This is a tiny little free subscription ezine for friends of The
Grove - it is by request only. In other words, we NEVER
arbitrarily add email addresses. We also NEVER sell or share
email addresses with anyone else, for any reason at any time. We hate SPAM as much as you do!
Hello, everyone! I'm still in a turkey stupor - we had an incredible Thanksgiving, complete with all the trimmings and a turkey (a little larger than we expected, but more about that later). We had family visiting to help us celebrate the holiday, have some wonderful family time, and start decorating The Grove for Christmas.
On the Monday before Thanksgiving, my wife and I had gone in different directions to try to get all of the shopping done - while she was at Wal Mart, I hit Kroger for groceries. One of the items on my list was the main ingredient for Thanksgiving dinner... the turkey. It turned out that there was a refrigerated trough of turkeys at the store, and as I pushed the buggy up to it, there seemed to be a crowd of ladies around one end. Wanting to avoid the crowd, I was sifting through the Butterballs for a 16-pounder, when I happened to hear some of the people at the end of the freezer case talking. They were commiserating over the fact that the Jennie-O turkeys didn't have anything below 20 pounds. Wanting to be helpful, I spoke up and said, "Hey, there are several smaller ones down here!" They all looked at me like I was crazy, and one of them finally said, "Maybe so, but all the other turkeys are a dollar-twenty-five a pound, and today-only, Jennie-O's are on for forty-eight cents a pound!" It didn't take me long to do the math... I could get a sixteen pound Butterball for twenty bucks or so, or a twenty pound Jennie-O for $9.60... Helllloooooo, Jennie-O! We ate turkey for days, and days, and days, and...
I do want to mention something very serious, and that is the topic of safe computing. I've always used virus protection software on my computers, but I have to admit that I did something really, really stupid this month. In my business, I have computers that are networked to other folks' computers so that we can share files, pass around information, etc. My world also relies heavily on emails. I've always insisted that the people I work with have a strong anti-virus program (Norton, McAfee, etc.), an anti-malware program like Malwarebytes, and so forth. That way when we're all networked and interacting together, everyone is safe (insert your own humorous, yet off-color joke here). Anyway, I got a computer some time ago that had a free trial of Norton Anti-Virus, and as the months ticked by, the package was set to expire, which it did. I kept thinking, "Okay, I'll get around to setting up the protection." I waited at least a month or so, and one evening (I work most evenings as well as days) the computer suddenly went berserk, with programs shutting down, strange windows popping up, and I quickly turned the computer off. When I brought it back up I downloaded and installed Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware software (www.malwarebytes.org), then ran it. It found MANY offending programs that had secreted their way onto my computer. Once those were cleaned, I renewed Norton Anti-Virus, and ran a full scan. When my computer had been cleaned and was now protected, I felt a lot safer. I tell you this tale because I still have programs that the viruses and malware wiped off of my computer that I have to restore - and in some cases, re-purchase. There are some nasty bugs out there, launched by evil, unscrupulous people. As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus would say, "Let's be careful out there..." (wow, does that date me or what)
A team from the Canadian company Cineflix Productions came to The Grove this month to film an episode of William Shatner's Weird or What? They were flying around the continent working on four different episodes at the same time, going from Mexico City, to Dallas, to Jefferson, and then off to Albuquerque, San Jose and Canada. The front parlor of the house was turned into a studio for the morning - in the photo, you can see the cameraman on the landing of the staircase, the director standing in a chair (to give me a place to look during the interview), and the sound guy over under the stairs in the Dining Room. They were at The Grove for about three hours, all for a segment that will last maybe ten minutes. It was a lot of fun, though, and very different from my average day. Before the crew left for their next destination we all went to Riverport Barbecue to give them a taste of real Texas brisket. The food blew them away - and I have to admit, Riverport makes some of the best barbecue I've ever tasted. They took photos of the restaurant's smoker, of their meals, with the staff, etc. They bought tee shirts and met the owner, and were even treated to some bonus ribs and those delicious sweet potato fries. I have a feeling that Riverport Barbecue is going to be very famous in Canada here in a week or so.
The holiday season officially kicked off in Jefferson on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the trees in the Enchanted Forest were lighted. It's always a big ceremony, where townsfolk converge on the park and surround the gazebo - Christmas carols are sung, the mayor addresses the crowd, and Santa arrives on a city fire engine. A child who is the winner of a coloring contest gets to throw the giant electrical switch that lights the forest, and it's breathtaking. A real slice of Americana right here in Jefferson. The Enchanted Forest has a hundred Christmas trees that are adopted by individual families and businesses, all decorated and lit uniquely - it's a beautiful sight!
All of the shops in Jefferson are transitioning from fall/Thanksgiving/Halloween to Christmas, and as we were walking into a store a few days ago there was a pile of Halloween decorations at bargain-basement prices. On top was a Friday-the-13th Jason Mask for the mere price of twenty-five cents. How could I pass that up? (I own the entire Friday the 13th movie series on DVD, including the special editions) My wife looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "What in the world are you going to do with that?" To be honest, I don't know. Maybe I'll put it up in my office, or perhaps I'll use it for something more practical. After all, a decade ago I started a Friday-the-13th Fan Fiction novel, which means that it's purely a labor of love since you're writing with other people's characters and you're not allowed to sell the work. Since it's just a fun thing, every couple of years I go back to it and write a little more, and it's dangerously close to being finished - maybe I'll figure out some way to use it in conjunction with that. Meanwhile, I have my very own Jason-Friday-the-13th mask. How great is that.
I'd be remiss if I were talking about Jefferson and didn't mention the fact that the annual Candlelight Tour of Homes® has started for 2011. You may remember that The Grove was on last year, which means that for the years to come we'll be volunteering at homes to pay back everyone who helped us out. The first night of Candlelight I was working on the front porch of the Woods-Moore home, a beautiful place that Dr. Woods built back in 1945 during WWII. He couldn't get the materials for the house because everything was being rationed. In a stroke of genius, he located and purchased several old country barns built out of solid hardwood - he had them disassembled, brought into town, and the lumber was used to build the home for his family... quite a cool place! As the line was out front waiting their turn to go inside for the tour, the Jefferson Elementary School Choir stopped by - decked out in Santa caps - to serenade us with Christmas carols. It was a wonderful evening.
Throughout the year you've been reading about The Grove's time capsule project. Now that we're down to the wire with entombing it, well, we have a small problem. Last GroveZine I showed a photo of the wooden "cage" that would be the skeleton of the column that protects the capsule for the next one hundred years. It's been stored safely on the back porch of The Grove while we're waiting for the pedestal foundation to be poured... and that's where our cat Daphne discovered it. Daphne showed up about five years ago, and more or less adopted The Grove as her home. She is freaked out by the bassets so she rarely comes inside, and we noticed that she was sleeping in the bottom of the column skeleton. I eventually threw a towel in the bottom of it for her to curl up in, and when it got colder, I hung a light in the top to keep her warm. A few days later I found some scraps to make walls out of, and well, now it's become a Daphne-house - our time capsule column has been kidnapped by our cat. I guess that I'm going to have to build her a "cat house" that's very similar, because here very soon we're going to have to take the time capsule column back for its original purpose!
For this story, the names (and pillow) have been changed to protect the... well... the folks who don't want their home being outed as haunted in the GroveZine! That said, we have very dear friends that we see several times a week - stopping by their home for a visit or for dinner, but while we're there if my wife or I need to use the restroom, we'd go to the guest bath, which is off the guest bedroom. For some time both of us noticed that the monogram pillow on the guestroom bed was inverted. Each of us independently would flip it over, assuming that whoever stayed there last simply wasn't paying attention. At some point we realized that we were there more than any other guests, and so the fact that the pillow was continually flipped didn't make sense. When we asked, the owners of the house told us that they would correct the pillow as well, but the next time they saw it, it would be inverted. Whatever apparition lurks in that room seems to be intent on turning it over, for whatever reason. Spirits abound at the old homes in Jefferson...
But back at The Grove, I've always found the occasionally-intense energy of the house to be peaceful, even warm, and it makes me feel right at home. Some people who are extremely sensitive to the supernatural have found the level of energy in the house a bit shocking, though. For example, in the first year when we were working on the house, my wife, myself, and my folks were sitting out on the steps eating burgers and taking a lunch break. We saw a man walking up Main Street, and he turned onto Moseley Street and finally stopped in front of The Grove. He came halfway up the walk, stopped, looked up at the house and said, "I was here a year ago and the house had a bad feeling to it... I just had to come back and see if still felt that way." He turned and was walking away, when he looked back and said, "I'm a pastor, and I can tell you that this place is evil." We just looked at each other and laughed. In retrospect, I think that he was just sensitive to the energy of the place - without realizing it - and the only way that he could deal with it was describing it as "evil." Years later when The Grove was on the Candlelight Tour of Homes, one group was up on the front porch and I was giving them the history of the house. As I opened the door to let them in, one of the ladies said, "I can't go in there. I'll wait for you outside." She then turned and stood out in the street, away from the house. Again, it was seemingly someone feeling the energy of the house, and not knowing how to deal with it. Jumping forward to this past month, we had a tour with quite a few people on it, and we'd been in the parlor for only a few moments when one of the ladies stepped away, opened the front door, and went outside. This happens occasionally, like when someone has their phone on vibrate and they receive a call. By the time we were in the dining room, she came back in. A few minutes later, and she was leaving again. This happened a couple of times, until she finally remained outside. At the end of the tour we went out front, and the lady told me that she felt strange - sick, or queasy in the house. She would walk outside and would suddenly be fine, then come back inside and feel queasy again. In the end, it was easier just to stay outside. I believe that some people don't realize that they have such a sensitivity to the supernatural, and when they're in a place as active as The Grove, they don't know how to react. Of course, we don't like to see anyone freaked out during the tour, but sometimes that happens.
There are spirits at The Grove that manifest in scents, and one of them showed up on another tour this month. The two most common odors are a sweet-smelling pipe tobacco, and body odor. The body odor doesn't smell like someone who's been out mowing the yard and has come in hot and sweaty - instead, it's the scent of someone who hasn't bathed in quite a while. My favorite story about the body smell comes from a friend of The Grove, who was helping to docent when the house was on the Candlelight Tour of Homes (she tells the story much better than I can). Anyway, she was in the dining room, and between groups she noticed a bad smell in the room. Clearly it wasn't her, but it was so strong that she started wondering if it were somehow her dress - she even had the docent from the parlor come over to sniff her dress just to make sure! On a tour this month, though, the tobacco smell manifested again. The group had moved from the dining room into the game room, and a lady stopped me and asked if anyone could smell the sweet scent in the doorway - she couldn't smell it in the dining room, or in the game room, just in the doorway. Several people pointed out that there was a pumpkin-flavored candle burning in the room, so the subject was more or less dropped. After the tour, the lady told me that she'd gone over and sniffed the candle, and that wasn't what she had smelled - to her, it was the scent of sweet tobacco, like a cigar or pipe. Certainly not the first time that we've experienced that in The Grove.
I received an email this month from a new GroveZine subscriber who was on the tour one Saturday. When he was going back through the photos that he took with his iPhone, he noticed something odd in the "active" corner of the front parlor... a circular purple haze, with highlights of purple light. We do occasionally see reflections in some of the photos that people send in, but in all these years I've never seen one like this. I'm not saying that it's NOT a reflection, only that I'm having trouble making it out to be one. There are three lamps in the photo, all with individual points of light (single bulbs). The chandelier in the room would be over the photographer's left shoulder, and therefore not in the lens. Since I worked at a photography studio for a few years when I was in college, I've seen many reflections, and would expect them to be the color of the original source... so why is this ring of mist and lights purple? And what about the purple mist connecting the highlights? I don't know, but with the gracious permission of the photographer and friend of The Grove, wanted to pass it on for you to see. As Rod Serling would have said, "Submitted for your approval..."
And with that, I'll say thank you so much for reading the GroveZine, and for being a part of it. I have something special planned for the December 2011 GroveZine, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, the holiday season is coming up, and I wish you the absolute best one that you and your loved ones have ever had, whether you're celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, or whatever. Give thanks, enjoy friends and family, and prepare for an incredible 2012.
Last month I mentioned a book that's just hit the shelves, a supernatural thriller that is simply incredible - The Sounding. It's one of the most riveting, exciting books that I've read in a while, and it is getting some wonderful reviews. The author, Carrie Salo, is something like a cross between Dan Brown and Frank Peretti... and WOW can she hold you on the edge of your seat. As I said last GroveZine, there's one scene in The Sounding that takes place in the stacks of a college library, and it could be the most suspenseful scene that I've ever read. Hitchcock would be proud. Meanwhile, this is a book that everyone is going to be talking about in a few months, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see it on the big screen. You have to check out a quick summary of the story - it's incredible! Click to visit the author's website... including a video trailer for the book!. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for someone who loves to read (even yourself), this is it!
And speaking of books, If you'd like to check any of mine, you can find them at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon.com, or at The Grove's website if you'd like to order a signed copy of anything.
If you missed any issues of the GroveZine, you can find them at the GroveZine Archives.
12/08-10/2011 - 29th Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
12/05/2011 - Jefferson's Old Fashioned Christmas Parade
12/31/2011 - Jefferson Carnegie Library New Year's Eve Dance
02/04/2012 - Krewe of Hebe "Queen Mab Ball"
02/17-19/2012 - Mardi Gras Upriver
04/07/2012 - Jefferson's City Wide Rummage Sale
04/21/2012 - Paws on the Bayou
04/20-22/2012 - Outlaw Nationals Classic & Antique Car Show
04/20-22/2012 - 10th Annual Diamond Don's National Vintage Motocross
05/03-06/2012 - Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Play
05/04-06/2012 - Battle of Port Jefferson Civil War Re-enactment
05/04-06/2012 - 65th Annual Historic Home Tours & Spring Festival
05/26/2012 - Cypress River Airport Fly-In
06/01-02/2012 - 2nd Annual Big Cypress Corvette Classic
07/04/2012 - "Jefferson Salutes America" 4th of July Celebration
07/15/2012 - Krewe of Hebe "Jefferson Heritage Triathlon
10/06/2012 - Jefferson's City Wide Rummage Sale
10/12-14/2012 - 15th Annual Boo Run Benefit
10/21/2012 - Taste of Jefferson
10/25-27/2012 - Marion County Fair
10/27/2012 - Krewe of Hebe & Auntie Skinner's "Monster Bash"
11/09-10/2012 - Trammel's Trace Rendezvous
11/23/2012 - Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony @ Lion's Park
11/29-30/2012 - 30th Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
12/01,06-08/2012 - 30th Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
12/03/2012 - Jefferson's Old Fashioned Christmas Parade
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