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.

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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: LadyG and Ron Brown Discuss All Kinds of Fools

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

“A Family Conversation” is published on Wednesdays.

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This week, LadyG and Ron discuss one of his posts from February 2016, STORNADO.

In today’s conversation, Ron reads the original submission and recounts how his Gramp (Grandmother) and his Aunt used to talk about all kinds of fools; including the biggest kind of fool known to man…

The Stornado Fool!

Or was it Starnado?

Apparently, there’s some debate.

At any rate, as you might have guessed, Ron and I got sidetracked discussing conspiracies and all of the foolishness that we’ve observed lately; particularly in light of the current pandemic.

Please enjoy!

Contains some adult language and situations

Stornado (Part 1)

Stornado Foolishness (Part 2)

 

***In part 2, we refer to a woman who was coughing on fruit in the produce section of a grocery store.  We discussed her during an earlier conversation, prior to the broadcast.

***Dr. T.V. McCoo was Marilyn McCoo’s grandfather.  Her father, Waymon, went to school with our Grandmother (Mother).

**If you dare, visit the “Real Talk” page to listen to a deeper conversation between the cousins.

True Railroad Stories: A Familiar Smile

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A sequel to“The Coal Toss.”

Having been retired for some years, and having lost my beautiful wife, I decided to take a road trip to some of the towns I had been to while working on the railroad.

It was on one of these trips that it happened…

I had been driving along the back roads of Georgia for several hours when I decided to stop at the closest store to take a break.

While browsing the snack display, I noticed a young lady standing on the same aisle, not for away.

She appeared to be following me.

I was pretty sure that I didn’t know her, but I couldn’t help noticing her beautiful smile.

A few minutes had passed, and I was just about to look away, when she suddenly turned toward a shadowy figure standing further down the aisle and shouted, “Mama!”

At that point, the person slowly walked toward us.

As the individual approached, I could see that she was an elderly lady who had a trace of the same smile as the younger lady.

Without saying a word, the older lady, walked right up to me, grabbed my hand and began gently squeezing it.

The younger lady then reached up and gave me a tight hug.

Needless to say, I was totally confused, but I didn’t want to offend them so I just smiled.

At that point, they turned and disappeared back down the aisle.

Still trying to figure out what had happened, I went ahead and walked to the counter, paid for my snack, got in my car and drove off.

By the time I got a few miles down the road, it dawned on me where I had seen the young lady’s familiar smile.

She was the little toddler that would come to edge of the railroad track where I would toss bags of coal off the caboose for their family in the winter time.

That had been more than 20 years ago!

Before I knew it, I had slowed down to look for a place to turn around so that I could go back.

I had so many questions I wanted to ask.

But, for some reason, I can’t explain why, I kept going.

If it were you, would you have gone back?

-The Conductor

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

 

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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.

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“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

 

True Railroad Stories: Santa’s Helper

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***NOT A MISTAKE***

The return of True Railroad Stories!  

True Railroad stories are written by my father, who tells funny, thought-provoking, and heartwarming stories about his time as a Railroad Conductor in Georgia from the 1960’s through the 1990’s.  

For train enthusiasts, Daddy was a freight train conductor.

But, before we go on, I just wanted to invite you to check out a couple of his previously posted stories, which include topics like fireflies and coal

LOL!!

If you like those, you can search for more of his stories under the category titled “True Railroad Stories” (Go to the right panel, scroll down )

Anyway… 

Today, it’s Christmas in April on Easter Sunday!  

YAAASSS!

Strange?  

Not for Daddy, best believe he has his reasons 😉

Chile, that’s just how we do it on Seek The Best Blog!

Take it away Daddy!

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

It was early one cold and windy morning in December when we saw it beside the track.

It was the biggest deer with the largest antlers any of us had ever seen–and working on the railroad, we had seen many.

Even though several cars had passed within a few feet of him, the deer made no attempt to move.

It was common for wild animals to cross the tracks in front of moving trains when they were blinded by the engine headlight, so we determined that he must have been injured by one of the trains that sped through during the night before.

After a brief conversation amongst ourselves as to what to do, we decided to stop the train and go back to further investigate.

So we did.

As we walked back from the engine, we approached the deer, who was sitting in a position like a dog would take while begging for scraps at the dinner table.

It was obvious he had injuries to his hind legs.

Someone commented on how large he was.

I am over 6 feet tall, and his antlers stretched well over my head!

After discussing what to do, one of the crew members said,  “We can’t leave him like that…the humane thing to do is to finish him off …a horrible thing to do, but the right thing.”

So the one of us, who had the coldest heart, suggested striking him on the head with a metal tipped air hose from the caboose.

I’m sorry to report that this harsh suggestion was implemented.

Afterward, we loaded the “lifeless” deer on back of the caboose.

We then proceeded to a small town not far away.

When we stopped at the town depot, we decided to call the ranger station and report the incident.

After hearing the story, they elected to send a pick-up truck to the depot to recover the deer and maybe give the meat to a needy family.

Shortly, one of the rangers drove up and we all loaded the deer in the back of the truck.

As the truck was leaving, someone shouted, “Look at that!”

To our surprise, the deer was standing up on all four legs!

And, before we knew it, he leaped from the truck across one lane and a side walk to the grass where he disappeared into the woods!

To us, he seemed to be flying!

The distance was so great, it was almost as if he was big and strong enough to pull a sleigh from roof top to roof top!

And I’m convinced that he did!

-The Railroad Conductor

 

Lord have mercy!  Looks like Daddy’nem done ran up on one of Santa’s helpers!

I’m still pissed off at the cold hearted crew member who tried to “finish the job!”

BUT…

In my mind, I believe that beautiful woodland creature is still very much alive, well, and happily awaiting his next trip with dear St. Nick….in about 8 months time. LOL!!!

Happy Easter!

LadyG loves you!

😘💋💋

 

 

 

Guess This Bedtime Story: Read by LadyG (Episode 1)

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This is one of my favorite books from childhood!

During these unsettling times, I thought it might be fun to read stories from my childhood and from my children’s childhood.

Can you guess which one this is?

Take a listen and drop down in comments to list the title and the author 🙂

Run time: Less than 5 minutes

Enjoy,

LadyG loves you!

A Family Conversation: Ron Brown & LadyG discuss their favorite stories(Ep. 1)

*** “A Family Conversation” will be a weekly recurring series that highlights stories told and written by Ron Brown and LadyG. Look for new posts on Wednesdays.

 

Welcome to our inaugural post!

Greetings my loves,

Today, I am presenting a conversation that I had with my cousin, Ron Brown, aka “The Professor,” regarding our favorite storytelling blog posts.

Baby, we’re recreating our own little version of  “The Decameron” over here!

Now, if you don’t know what that is, GO GOOGLE IT!

LOL!

And so…

Our focus, during today’s conversation, is on one of my favorite stories, told and written by, you guessed it,  Mr. Ron Brown, entitled, “A Man Called Boy.”

(Not to be confused with  ” A Boy Called Man.” )

Trust me, there is a difference…and it is deliciously intentional!

Anyway, in this recording, Ron not only gives details about the origin of the story, he also reads it with that melodious baritone voice of his!

Can you say 3-alarm Fi-yah?!

I mean, what more can you ask for?

Especially if you are, like me, a huge fan of his work.

That said, I hope that you enjoy what you hear today and remember to check out “A Man Called Boy”

You can read more of Ron’s stories on this blog by searching  for “Ron’s Time Tunnel” in categories.

You can also catch him at his own blog “Time Tunnel.”

Comments are welcome 🙂

***NOTE: Please ignore the sounds of lawn work and other random noises.  We are in our homes, living our best “shelter in place” lives! LOL!!!

Enjoy 😘

 

Stay tuned for Episode 2! Coming Up Next Wednesday! 

 

LadyG loves YOU!

The Flowering Vine: Dem Bones

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Today’s “Flowering Vine” entry tells the tale of an event involving my and Ron’s Grandfather (Leroy), our Great- Grandmother (Mary), and our uncle (Bernard).

 

Dem Bones

-By Ron Brown

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

Leroy’s sixth birthday was made even more special because Mary was headed into town and—as was her custom—had invited Leroy and—by default—Bernard to ride along.  When Leroy turned six years old, he was already tall. He towered over his little, “brown brother”, Bernard. Leroy was Mary’s pride and joy. He was, in her words, “Grandma’s big boy”. Leroy always rode “shotgun”, while Bernard scooted from one side of the back of the wagon, to the other, depending upon which side’s sights were more stimulating.

For Leroy, what was in front of him, was much more mesmerizing than what was to the left, right or the rear of him. He sat quietly, keeping his eyes forward. Mary admired him for this trait and would often encourage him by leaning over to him and whispering, “That’s right Grandma’s big boy, keep them eyeballs peeled”.

This day however, as they rolled down the rambling road, neither Mary’s fierce focus nor Leroy’s eagle eyes could have saved them from what happened next, for just ahead of them, from out of the roadside briars and bramble shot a streak of white. It slithered swiftly and silently across the road in front of the two black mules hitched to Mary’s buckboard.

The two black mules reared simultaneously, at the sight of the albino coachwhip. The sudden jerk of the reins, held tightly in Mary’s tenacious grip, snatched her formidable form forward, in front of the wagon and behind the mules. The mules stepped back; one of them, adventitiously, stomping Mary’s thigh, fracturing her femur. Leroy heard the sickening crack as the bone in his grandmother’s thigh gave way to the weight of the thousand-pound animal’s hoof. The usually silent Leroy, screamed; the usually vocal Mary, was silent.

Leroy leaped down from his perch on the wagon’s seat, then calmed the frightened mules, whose pallid pariah, had now disappeared into the underbrush on the opposite side of the dirt road. Once the mules had regained their composure, Leroy rushed over to Mary and kneeled down beside her. She looked at him affectionately, then gently stroked the side of his face with a trembling hand and wheezed, go get help Grandma’s big boy.

Mary was careful not to instill any additional fear or panic into her grandson. Leroy worked his jaw muscles viciously, as he struggled to maintain his customary calmness. Leroy, looked sternly upon his baby brother Bernard and chided him, “Stay with Grandma boy, I’m going to get help!” and away he went, as fast as his long, lanky legs would carry him. The nearest house was just over a mile down the torturously twisting, dust-topped road.

And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knoweth. Again, he said unto me, ‘Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord”.

Mary lay quietly in the dust and sang to herself softly:

“Ezekiel connected dem—dry bones,

Ezekiel connected dem—dry bones,

Ezekiel in the Valley of—Dry Bones,

Now hear the word of the Lord.”

To be continued…

True Railroad Stories: The Peanut Man

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Hi Guys!

Some of you may remember that I previously posted a few of my Daddy’s tales from his 30-something year railroad career which spanned from the late 1960’s to the late 1990’s.

Naturally, he has a lot of amazing true stories to tell 🙂 

Just in case you’ve missed earlier posts, you can click on the links that I have included below. Trust me you will NOT be disappointed.

Today’s story is very inspiring and I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

Take it away Daddy!

LadyG 😘💋

 

Early on in my Railroad career, I worked as a flagman for a major railroad in the South.  At that time, I was assigned to a local freight train that operated daily between a large city and a smaller town in Georgia.

As the only black crew member in the late 1960’s, I was often exposed to racism–Many times to the point of depression.

However, the events in this story helped me to regain my faith and hope in mankind.

The person that I give most credit to restoring my faith was a white brakeman that I will call “Charlie.”

Although Charlie was not particularly fond of black people, we worked pretty well together.  He and I did most of the ground work when our train stopped in sidetracks to switch industries or pick or set-off railcars.

In one of the towns where we worked, we would often meet up with “The Peanut Man.”

The Peanut Man was an elderly black gentleman who rode around town on a three-wheel bike with a basket on the back filled with boiled and roasted peanuts.

Now, to the best of my recollection, The Peanut Man wore the exact same outfit every time we saw him–a worn and tattered black suit with a frayed white collared shirt.  A faded red bowtie, black fedora and horned rimmed glasses completed his ensemble.

Despite the ragged condition of his clothing, I often marveled at the way in which his deep dark complexion accentuated his smooth leathery skin.

Anyway, whenever Charlie and I stopped in The Peanut Man’s hometown, he’d start pedaling-feverishly- right toward us.  

Of course, we knew that he knew that we were his best customers.

 Why was that?  

Well, Charlie and I once asked The Peanut Man if he ever got tired of pedaling around town in order to sell his peanuts.  We wondered this because the town had several steep hills and, as I implied, he was well past his prime.

The Peanut man replied, “Yeah, but I need to make much money as I can.”

Though we didn’t say anything, Charlie and I both knew good and well that this man was too old to seek and find regular employment so selling peanuts was his only option for making a living.

With that in mind, whenever we saw him, we’d always buy as many bags as we could afford.

In fact, Charlie often bought much more than I did.

Here’s the amazing thing, I learned several years later that Charlie did not eat peanuts-nor did anyone else in his family.

From time to time I still wonder why he continued to buy all those peanuts.

Do you have any idea why?

-The Conductor

LOL!!!! Hey Da, I have my suspicions but I think I’ll leave it to my friends to try to hazard a guess in the comment section!

 

Other “True Railroad Stories” from Dad:

The Coal Toss

The Passengers

The Gathering of The Fireflies

 

 

Open Your Wings!

Butterfly for post on 2-21-2016
Photo by Gwin

Something opens our wings.

Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.

Someone fills the cup in front of us:

We taste only sacredness.

-Rumi

 

Hi! My name is Gwin and I am a writer, storyteller and photographer! There, I said it!

Yes, I am fully aware that this is a strong declaration.  My friends, it HAS to be! Why? Because I have concluded that I don’t need anyone to tell me what I already know about myself! I am the one who defines who I am.

Do I sound radical?  Well… er…um…for the sake of clarity let me rewind this story!

Right before my last birthday, I began to think about becoming a ‘writer,’ but I immediately dismissed that thought.  Then, out of nowhere, I heard my inner voice say: “Gwin, what in the hell are you thinking?  If you are a writer then write! If you are a storyteller then tell stories!  If you are a photographer then take pictures! You don’t have to submit your stuff to anybody! You don’t need a formal title; you just need to go about the business of doing the damn thing! Do it for you!”

Oh yeah, me and I had a good long talk!

Anyway, during this conversation with myself, I realized that I had spent WAY too much time being afraid.  You see, I had always dreamed of becoming a writer/storyteller/photographer, but I never seriously pursued doing those things because I was worried that my work wouldn’t be accepted.  In my mind’s eye, I could just see all of my writings and pictures being thrown back at me in big golden envelopes –stamped with the word “REJECTION”—capitalized in bold red; and that, my friends, spooked the hell out of me!

Well now I’m over it! So I started a blog where I can post whatever I want! And you, my loves, are acting as witnesses to my dreams!  I thank you so much for that!

OK, that’s enough about me and my wings! What about yours? Tell me what ‘opens your wings?’