Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Ghost Story

Once there was a young man whose mother died while giving him life. He was a beautiful boy, but the family (for some unknown reason, even to this day) despised the boy's father. He was invited to leave as soon as the funeral was over. And he was to leave without his son. Like a Bedouin tribesman , he folded his tent and silently went away.

The boy was reared by his Maternal grandmother and that extended family. Everyone loved the boy and claimed him as their own. He worked hard for both his Uncles on their farms, and was pleased to do so. His cousins were like sisters and brothers to him, he wanted not for familial care, although he had no living mother. He grew to look like his lost mother, his eyes that clear sky blue, his hair a light brown, that had been blond at birth. Just as he had been a happy child, he was a happy young man.

There was a war going on. World War 2 raged and the draft was in full swing. Although he was one of his Uncle's sole help on the family farm, his number came up and there was no denying it, he was destined to go.

On a cold New Year's day in 1944 the family saw their "son" for the last time. They saw his last smile, heard his last laugh, heard his last words...his young cousin Margaret told him that she would write to him everyday. He smiled and told her, "I'll be watching for them." Though forced, it is that smile that she remembers today. Very soon after leaving he was sent to France. He died in the Battle of Urschenheim where he was buried in foreign soil for several years before being shipped home. No one could believe he was dead because he had been gone such a very short time. Their hearts were broken. The Grandmother, upon hearing the news, sat in the middle of the kitchen floor and pulled her apron over her head and began to cry. She felt a failure because first she had lost her daughter and now she had failed to protect that daughter's son. Misery was in the center of her soul for the rest of her life.

Martus's bible, which he had carried in his jacket pocket, had been found by a Russian Soldier who had shared his foxhole and he carried the bullet riddled, blood soaked book of solace for a couple of years, before giving it to his wife to return to Martus's family. It arrived with a letter written in French explaining the events of the battle and their kinsman's death. It would be two years before they found anyone to translate it.

The body of Martus Douglas, according to legend, was returned in the company of an Honor Guard. It was felt that the Honor Guard was there more to keep the families from opening the coffins , that families suspected was filled with stones, more than to honor the soldier they accompanied. That could be partially true.

Martus's Aunt Nancy was out in the back garden area while her nephew's body lay reposing in the front room. She had gone to the smoke house to get meat for dinner and the garden for greens. She looked up from her chore, as I was told, and saw a young soldier enter the kitchen through the screened porch. Thinking that one of the Honor Guard needed something, she hurried to the house and went in to ask. The two young soldiers both assured her that they were fine and that they had not left the front room or the body they had sworn to protect.

Nancy went into the kitchen where her daughter Patricia was reading a funny book, as they were called in the day. "Did you see a soldier come in here?" she asked. Pat, putting her comic on her knees, told her mother that she had seen one of the honor guard soldiers go up the narrow stairs to the rooms above. He had not returned. Nancy, who had reared her sister's son as her own, was breathless. She had seen him enter the house, Patricia had seen him go up the stairs where his room was located, and the Soldiers in the front room were both at their post. Patricia swore that the soldier had not returned. Nancy gathered her courage, looking from the front room to the stairway hall, she moved slowly to the alcove where the stairs lay. She climbed the stairs and searched all three bedrooms. No one was there. But she felt a lightness of spirit that she had not felt in a long time. In her heart she knew that Martus had returned, no matter a coffin with a body or a coffin filled with stones. Her boy was home.



Many thanks for Post of the Day, David!
http://david-mcmahon.blogspot.com/ for Post of the Day or just click on the Post of the Day mailbox in my sidebar...

59 comments:

Lib said...

Hi Sandi,
You are Good!
Hope you have a happy Halloween!
Blessins',Lib

Lavinia said...

This sent shivers down my spine. The part about the stones in the coffin is quite eerie. This is an excellent tale.

NeereAnDear said...

Oh my I have to quit going around and reading these stories tonight....

Gave me goosebumps...

hugs

jo

Pam said...

Wow Sandi, you can sure tell a story! Happy Halloween!

P.S. I love the photo on you header. Gorgeous.

Lee said...

This is awesome, Sandi! I'm glad she felt the comfort of his spirit! Those we lose do not lose us.

Hugs!
Lee

Jeni said...

Always love your stories, Sandi! Great job with this one.

justabeachkat said...

You go girl! A sweet and haunting story.

Happy Halloween!

Hugs!
Kat

Retiredandcrazy said...

That was beatiful Sandi, thank you so much for sharing it with us. Happy? Halloween!

Maggie May said...

I do love your stories!
You are very good at writing them.

Merisi said...

What a gift from heaven,
to give his loved ones peace.

Kat said...

Wow. That is a wonderful story, and so beautifully told.

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

Oh! This one gives me the shivers!

Thank you for your sweet note on my blog today! Have a lovely weekend!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh that's so good that I can't tell if you are telling it for the very first time or if it's a re-telling.

smilnsigh said...

I have "goose-bumps." What a fantastic story.

Happy Halloween,
Miss Mari-Nanci

David B Katague said...

Enjoy your ghost story! Happy Haloween! Cheers!

Mima said...

What a fantastic story, a ghost that was really welcomed and celebrated. You also manage to tell the tale really well, I am hopeless at telling stories!!

Hope that you have a wonderful Halloween, we are really looking forward to the trick or treaters who should start soon.

Sandy Kessler said...

good one sandy Kari is on fire yay

imbeingheldhostage said...

I loves me a good ghost story! Great timing on this one!!

Jamie Dawn said...

GREAT story!!!!

Tara said...

Sandi

What a great story!

:0)
Tara

kari and kijsa said...

Have a safe and happy Halloween!
smiles,
kari & kijsa

Brenda said...

Great story. Have a happy Halloween.

Jay said...

Oh gosh, that sent chills down my spine, but in a good way. How moving. I don't know if that's fiction or fact, but it's a great story!

I've felt and seen the presence of departed dogs here in the house, but never people. I know that some do.

I believe these things are linked with the strength of emotions felt by the bereaved. I believe the departed can, in some circumstances, come back briefly to reassure us.

Moannie said...

Sandi, that was a really wonderful story beautifully told. Is it true I wonder. I want it to be.

Sandi McBride said...

For those of you who wondered, this is a true story. Some of you may have noticed that I dedicated my Portrait of Words story to my uncle, Martus Douglas...this is Martus. The uncle I only knew through the stories of his "sisters" one of them being my mother. Thank you for enjoying it, it's my way of keeping his memory alive.
Sandi

Sarah said...

chills...great story!

Leah in Iowa said...

Thanks for writing this - it was a great story/tribute!

The Giving Thanks challenge starts today. I hope you'll participate again this year!

Merisi said...

Everytime your blog opens, and reveals the picture in the heading,
I think of the movie "Green Fried Tomatoes".

ExpatKat said...

Wow! What a story!
Thanks for dropping by my blog too.

Mae said...

It will be hard to sleep after reading this story.

david mcmahon said...

WHAT

A

POST

lmerie said...

I am so glad I have found your spot...great stories, great writer.

have a good weekend.

SandyCarlson said...

Amazing, Sandi.

My great-uncle was lost in the Second World War, and I often think of the effect of his death on my family. They never recovered. So this ghost story hit home. Thanks.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Love your ghost story!

Country Cottage Chic said...

Oooh! That gave me goosebumps!

Hilary said...

Great story .. particularly unsettling for the mother of a soldier. Chills-evoking.

Akelamalu said...

What a touching and inspirational story.

Sandy said...

I just knew it had to be true... and it is true that way back then they would put stones in a coffin if they didn't have the remains of a soldier they knew to be dead. I remember my Dad talking about that so many years ago.

Thank you for sharing!

GoneBackSouth said...

That gave me a chill too. Wonderful.

joan said...

Loved this story.

Denise said...

Beautiful story! My grandmother lost her youngest son in 1947 at the age of 20 something...... She grieved and grieved for a very very long time until one night she said that someone came into her room and sat down beside her and patted her hand... James is fine Ida was what she heard..... After that night Grandmother went on with her life and when she thought of James she just smiled! I think that our Father God is very concerned about those of us that are left with so many unanswered questions...... He sends answers in the most unexpected places.

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

This is one amazing story and you tell it so well. I sat glued to the screen reading every word. Have a great week...m..

Lee said...

Congratulations on making Post of the Day, Sandi! Well deserved! Bravo!

Hugs!
Lee

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Amazing story Sandi! Gave me goose bumps, in a good way!

Cheffie-Mom said...

So well written. Wonderful job. The picture tells 1,000 words.

cheshire wife said...

Congratulations on your Post of the Day. True stories are often the most difficult to tell. This post was unputdownable!

Donna said...

SPOOKY!!!hughugs

Judy said...

An awesome tale indeed, Sandi!

Mrs. Organic said...

What a sweet, moving story. You have a wonderful way with storytelling.

Epijunky said...

Oh Sandy, that was excellent. Congrats on POTD! Well earned.

Gill - That British Woman said...

is this a true story?

Gill in Canada

SandyCarlson said...

Congrats on post of the day! I sure do like this story.

Shrinky said...

Oh sandi, what a heartwrenching tale, and so well told. Lovely.

lisaschaos said...

Nice. A sad story with a semi-happy ending.

fawndear said...

That just gave me a thrill chill. Ghosts or comforting angels???

Found you through the giving thanks challenge and I'm glad I did because I'm thankful for people like you who share such wonderful stories.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Sandi that was stunning. So poignant and beautiful and yet uplifting as well. Wonderful.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

l love your blog!!!
congrats on POTD!!

Anna said...

Sandi, I want to cry. This is beautiful. Anna :)

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