OK, there is all the "hence and so forth" that follows here and I have to admit there will be no pictures of the ranch attached. It seems a lot of my friends have become people I used to know. My fault not theirs. What can I say; I'm very politically incorrect, direct and painfully honest. It seems a lot of folks don't like that. Oh well, I had another good reason for not posting this 'Ghost Story' last week,which I shall not divulge. Enough of the excuses. Here we go.
One more thing. Yesterday on my other blog (Are you kidding me? She has two. What a big mouth.) I promised to post 'We behavin' a Cruzan Christmas'. that's because I forgot about the "Ghost Story". so, we'll have the Cruzan Christmas on Thursday 12/20, after the Blogfest, if I can remember where I am and what I'm doing. Now,roll the Ghost Story, will you please.
I promised I would tell this story here today, but I almost didn't. Let me tell you the reason.
About two years ago my husband and I started to realize that our time in Idaho was limited. We began making plans to move to an island. We were looking at Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. That didn't happen.
Around the first part of April we switched directions and started pursuing a move to the Caribbean. That did happen.
We sold most of our stuff. We packed up the rest and put it in a storage locker in Idaho. Since that time we have sold more of the stuff out of the storage locker. I don't miss the things. I do miss the memories. I did not bring my scrapbooks and other pictures.
Hence, the reason I almost didn't tell this story here today. I wanted to post pictures of the place. I am in contact with a friend who still lives there and I'm hopeful that she will email me some pics and I will post them for you to see next week. This story happened in a real place. Every word is true. It happened to me.
My husband and I have been fortunate to live in some incredible places. Why? I'm not sure, maybe it's because we didn't have to own them. We have been tenants of the world for most of our married life. Sometimes I feel a little insecure about that, but most of the time, I sit back and enjoy the ride.
One of the best places we lived was on a 400 acre ranch about two miles outside of a major Colorado ski town. If I'm ever homesick, it's for that place.
We rented from Al and Mary. Al was the grandson of the man who homesteaded the place. Al and Mary lived in a more modern house across the valley from our place. It was the house his father built. The house we lived in was the old homestead house. This was not some poor rancher who built this place. It was a two story log house with all the modern conveniences of the day. By the time we lived there electricity and plumbing had been added, but the conduit and pipes ran on the outside of the walls. There were gas caps over the sconces where gas had been added before our time. There was a massive fireplace in the living room and a smaller one backing up to it in the dining room. Unfortunately ,when we lived there the chimney had partially collapsed in on itself, so fires were not possible. We did have a large wood stove on a back porch addition. The house sat across a narrow road from the big two story barn. This barn was a massive structure with a huge hayloft upstairs.
To say there were some deficiencies would be putting it mildly.This place was almost a hundred years old. But the trade offs were worth every one of the deficiencies and then some. I loved that old house. We painted and spruced it up and had a great time while we were there.
One afternoon in broad daylight I was sitting on the couch in the living room. I looked up and there was a man standing at the end of the fireplace leaning on the mantle. He was dressed a little odd. He had on heavy pants that looked like maybe they were wool, a heavy shirt and a vest. We was just standing there looking into space. I asked him who he was. He turned his head and looked at me but did not answer. Then he was gone.
One day we're up at Al & Mary's visiting and I asked; "Who is the guy in the house?"
"What guy?" Al asks.
So I describe him and tell them where I generally see him. Al and Mary exchange a look and the say at the same time, "Martin".
So,who is Martin? Martin is Al's grandfather,the guy who homesteaded the place. It seems he was an ornery old cuss (are you surprised?) who had a habit of taunting his daughter. The daughter probably wasn't completely stable, so one day she shot him.Oh yeah, she killed him. Apparently,she fired the gun at him several times. The next time Mary was at our place,she showed me where one of the bullets was lodged in the hardwood floor.
Her brother, who was Al's father, was worried about his sister's mental stability. He took the wrap. He was also the District Attorney at the time. It was quite the scandal. He got off on an accidental death deal. I'm not exactly sure how that went down, but he was acquitted.
A few more interesting facts. That bullet lodged in the floor. Well, I'm no forensic specialist but by where it was, I would have to guess that Martin was standing in the exact spot I would see him when he met his maker.
This ranch was a prime piece of real estate. Eventually, due to some trouble with an ex-wife and other debts, Al basically 'lost' the ranch to some unsavory developers. They would say they bought it, but they only paid a fraction of it's true worth. Al and Mary were allowed to stay on and live in the house that Al's father build and they were granted an acre of land. We of course,were asked to leave.
During the course of our packing up and leaving these developers were 'looting' the barn for antiques and stripping it down. One day,my whole family and I were home and the house literally shuddered. It shook like it had been hit by a wrecking ball. My husband shouted upstairs to me,"what was that?". When we looked outside, we saw them tossing things out of the barn. Another time around dusk, they came up on the ranch in their fancy SUV's and the whole place went dark for a few minutes. I mean dark as midnight with no moon or stars or nothing. So dark you could not see your hand in front of your face dark, scary dark, closet dark. They noticed it too, because their vehicles stopped dead in their tracks. I was a sad time.
Mary and Al told us that over time the developers went in and remodeled the old homestead house. The plan was to use it as a vacation home, until they built their mansion up in one of the meadows.
According to Mary, after we left no one ever spent the night in that house again. They would show up and cart all their luggage in and around sundown be carting it back out again. I guess Martin had to like you or you were not welcome.
For a few years I lost touch with Al and Mary. Around that time I started seeing Al. I would see him different places where ever we were living. It was a little strange. I looked Mary up and she told me Al had passed away. I told her I was seeing him and she wasn't surprised. Mary and I have often discussed what my connection to Al's family was. I have no idea. I will tell you that last week at "Jump Up', a big Street Festival here on my island in the Caribbean, Rick and I were walking down one of the streets coming upon a big 'steel pan band' and there was Al, as calm as ever watching them play. I looked at him and he looked right at me.
I contacted Mary and she's supposed to call me this weekend. I hope to have pictures to show you of this beautiful ranch and the house and barn sometime next week.
I can't explain this story, but I can tell you that it is true. Every word. It happened to me. Why? Who knows? I'm glad Martin liked me. I miss Al, but apparently, he checks up on me every so often.
I still don't know where the commas go. Tonight I'm glad I thought about this little bit of my past. It is a cherished memory. I love that place. I can see it as vivid today as when I lived there.
I know, I posted this song one day last week,but I like it and it reminds me of Martin. Unfortunately, a little bit of myself too!
Side note: when we left the ranch we moved to a primitive fishing cabin some friends of ours owned on a lake at the north end of the county. We were only therefor three months and we left Colorado for good to the wilds of Idaho.