Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Ghost Town: Sunday musings…8/23/2020

He sees my face. There’s a faint glimmer of recognition. You can tell he knows he should know who I am. Still, nothing until I tell him.

I am just another ghost floating through a ghost town. Drifting among the ghosts of my past. Some, like the guy still here in the present day flesh, yet a ghost nonetheless. Time has been reasonably kind to each of us; I can see his ghost in high school as we exchange pleasantries about our mothers.

The houses are haunted. Not just ours, or rather the house that was once ours. It’s all I can do to walk by, to not just walk up the driveway and through the door on the farmer’s porch of my house. No, each of the houses is as occupied by the ghosts of the owners it had as mine is of ours. There’s the Licht house, right next door to the Wilson’s. That stone wall between our house and the Dehimer’s still just looks wrong, even 20 years after it was built. And wait…I thought Barbara moved to South County. You mean those skinny boys chasing around the yard between our houses are NOT hers?

Two little boys, the ghosts of neighbors long past.

Just before I turn the corner I pass the Dunn’s house. It’s funny, that house must hold some sort of power over its owner, or perhaps that’s just Mr. Dunn’s ghost compelling whoever lives there to obsess over the lawn. That house has always had the best grass in town, better than even the greens on the golf course in our back yard. As I walk by I can hear the sound of balls bouncing and sneakers shuffling in the gravel. I swear I see the shadow of Maureen’s hoop right there under my feet as I walk by, but alas it, too, is just a ghost.

Just a skosch longer than 5 years ago my Dad’s ghost visited as I sat on his porch under the trees watching his club mates climb the 14th fairway. Like the citizens of Brigadoon he drifted into view and stuck around for an hour or so. It was magical to have him there, all of him, the Dad I’d known, sitting there with me, chuckling at the golfers who misread the wind and plunked their second shots into our back yard. His stay was altogether too short; the mist reclaimed him after a while and returned him to whatever Brigadoon houses such spirits.

My walk brought me to the church of my youth. It was open so I sat in the very last pew for just a bit, spending a few moments with the ghosts of parishioners I’d known. It’s a tiny church, tinier than I remembered. Probably because of all the ghosts there with me. My sisters were both married there. What fun those weddings were! All of the guests were there with me today. Mom and Dad looked great. I could swear that was Father Ethier on the altar, smiling.

Dad is buried in the parish cemetery in back of the church. Established 1896. I never noticed the sign before. To no surprise I mingle with lots of ghosts on my way back to his grave. He was back there, waiting for me. Four flags surrounded his gravestone, one for each of us. There were a bunch of golf balls on the ridge at the base of the stone, all Titleist 8’s. Later in life Dad always played Titleist 8’s. My vision got kinda blurry all of a sudden so I took a seat in the grass, leaned my head against his gravestone, and just relaxed for a few minutes as my Dad’s ghost settled in next to me. I think I stayed there for quite some time.

So many ghosts. I walked along in the company of my own ghosts from the days when I called this town home. Those were happy days; my companions were happy ghosts. As I walked on my ghostly fellow travelers fell away leaving me alone as my little tour brought me back to the ghosts awaiting, the many ghosts of my Mom watching over her as she napped while I walked. Too many to describe, all there patiently waiting for her to wake up from the nap she’s taken nearly every afternoon for 65 years. They are there. She is there.

And so here I am in a ghost town. Mostly me, but part the ghost of the boy who used to be. Ministering to a Mom who I desperately want to still be mostly my Mom, as the ghosts settle in around us.

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