By RICH FOLEY
I saw a ghost recently. Well, maybe I did and maybe I didn’t. I swear I saw one walk across the north end of my bedroom, partially disappear through the east wall, turn and grin at me, then vanish. It wasn’t in the form of any particular person, it was more like one of those Casper-like ones, similar to a Halloween costume.
I have a friend who has an interest in stories like this and she insisted on coming over and checking out the room. She thinks I was having a dream, but I’m quite sure I was at least semi-awake at the time. Besides, shortly after I moved to Fayette, a ceramic coil pot about three feet high shattered during the night. It was sitting in the bedroom in the path the ghost took. My friend wasn’t able to explain that.
She’s right to question if it was a dream, though. I’ve been known to have some odd ones. Usually, there’s some famous person in them I end up interacting with. Some of them are simply weird. A day after her visit, I had another, this time about a tornado.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by having one. After all, I lived through two tornados as a young boy during the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak in 1965. The real surprise is that I didn’t have any nightmares at the time.
As is usual in my dreams, this one slices and dices time as it sees fit. It seems to be taking place in the present day as I am my current age. However, I was at the old homestead near Manitou Beach, even though it was torn down years ago. Attached to it was the one-car garage the 1965 tornados destroyed. Unfortunately, I never got to see if the 1964 Plymouth inside it at the time was there or some other vehicle from some other time. My 1979 Mustang, maybe? Or my first car, a 1971 Plymouth Satellite? Or perhaps the Studebaker I was brought home from Addison Hospital in?
And this dream included my mother, who passed away in 1979. That’s one advantage to the randomness of my dream elements. I often get to see long lost relatives. In this one, my mother has been monitoring the radio and we have been having various storm alerts all day. My brother Frank and I have been doing some project in the yard, except for the three or four times Mom has called us in due to reports of imminent doom.
Finally, without any warning, I notice a tornado coming straight for us. I point it out to Frank, but unfortunately, there isn’t time to head for the house. Oddly, this tornado’s funnel comes down to the ground, but it’s only about six inches wide at the bottom. It takes out a rose bush in the side yard and a jagged path of grass as it travels through the back yard and back into the sky. Although it came within ten feet of us, we didn’t feel a thing.
We were looking over the scant damage when I spotted something else in the sky. A beautiful parachute with harness, but no jumper, was floating down to a landing in the field next to the our yard. I was just grabbing it away from the wind gusts threatening to take it aloft again when I heard a strange voice yell, “Get a grip on it!” I did, and turned to see three men running toward me from a van parked nearby.
They explained that they had been chasing the parachute for nearly 100 miles after it had been caught in another tornado and separated from its jumper. I told them I was sorry and asked if they had found the jumper.
One of them laughed and said, “There’s nothing to be sorry about. That twister set him down in a wheat field just as easily as you could ask for. He’s sitting in our van. We’d like to take him to a doctor as a precaution, but he refuses until we recover his parachute. Thanks for grabbing it, we were afraid we’d be on its trail all day. Now we can finally go home.”
So the parachute I figured was going to be part of some gruesome story ended up with a happy ending after all. It’s just the latest in a so far never-ending string of strange dreams. The only certainty seems to be that until I get rid of that nagging need to go to sleep, I’ll keep having more of them.