying the house from Mrs. Grove, she pulled him aside and said something like, "Before we sign the papers, I feel like I have to tell you that the house is haunted." Well, just a week or so ago I ran into a lady who knew the Groves, and in fact her parents were great friends of theirs. She said that her mother told her about the time when she was helping Mrs. Grove pack up the house, and in the course of conversation, Mrs. Grove said, "You know, I wouldn't have believed it before buying the house, but there are a lot of strange things that happen here." We also found out that Mr. Grove pastored the First United Methodist Church in Mooringsport, Louisiana before purchasing this house, but he took ill and passed away before moving here. Those are all just very interesting links in the history of The Grove.
Finally, I wanted to just round out the year by recalling some of our favorite occurrences in 2007. While there were a lot of things that we could count among the best of 2007, here are our picks...
Favorite Haunted Happening On The Tour: You may remember the story from March 2007 about a couple on the tour that was standing in front of the television in the "new room". The lady jumped and squealed, and as I later found out, someone had been playing with her hair for a couple of minutes. I can just imagine that she was thinking, "Aw, isn't my husband being romantic?" When she turned to smile at him, though, he was taking a photo with both hands on the camera, and no one else was near her. It was just a visit from that flirtatious spirit in the den, I suppose.
Funniest Ghostly Event With Us: If you've been reading the GroveZine all year, you remember that I was in the bathroom after a shower back in January 2007, and heard footsteps coming through the center stairwell. One of our bassets Lily was sitting on the bed and heard them as well, because she turned to look in that direction. Since I knew that Tami was at school teaching, all I could think was that a visitor to town had let themselves in and was walking into our bedroom, probably with camera in hand. Since the last thing that anyone wants to see on the internet is me sans clothes, I started yelling for the person to stop and was grabbing towels in a frenzy. The footsteps did stop, but when I'd covered up and stepped out of the bathroom, no one was there. In fact, all the doors were locked and the house was empty. On that occasion, I fussed at The Grove's ghosts for startling me that way.
Favorite Ghostly Event With Us: There are supernatural events that we can't explain. In January, for example our friend Renee was dog-sitting here at The Grove, and one evening she heard a loud "thump" in the kitchen. She went inside, and saw that a ceramic stein had fallen down from the top of the cabinets to the floor, but was not harmed in any way. It was as if someone had set it down there. Now, it's an eight foot drop, and should have shattered anything falling from that height. We forgot about it until June, when during a tour, that same stein came down in a delicate arc onto the floor in front of everyone there. It wasn't harmed this time, either, but it was as if someone was picking it up and setting it quickly on the floor. The stein still sits on top of the pantry, and it hasn't moved since... but we do keep an eye on it.
Favorite Non-Grove Ghost Story in Jefferson: There were a lot to choose from, and I greatly appreciate everyone who shared their Jefferson ghost stories with us, but for this particular end-of-year item, it has to be the Delta Street Inn and their shaking bed. Back in October, a guest was lying in bed reading a book. Suddenly, the bed began to shake. Her first thought was that it had one of those "magic fingers" features like hotels had in the 60s and 70s where you'd put in a quarter and it would vibrate for twenty minutes. After sitting there a minute, she realized it wasn't quite like that, though - it was more centered around the area near her calves. The shaking was enough that she could see the flowered bedspread visibly moving. When Ms. Hamilton got out of bed, the floor was solid and still. Not knowing what else to do, she climbed back in bed, and the motion continued for another 15 minutes before stopping. Masha told me that she found it extremely interesting, and even though she could find no explanation, it wasn't a frightening experience at all!
Well, that's the GroveZine for 2007 - I'll talk to you on the other side of New Year's Eve!
Thanks for continuing to read the GroveZine, and for all the kind words about it throughout the year. I hope that your holiday season was wonderful, and that 2008 will be a happy, healthy, and prosperous year for you and all your loved ones.
If you'd like to check any of my books on ghosts and the supernatural, you can find them at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon.com, or
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