"Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow." - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Hello, and welcome to the GroveZine! April was a busy month, mainly because Jefferson's Historic Pilgrimage celebration came early this year. It actually started the last week in April. For me, that meant strapping on a sidearm, donning my black hat, and playing the part of Sheriff John Vines in the annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Play. I always enjoy it - it's on of the highlights of my year. The play went over big this year, with almost every performance selling out. If you ever get a chance to see it, be sure to do so... just get your tickets in advance!
What's been going on in Jefferson? Well, you can sum it up in one word: RAIN! I took this picture from the front porch of The Grove this month. You can see that Moseley Street is completely under water, and there's a little river going over into the lake that started forming across the street. We've had a lot of flooding in nearby Caddo Lake, and a number of people continue to lose their homes. The water got so high in town that it did damage to the new steakhouse on Austin Street, and just one block over, the Bayou Bakery has had to close for a couple of weeks because of all the water damage. Sadly, the "Battle for Port Jefferson" Civil War Re-enactment had to be cancelled because the field where it takes place was too wet, and unsafe for the soldiers and horses. Still, Pilgrimage went on, and everyone seemed to have a great time in spite of the wet conditions.
It was raining just before the Annual Pilgrimage Parade started, and we all had umbrellas to keep from getting soaked. Just as the Diamond Bessie float (it looks like a trailer, but trust me, it's a float) started moving, the rain stopped which allowed folks to come out into the street and enjoy the parade. By the way, the Jefferson High School Fightin' Bulldog Band was behind us as you can see in the photo (graciously contributed by Jim Gassaway), and they were moving faster than the float was. Considerably faster. At one point in the parade, they actually passed us. Talk about humiliation - we were motorized, but a bunch of kids on foot put us a lap down!
I saw something very cool at the Jefferson Post Office this month. In honor of Pilgrimage, they had an art show/contest for some of the schoolkids. There were paintings of some of the town's icons, street scenes, and landscapes, all displayed on the inside windows of the post office. I was mailing some packages one day, and stopped to look at the different works on display. I was suddenly blown away to see a really nice rendition of The Grove! I have no idea who painted it, but I would have loved to have purchased it from the young artist. It would now be framed and hanging on one of the walls of the house. We felt very complimented to have The Grove included in the show.
I had a realtor on the tour a week or so ago, and she asked whether the hauntings had been disclosed when we bought The Grove. The answer is that we did know about the reputation of the house, but that wasn't a factor. We simply loved the place! But how about this for a genuine real estate listing from Pennsylvania: "Slightly haunted. Nothing serious though, e.g. The sounds of phantom footsteps. A strange knocking sound followed by a very quiet (hardly noticeable, even) scream at 3:13 am, maybe once a week. Twice a week tops. And the occasional ghastly visage lurking behind you in the bathroom mirror. Even still, this occurs very rarely and only in the second floor bathroom." Now that's real disclosure. Click here to read the news story about it.
Jefferson, Texas, is a town that seems to be steeped in the supernatural. There are many old homes and structures dating back to the 1800s that have an abundance of ghost stories... sometimes places that aren't really know for them. Case in point - I was at rehearsal for the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Play at the end of the month, and my wife (who volunteers at the play) dropped by with one of her friends. The playhouse used to be a Jewish synagogue, and the attached house was the Rabbi's home. The place has a long and interesting history. Anyway, the two ladies had gone into the house to put a few things away and were in the dining room. Around the corner, they heard footsteps as someone came down the stairs. Since they thought that they were alone, the went into the entrance hall to see who it was... and it was... no one! They both heard it, though, so maybe the old Rabbi was coming downstairs to see what all was going on.
And finally, I was having a conversation about the supernatural recently, and I started talking about all the people who have said, "I don't believe in anything like that..." but then visited The Grove and came away feeling a little bit differently. My favorite memory of that kind of thing happening was with my Dad. He was very vocal about not believing in ghosts or anything supernatural, but one day long after we bought The Grove he confessed something to me. One day during the first year, we were all working in the kitchen at the back of the house (and it was in the condition that you see in the photo), and we needed a board cut. The table saw was out on the front porch at the time, so he volunteered to cut the board, and walked all the way through the house. He told me that when he got to the parlor, two people were having a conversation there - in normal voices, to the point that he thought that a couple of us had followed him up there. When he looked around and saw that no one was there, he walked all the way back to the kitchen to see if we were still back there - which we all were. He didn't say anything at the time, but finally told me that he'd heard a conversation taking place in the parlor between people who weren't there, and he didn't know how to explain it. Dad passed a few years ago, and so now I'm confident that he now knows exactly how things on the other side work. We all will at some point, of course, but for now I'm content to just speculate.
I can hardly wait to share next month's GroveZine with you... we recently went on a paranormal adventure that I really want to tell you about. While I'm not sure how legal it was, or safe it was, it was certainly exhilarating. So stay tuned, and I'll talk to you in the next GroveZine. Have a happy, blessed, and prosperous month!
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Here's what's coming up around Jefferson...
6/3-4/2016 - Corvette Car Show
7/4/2016 - Jefferson Salutes America
8/13/2016 - Jefferson Historical Museum Civil War Symposium
10/7-9/2016 - Burn Benefit Bike Rally
10/8/2016 - Carnegie Library Big Green Eggfest
10/16/2016 - Annual Taste of Jefferson
11/5/2016 - Fall History, Haunts and Legends Paranormal Conference
...and much more throughout the coming year!
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