A Family Conversation: The Cousins Discuss The Tegus, Haints, Ghouls, Cemeteries and Dead Heroes

“A Family Conversation” is a storytelling audio series that features weekly discussions between blogging cousins LadyG and Ron Brown on current events along with favorite posts from each other’s blog.

“A Family Conversation” is published on Wednesdays.

********************************************************************

This week, Ron and I discuss the post (cowritten by me and my Dad), “A Grave Encounter: The Four-legged Ghoul,” based on a real-life event that my father experienced as a child in Eufaula, AL (Circa 1955).

In this week’s conversation we discuss everything from Haints to the “Hogbear” of Cuthbert, to time travel to the origins of Memorial Day.

Trust me, if the subject pertains to the supernatural, we touched on it in some way.

Enjoy!

NOTE: Adult Language and Situations

“A Grave Encounter” Pt 1: A reading of the post and what inspired it

“A Grave Encounter” Pt 2 : What is a Haint?

Pt 3: Hobgoblins, Eliza’s grave and Fear

Pt 4: Time Loops, Different Dimensions

Pt 5: Decoration Day and the Origins of Memorial Day

***Check out this excellent article by fellow WordPress blogger, Keith Dotson, that offers a definition of the term “haint.”

Remember, you can also find Ron here under categories, “Ron’s Time Tunnel” on the right panel.

You can also find him at his blog Time Tunnel

Find my Dad’s stories, or stories about him under categories:

“True Railroad Stories”

“Daddy’s Stories”

“Greens From Daddy’s Patio”

NOTE:

In audio 4, when I was referring to Charleston, I meant to mention that I’ve noticed that lot of people enjoy visiting historic cemeteries where they like to do grave rubbings.

Of course, I got sidetracked with the ghost story!

Anyway, I saw a lot of people doing grave rubbings at one of the churches there. I cannot be bothered to google this, but I think it had something to do with the French Hugenots .

Also the area that I mentioned downtown where the African Americans were doing traditional African basket weaving was previously used to sell slaves; it is known as
The Charleston City Market: https://www.thecharlestoncitymarket.com/

The Hotel that I referenced appears to have been changed up. I believe that it is this one: https://www.belmond.com/ideas/articles/belmond-charleston-place
I think that it is this hotel because I remember the distinct double stairway with the chandelier at the entrance.

I couldn’t find much history on it though. I just remember it being quite classy.
I do not think it had the “Belmond” name when I stayed there. If anybody knows anything about it, please let me know.
Peace,
LadyG

A Grave Encounter: The Four-legged Ghoul

Grave

It was like nothing we had ever seen before.

I still remember how large he was.

His tongue was flickering in and out of his mouth.

When my grandmother saw him, she raised her garden hoe in his direction.

Unfazed, he slowly turned away and crawled behind one of the graves disappearing into the woods.

My grandmother said later she believed he was a haint.

-Daddy recalls an event that occurred around 1955 in Eufaula, Alabama.

Daddy tells the whole story

When I was little, my grandmother would often grab us kids to go with her to the cemetery to help her and her sisters clean up our family’s graves.

Usually, this would take place early on Saturday mornings.

On those days, we’d all gather our tools and walk down the railroad track to the cemetery where most of my mother’s side of the family was buried.

We’d typically be out there working all morning.

One day, when I was about ten years old, it happened!

Me, my grandmother, and aunt were clearing away some brush when we spotted the scariest looking thing we had ever seen standing on top of an adult-sized grave.

It was grayish black, and spanned, from his nose to the tip of his tail, the entire length of the slab.

The monster, who weighed more than I did then, was facing us from about two plots away–toward a branch that ran through the middle of the cemetery.

It was like nothing we had ever seen before.

I still remember how large he was.

His tongue was flickering in and out of his mouth.

When my grandmother saw him, she raised her garden hoe in his direction.

Unfazed, he slowly turned away and crawled behind one of the graves disappearing into the woods.

My grandmother said later she believed he was a haint.

*********************************************************************************

LadyG remembers that story

I remember my Dad telling me this story over the years and I often wondered about the creature that he and his grandmother, Ma Allie, had seen that day.

Daddy said that it looked kinda like a Komodo dragon…

But not exactly.

He also said that this four-legged ghoul was probably feeding off corpses that were not “housed” in a vault.

A grave-robber of sorts.

Just so you know, vaults were not always used back in those days; especially in African-American cemeteries.

Anyway, it is important to note that Komodo dragons are not native to Alabama, or anywhere nearby, so we figured that whatever it was must have gotten loose from someone who had owned him as a pet.

At any rate, Daddy was never fully content with the fact that he could not positively identify that reptilian gargoyle of yore.

So for 64 years, the whole thing remained unsolved…

Until…

Last week, when I sent an article to my Dad about this reptile called a “Tegus” that had been spotted in South Georgia.

The article included a picture of a reptile that fit the description that Daddy gave based on his childhood memories.

After receiving and reading the article, Daddy immediately called me back and said, “That’s it! That’s EXACTLY what I saw!”

He seemed excited that the mystery had been solved.

Apparently, the Tegus has been around the South for much longer than the wildlife folks think!

But, secretly, I prefer Ma Allie’s belief that it was a haint!

LOL!

Lady G loves you!

 

 

 

A Family Conversation: Ron Brown and LadyG Discuss the Cool Uncle’s Story

 

IMG_9104
Cool Uncle aka Daddy (Sembach Airbase 1965)

“A Family Conversation” is a storytelling audio series that features weekly discussions between blogging cousins LadyG and Ron Brown on current events and featured blog posts.

*************************************************************************************

“My uncle was as cool as a ’65 Thunderbird!”

-Ron Brown

Yep, that’s precisely how Ron describes my Daddy’s vibe from his younger days as a MP in the United States Air Force.

Folks said he was as cool as a cucumber…

A tall drink of water…

A pretty redbone…

Clearly, LadyG loves a good cliché

LOL!

All that aside, Ron’s cool uncle tells some awesome tales from his post-military days working on the railroad in the late 1960’s through the late 1990’s.

And so…

We invite you to join us in today’s sessions as we talk about Ron’s cool uncle (my Dad) RailroadConductor67’s post, “Santa’s Helper.”

As usual, Ron and I often found ourselves sidetracked!

Our conversation quickly galloped from Lysol to Clorox to wild game to storytelling where it crashed, head on, into Rickie Lee Jones.

But it gets better considering the fact that Rickie Lee wasn’t supposed to be a part of the dialogue.

AT.

ALL!

(Warning, a shift from first to third person is coming up so that I may distance myself from “LadyG”)

Yeah, so, you see, it all started when LadyG went on this tangent about Tommy Lee Jones, whom she thought was named Rickie Lee Jones.

Just so you know, Rickie, the female singer, should NEVER be confused with Tommy, the male actor.

They aren’t even kinda the same.

But of course, LadyG cannot be bothered with “facts.”

And, if you stick around to listen to the part 2 audio in this post, you will hear this for yourself.

Anyway…

Remember, you can find my Daddy, Ron’s cool uncle, here under category:  “True Railroad Stories”

You can also find Ron Brown under category “Ron’s Time Tunnel” and at his blog “Time Tunnel” 

Audio does includes some adult language

Part 1 Run time: 30 minutes

Part 2 Run time: 25 minutes

 

Patio Garden: Listen in as Daddy teaches me how!

hands-1838658_640

***Important Note: 

Daddy and I purchased the seeds for our patio garden back in late January/ Early February of this year. 

We had planned to get started with this project much sooner.

But, life happened, and one day in mid February, out of nowhere, Daddy collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. 

As a result, he spent some time in the ICU. 

But thank GOD, he was released ONE WEEK after his emergency admission date. 

God was with him the entire time!

He was truly blessed and so were we!

We thank every doctor, nurse, assistant and therapist involved in his care.

Special thanks to my son and daughter who were with him when he collapsed.  They took immediate—lifesaving action.

Remember, in an emergency, it is best to call 911 because they bring help; they are NOT just there for the ride! 

They can make ALL the difference between living and dying!

Thank you to those first responders (Paramedics, EMTs and Firemen ) who arrived on the scene to care for my Dad.

Also, special thanks to the anonymous witness who called 911 seconds before my daughter did!

That said, after spending several weeks in physical and occupational therapy, Daddy is now recovered.

No doubt, we lost some time starting our gardening project, but his well-being was much more important to me.

AND NOW……

Enjoy the post and the video!

___________________

I think it was 2017 when I first revisited a recurring idea of setting up a patio garden.

Sadly, Covid-19 has recently come to town and highlighted, among other things, weaknesses in our food supply chain.

As a result, you can best believe that I am now moving this project to “on fire” status!

I’m dead serious!

Anyway, a critical piece to this garden project included having my daddy teach me how to set it up—mainly because that dude has a…

Mint

Jade

AND

Emerald

Green thumb mix!

His daddy taught him.

I’m a Georgia girl, so frankly, as far back as I can remember—and I am about 50 :), my dad, who is a native of Alabama, maintained a garden in our backyard.

He kept that practice up for years!

Later in life, maybe 15 years ago, he transitioned to apartment living, and continued gardening on a smaller scale.

Neighbors, who passed by his patio, would ask, “Hey man, how do you grow such beautiful greens?”

He’d just smile and offer some form of pleasant response and continue on with tending his “crops.”

And when the crops were ready to be harvested, mama made sure to cook them up just right!

Queen Diva Eva!

YAASSSS!

Now then,

Let me be frank, there is NO way in hell that my dad would consent to appearing on camera so I had to secretly record the action!

God knows if he reads this….that’s my ASS! 

Oops!  Did I say that?

Forgive me Daddy!

That said, I am going to post an audio of him supervising my steps toward establishing our little family garden along with a short video and some pictures.

Forever the conductor!

But he’s cool about it

Anyway…

Enough of my rambling.  Check out the video.

LadyG loves YOU!

*** WARNING:  This video contains strong Southern accents so may the peace of the Lord be with you if you are not used to it!  A bit of translation is included 🙂

Comment on your experience with gardening, or if you’d like to leave a tip!

Check out Daddy’s railroad stories by going to category: “True Railroad Stories.”

*See pictures of one of his gardens in the first post I did about his gardening here!

The Best Breakfast!

 

IMG_2422

When I was a kid, the best breakfast was cooked and served by my Aunt Nell!

International House of Pancakes didn’t have ANYTHING on her!

She cooked those grits to perfection…

Her country ham and biscuits were unsurpassed…

And the fact that she let us kids drink Pepsi with our meal was freaking ingenious!

Clearly, she was a woman ahead of her time!

But, the thing that I remember most of all about breakfast with my Aunt Nell was her unrivaled ability to spin a good yarn!

I’m talking about good ole Southern Mama storytelling!

Baby, “captivating” ain’t the word for it!

From the moment Aunt Nell began to tell a tale, everybody in the room was completely mezmerized!

She’d intonate…

She’d gesticulate…

She’d immediately grab your attention and hold you in complete suspense!

A masterful comedienne, Aunt Nell’s timing was IMPECCABLE!

By the end of each story, EVERYBODY would be in tears laughing as she calmly sashayed away to tend to her dishes….completely unbothered!

In essence, she ALWAYS dropped the mic…

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!

And, as you might have guessed, I wanted to be just like her!

And so…

A lot of the sass that you “hear” from LadyG can be directly linked to my Aunt Nell.

And, as I sit here, approaching my 50th birthday, I can’t help remembering her and everyone else who poured so much into my life; especially her husband, my Uncle Leroy!

I’ve mentioned him a few times before.

At any rate, one thing’s for sure, I’ll always think fondly of Aunt Nell, and will, no doubt, burst into ugly laughter whenever I do!

In this way, she’s just as much alive today as she was in that Alabama kitchen from 1975.

Trust me, she’s here–between every line.

RIP Aunt Nell.

Love and light LadyG

😘💋💋

 

 

 

Happy Summer From Daddy’s Garden

Garden Title shot-5
My Dad’s Garden in Alabama.  Summer 2017.

 

Would you just look at those collard greens and ‘maters!

Just look at ’em!

I don’t know about you, but fresh produce is a MUST in my life!

That said, doesn’t this inspire you to want to go plant a garden?

It inspired me!

But there’s a problem…

Lady G ain’t ’bout to go digging ’round in the Lord’s ground…

What with snakes, and worms and any manner of creeping thing that creepeth!

I simply cannot!

But….

I can see myself working with planters and raised garden beds.

And so…

My daughter, Lady J, and I have decided to recruit my Dad to teach us how to grow veggies and herbs using the aforementioned.

So let it be written, so let it be done!

The Ladies have spoken!

LOL!!!!

Oh, by the way, excuse my manners!  It’s been awhile and I haven’t had time to drop by and wish you guys a happy summer!

So…

Happy Summer my loves!

I will certainly keep you posted on the progress of our garden project.

Until then…

Enjoy these pics!

Leave me a comment or just say hello!

Garden Bodyshot

FullSizeRender-3
One must know how to repurpose a fast food drive-thru beverage carrier! LOL!

I pray that you all have a magnificent week!  Love and light to you!

Lady G 💋💋

Lady G Pensive

 

The Flowering Vine: More To The Story

IMG_3951
Our Grandparents:  Leroy and Annie aka ‘Mother’ with Lady G’s Son

 

I thought I’d take a second to thank all of the readers who have supported “The Flowering Vine Series.”

Both Ron and I really appreciate your kind comments about our family.

I inserted this picture of our Grandparents, Leroy (Daddy) and Annie (Mother) so that you can see them as they were in later years.

This picture was taken ONE MONTH prior to our Grandfather’s death.

Here’s the story behind the photo.

Basically, my son had just been born a few months prior and something urged me to go visit my Grandparents and take pictures.

While I can’t say that I had a premonition, I can say that I clearly remember my Grandfather saying to me, as he struggled with his cane to rise from his seat, “Whew Bay, Granddaddy can’t haaaardly get around no more.”

 

His rich baritone voice wrapped itself so closely around my heart and I tearfully responded, “I know Granddaddy….I know.”

The next month, he was gone.

Friends, I can’t tell you how much we all miss him.  He was one of the kindest people I have EVER known and he sincerely loved us all so much.

I distinctly remember how he would wait until EVERYBODY, including all of his children, their spouses and his grandchildren had eaten before he would eat.

He’d say, “Did everybody eat? Did everybody have enough?”

Then, he’d pile the leftovers along with some home grown tomatoes and peppers into his favorite bowl.

Boy let me tell you! That bowl of food looked so GOOOOOD!

God knows they don’t make them like our Granddaddy anymore.

Frankly, there is so much more that can be said about both of our Grandparents, and, as long as you’re interested, we hope to continue sharing those stories here.

Anyway, below is a family tree that includes some of the people that you all have come to know and love.

Because our story includes so much information about our biracial heritage, I decided to include a bit of a descriptor under each person’s name.

Note:  The term “mixed race” applies where there is some interracial heritage but the specifics are unknown.  “Recent mixed race” indicates that this person had at least one confirmed white parent.

On a related note, both Ron and I would like to offer a special thanks to two Caucasian cousins who were kind enough to share DNA and Family records in order to help us to confirm information on our Grandfather’s side.  Had they not been willing to step forward a few more of these boxes would have been marked “unknown.”

Also, a BIG thanks to Ron’s Mom (Jet) and my Dad (Jim) for sharing their memories.

Now, let me stop rambling!

Here’s the Tree!

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 11.42.02 AM
The Flowering Vine: Notice that there should be a Mr. H and a Mrs. H (LOL!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flowering Vine: That Time At Wendy’s… An Audio Episode

abstract-1238246_1920

This is a true story.

Allow me to present you with a knock-off mini “radio show” re-enactment of an event that took place at Wendy’s in Eufaula, Alabama—Summer of 1987.

The major players were:

  • Grandma, aka Mother
  • Me, aka Lady G
  • Poor random guy at the drive-thru window

The whole thing was poorly written, poorly voiced and produced on the fly by Lady G.

Enjoy:

Mother and The Wendy’s Drive-thru Sign:  Run time: 1:48 (Not even two minutes)

 

 

 

 

The Flowering Vine: Mother Speaks on Botanicals and Books

cabinet-1786098_1920

 

In today’s entry of “The Flowering Vine,” “Mother,” who was both my and Ron’s Grandmother talks about natural healing as well as barriers to healthcare and education for ‘Colored’ people in the Jim Crow South.  She also discusses a bit more about her own education.

For those of you who are interested, I included a link in today’s story to a book about Mother’s school, Ballard Normal, in Macon, GA. 

It is important to note that students at ‘Ballard’ were being groomed to pursue careers in education as opposed to more traditional vocations.

It should also be noted that “Mother,” whose name was Annie Maude, lived to be 100 years old.  

She passed away in the Spring of 2012.

By the way, although “Mother” was highly educated and very well read, she typically used an informal conversational style in the vernacular of that timeframe–especially when speaking with close family and friends (which all of you are!)

Much of Mother’s recollections for today’s story are set in Alabama during the early to late 1920’s. 

______________

Annie Maude!

Get out that book and come go with me and Elvy down to the patch!

You hear me?

I ain’t gon’tell you no mo.’

Now listen here, when we get out there, I want you to watch how me and Elvy go through them bushes.
Watch what we pick!
One day you gon’ need them same plants to make your teas and rubs for when you get married and your chillun’ get sick and thang.
We ain’t always gon’ be ‘roun’ to do it for ya.
You gon’ have to learn for ya self now!
__________
Chile, I wasn’t thinkin’ ‘bout goin’ out in no woods lookin’ for nothin’!
HA!
I wasn’t hardly thinkin’ ‘bout that!
But you know that didn’t stop Mama from makin’ me go with her and Aunt Elvy to hunt for herbs.
As I got older,  I wish I hadda paid more attention to what they was doin’ because Mama and Aunt Elvy-nem knew how to find all kind of plants, roots and herbs to make teas, tonics and tinctures.
They could cure just about any sickness under creation!
Lemme tell ya, one time I got so sick from throwin’ up I started havin’ what they call a ‘bilious attack!’
You know that’s when you go to dry-heavin’ ‘cause ain’ nothin’ left on your stomach but yellow bile.
Chile, Aunt Elvy fixed me some tea made out of somethin’ she got out them woods…
Lawd have mercy!
I don’t know what it was but after I drank it I soon got alright.
Folks have said that Mama-nem knew how to do root work too….but I ain’t never seen ’em do it.
All I know about is the cures they had for regular ailments.
I ain’t never seen ‘em do no Hoodoo!
Hmmm….Gwin, I say, I ain’t never seen ‘em do Hoodoo but that don’t mean they ain’t never done it!
I learned long time ago to never say ‘never.’
HA!
I’m tellin’ you chile!
But you know what?  They say Ma Hallie could lay her hands on folks and heal an injury …say she didn’t use nothin’ but her hands!
You reckon folks thought that was Hoodoo?
HA!
Anyway…
Back then, we had to work with what we had ‘cause Colored people couldn’t just run to no medical doctors or psychiatrists or nothin’like that.
You know them White doctor’s wouldn’t take no Colored patients-even if they did have the money to pay ’em.
Ooh!
It was just a shame!

 

I’ve known folks to bleed to death ’cause no White Doctor would help ’em!

Humph!

Jesus!

Anyway, Mama-nem wanted me to learn ‘bout them herbs but nooooo, at that time, I was more interested in gettin’ my lesson.
See, you gotta remember back then a lot of folks didn’t go to school so they couldn’t read too well.
And if they was able to go to school they usually didn’t go no farther than the elementary grades.
I’m talking’ ‘bout white folks too now!
And even then people usually had to quit so they could work and help take care of the family.
Chile, times was hard for everybody!
Children these days ain’t got no idea how hard it used to be to get an education.
Some of ‘em take it for granted.
Honey, in my day, it was near’ bout impossible for folks to go past the 8th grade.
Especially Coloreds.
I just thank the Lord that I had a chance to go a little higher than that.
You see, after I finished 8th grade over here, Mama-nem used what little money they had to send me to school over in Georgia.
While I was there I completed both the 9th and the 10th grade!
I was on a path to become a teacher!
But not too long after I started the 11th grade, Ma Hallie called me back home ‘cause Mama had done got bad off.
Of course I had to help take care of her so I never did get to go back to school.
Hmm hmm hmm!
But you know The Lord knew what he was doin’ ‘cause if I had stayed over in Macon, I might not have ever met and married Leroy and none of y’all woulda been born!
Shole wouldn’t have been!
_________
Anyway…
Gwin, look at me! I been doin’ all the talkin!’
“That’s alright Grandma, I love hearing those old stories!”
Humph, when I was your age I used to like to listen to the ‘old folks’ tell stories too.
Now it looks like I’m the ‘old folks.’
 HA!