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, great to talk to you again - thanks so much for reading the GroveZine! The heat of summer has come in with a vengeance - although we've received a little more rain through the first part of the summer than we did last year, the hot weather has finally arrived and there's not a chance of rain in sight. Marion County has just instituted a burn-ban so that we can hopefully avoid some of the devastating fires that plagued us last year. God bless our volunteer fireman, but I sincerely hope that they're much less busy this year.
I've always wondered what the geographic spread was where the GroveZine readers live, and thanks to ClustrMaps.com, well, here's a map. Don't worry, it doesn't pinpoint anyone's exact location - it just gives an approximation. There's a dot for every reader, though, and the bigger the dot, the more people it represents. There are dots from Alaska over to India, and the southern tip of Africa up to the Baltic countries.
With over a thousand readers, we're a group that spans not only countries, but continents as well. There are GroveZine readers on every continent but Antarctica - I wish that I could get one of those people at that South Pole Research Station to subscribe, just to make the globe complete.
Back in January I reported in the GroveZine that our local restaurant Riverport Barbecue had burned. Over the last few months I've given a progress update or so, but today I'm delighted to report that Joseph's Riverport Barbecue is now open and back in action. I know that to many, a trip to Jefferson isn't complete without a plate of their brisket or rack of ribs, so you can look forward to that once again. They rebuilt literally from a concrete slab, but the restaurant looks very reminiscent of the original place. I was talking to Stephen Joseph, the owner, a week ago and he was saying how much he appreciated everyone's support. Actually, I'd been without his barbecue for five months or more, so I told him that I'd had his barbecue for four of the last seven days!
A Jefferson Mystery - Okay, I really, really love this story. I was doing a tour of The Grove a couple of weeks ago, and someone asked me what I knew about the mystery of the ghost-walk lantern in a window on the top floor of the museum. Since I'd never heard of this before, I asked the person what in the world he was talking about. They said that while waiting for the Jefferson Ghost Walk to begin, someone was talking about the fact that one of lanterns that Jodi carries on the Ghost Walk had appeared on the ledge of a top floor window, which the person assured me was a floor that was no longer used... which made the mystery even more interesting. After the tour, I went downtown and looked up at the top windows of the museum - and sure enough, there was a lantern sitting way up there. You can see it in this photo that I took.
The Mystery Solved - I was so curious about this that I couldn't stand it. I didn't necessarily think that it was any supernatural activity or anything like that - instead I was wondering whether someone from the museum could have gone up to the attic, or whatever top floor that is, and opened the window and set a lantern outside as a joke. I also wondered if when work was being done on the museum the last time, a workman with a sense of humor could have placed it up there as a mystery to everyone else. When Monday morning came, I went to the museum to visit with Anita, the curator and manager. I told her what I'd heard, and she looked astonished and said, "You must be kidding!" She followed me outside, and just as we turned into the courtyard between the museum and Excelsior House, Anita stopped. "Oh, I'll bet you're talking about our alarm siren!" Sure enough, when she looked up and saw it, she confirmed that's what it was. You can see from this zoomed-in photo that it is indeed a square speaker with a round top, that when viewed from afar, looks a lot like one of the lanterns used on the Ghost Walk! Still, I guess that it does make for a wonderful Jefferson story...
And speaking of the Jefferson Historical Museum, in August they're sponsoring the first annual Jefferson Civil War Symposium. If you enjoy Civil War History, this is something that you will love. A wonderful slate of speakers has been lined up to last all day long, and you're sure to hear some fascinating stories and facts from the War Between the States. Speakers include Dr. Richard McCaslin from the University of North Texas, a nominee for a Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Slatten Award and ACWRT Laney Prize (to name a few of his awards), author and journalist John C. Waugh whose works include Reelecting Lincoln: The Battle for the 1864 Presidency, author/editor James Henry Davis who wrote The Cypress Rangers in the Civil War, premier Jefferson historian John Nance who has several decades of East Texas research under his belt (and is one of the best authorities on the subject that I know, plus he owns Turning Basis River Tours here in town), and I'll even be speaking about Jefferson during the Civil War at the end of the day. Click on the poster for more information about this incredible day.
If your interests run more to the paranormal than the historical, then there's another conference that you may want to consider - the East Texas Ghost Con 2012! Speaking that day will be Dakota Lawrence, a gifted Clairvoyant Medium and Psychic Paranormal Investigator; The Klinge Brothers from Everyday Paranormal; Larry Flaxman, bestselling author and founder of ARPAST; Martin Bravo, Founder of Bravo Paranormal in McKinney, TX; Jennifer Broussard, the director of Louisiana Spirits; Bayou Paranormal, Mike McCaskill, Lead Investigator/Sensitive for Unknown Paranormal in Longview, TX. I'll be there as well, so I hope to see you at the conference. Click on the icon/photo for more information.
The first thing that I wanted to do was pass a link on to you for a PBS show that filmed here in Jefferson. The show is an Emmy-winning production called The Daytripper with Chet Garner, and they billed the episode as, "Chet heads into the swamps of northeast Texas to explore the culture of this bustling port city and to see the only natural lake in Texas." When they first contacted us, they had one strange request - Chet said that he always portrays the characters in the show, men and women, and he wanted to do a re-enactment of our Lady in White. Our immediate concern was that a joke would be made of The Grove or the spirits here, but he assured me that any laughter would be aimed at him, and not the house. Sure enough, they pulled off a wonderful show. They were friendly, delightful people to work with, and we couldn't be more pleased with the result. It's no wonder that their show is so popular! To watch it, click on this link.
Ah, time for a few ghost stories from The Grove! The first thing that I wanted to mention is a follow-up from last month. You may remember that during a tour while we were in the kitchen, a small Coca-Cola bottle lamp turned off, then after a few moments turned back on, then turned off again, and finally turned back on (you can read about it in the GroveZine archives). Leaving the room I checked to see if the bulb was loose, which it wasn't, so I just smiled and figured that some supernatural presence was there in the room during the tour. It's a lamp that we turn on every single day, and Now that a month has gone by, I find it incredibly interesting that there has not been a single odd thing happen with the lamp, day in and day out, for months before and a month after, except for that brief five minutes during the tour last month. Something very strange was going on that day, and I can certainly write off any natural explanations - a short in the wiring, a problem with the bulb, anything like that would have shown up since... but it hasn't.
If you've been reading the GroveZine for a while, or have taken the tour of The Grove, then you've heard about our lady in the parlor. Her presence is felt in one particular corner, and I tell people that the best way I can describe it when she's there is that it feels like there's a cloud of "heavy air" there. It's often cooler than the rest of the room, and there's a very distinct feeling of "someone's watching me... someone's here." It probably happens as often as anything else in the house. People with a sensitivity to the supernatural pick up on her quite often, even those who aren't aware that they have that sensitivity. Case in point - on a tour this past month a couple was drifted into that corner when we first walked into the room, and the guy was a big, burly, man's man kind of fellow. I had just started the introduction to The Grove and hadn't mentioned the corner, but I saw him fidgeting, squirming, and acting like something was bothering him. He was whispering something to his wife, and I knew that he must be picking up on the presence. Sure enough, after the tour, he told me that as soon as he settled there, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, and there was a sensation that someone was standing behind him in the corner. It didn't freak him out, though, he was just very interested in this supernatural experience that he'd just had.
There's another spirit that I have to mention this month, though. A ghostly man in a black suit has been seen out in the gardens of The Grove for decades, through several owners back that we've been able to trace. He's always striding along as if going somewhere, and I first saw him a few short weeks after we bought the house ten years ago. He showed up again this month - I was pulling the car out of the driveway, which borders the garden, and I looked up to see the FedEx truck parked out front. A man was walking swiftly through the garden, so I figured that the driver had seen me and was bringing a package to me. I stopped the car, got out, looked around... and no one was there. I then saw the driver climbing out of the front of the truck back out on the street. Moments earlier I'd seen a man walking through the garden, but he disappeared as suddenly as he'd appeared. I just walked over and met the FedEx guy and took the package, never mentioning what I'd seen. He just shows up like that occasionally, at odd times and when you're least expecting him.
Okay, wrapping up this hot, summer GroveZine, I wish you all peace, love, and ice-cold air conditioning! There are GroveZine readers from around the world, though, and most of them are probably saying, "What's the problem?!?" Trust me, it's hot and humid here in Northeast Texas, and we already can't wait for fall to get here.
What have I been up to lately? Well, my latest book is simply called Jefferson, and it is from Arcadia Press' Images of America series. It's the story of Jefferson's past told in old photos and narratives, and it was a lot of fun to do... I got to go through boxes of old pictures at the museum, leaf through the archives of the local library and Garden Club, and had many individuals who would hand me a few pictures from a drawer here or a box there. One fellow even had a few in the glove box in his pickup truck. The photo on the front cover that you see here are some of the ladies of the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club just after they purchased the Excelsior House Hotel. They renovated and restored it to the beautiful place that it is today, but that's just one of the wonderful stories from Jefferson's past. When I write a book about a specific place, I always worry about how it will be received by the locals, and as a Jeffersonian myself, this was even more on my mind. I was delighted to read in a Garden Club publication that it was called, "The best-ever book about Jefferson" by Mary-Margaret Harvey, the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club Historian. Equal accolades came one morning when I discovered that one of our car batteries was dead. I went downtown to Pete Henderson's auto parts store to get a new one, and as he was ringing up my purchase, he said, "I read your new book." All I could think was "uh-oh." After pausing for a moment, he said, "You know, I read all these books on Jefferson, and most of them are full of nonsense. I couldn't find hardly anything in your book that I disagreed with." I just stood there smiling... very high praise. I may never write a book that gets a New York Times review, but with the words from Mary-Margaret and Pete Henderson, there's no need. They really made me smile.
Please allow me to say...
GroveZine Readers are AWESOME!!!
I'd like to say thank you so VERY much to everyone who's taken the tour of The Grove, and posted their review on Tripadvisor.com. We so appreciate the four-star reviews, but we absolutely LOVE the five-star reviews! so if you've taken The Grove tour, and you have a few spare moments, we'd really, really (did I say really?) appreciate you visiting TripAdvisor.com's site for The Grove, and leaving a review of your experience. You can go to TripAdvisor.com and search for "The Grove Jefferson TX," or go to The Grove's website www.thegrove-jefferson.com and scroll down to find the Trip Advisor logo-link, or simply click on the TripAdvisor logo right here in the GroveZine to take you to the page. I know that it takes a couple of minutes to do this (although not many more), but we'd sincerely appreciate it. Thanks, folks... you're so very wonderful to us.
If you missed any issues of the GroveZine, or if you'd like to find out what's been going on for the last several years here at The Grove, you can find past issues at the GroveZine Archives.
8/18/2012 - First Annual Civil War Symposium
9/14-15/2012 - Trammel's Trace Rendezvous
10/06/2012 - Jefferson's City Wide Rummage Sale
10/06/2012 - Cypress River Airport Fly-In
10/12-14/2012 - 15th Annual Boo Run Benefit
10/20/2012 - Lion's Club presents: Mustang Car Show
10/21/2012 - A 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
12/16/2012 - Uncertain Floating Christmas Parade
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