Like a lot of folks, I went home for Thanksgiving. I’ve lived in Greenville for a while now–we won’t go into how long, as that brings up troubling math problems related to my age. But somehow, the little town in North Carolina where I grew up will always be home.
Mom did what she always does–she made enough food to feed a small country. While we stuffed ourselves silly, we caught up on the ins and outs of each other’s lives… Dad’s acid reflux problem, my niece’s ear tubes, my uncle’s new red El Camino with the orange Firebird-looking thing on the hood…
And the latest on the group of women who bought my grandmother’s civil-war-era farmhouse.
My maternal grandmother passed away a little over two years ago. My grandfather had been waiting for her at the Pearly Gates for years, so their six-thousand-square-foot house was empty. It’s a gorgeous home, and it had been lovingly cared for. Our family had many years of happy memories there. It was an emotional thing, is what I’m saying. No one wanted to sell, but it was the only practical thing to be done. None of us needed a house just then, especially one that size. Though everyone hated to see it pass out of the family, my mother, aunt, and uncles decided to sell.
After a year or so, a group of women bought the house. My understanding was that they planned to use it as a shelter for abused women. Now, to say that this home (on six plus acres) in a rural part of a county that’s a hundred miles east of nowhere is an unusual place for a shelter would be an understatement. Whatever. They bought the place.
What The Shelter Women did not purchase, was my uncle’s house, which is next door and shares a driveway. We’ll call my uncle Harley, because he would not appreciate having his actual name on the Internet. The government, and all that.
The Shelter Women want Harley to leave.
They have told him, multiple times, that he cannot stay there, as the women who will be given shelter have been traumatized, and will not like having a strange man so close by–I’m paraphrasing, but this was the gist of it. Harley would be happy to leave if the Shelter Women would buy him out. They just want him to leave.
The Shelter Women have never moved into the house, but periodically they come by. I think my uncle watches for them, and maybe goes outside and acts extra crazy just for fun–maybe shoots something. (He once took out two squirrels with one shot.)
So, The Shelter Women showed up a few weeks back with a minister of undetermined theology. He didn’t speak English, and my uncle didn’t recognize whatever language he was speaking, but the minister’s mission that day was to exorcise the property.
Recently, The Shelter Women have become upset that my family didn’t tell them the house was haunted. Listen, my grandparents lived in that house for thirty years. My grandmother lived there for seven years by herself. There were no ghosts. (At least if there were, they were well-mannered and quiet.)
But the minister, nevertheless, went into the house with a bottle of what was presumably holy water.
Then, he walked all over the yard sprinkling and chanting.
Then they–The Shelter Women and the minister–came next door and asked if they could sprinkle Harley’s yard. He’s an easy-going guy, so he said, “Sure, why not?”
Then, they wanted to sprinkle Harley.
I think they settled for rubbing his head with some of the water in the bottle. What the minister was chanting is anyone’s guess. Hey, they can sprinkle Harley with whatever they want to, but unless they come up with some money, he’s not moving.
Poor Dad. With drama like this, his acid reflux got no attention whatsoever.
I really need to go home more often. And take a tape recorder. You can’t make this stuff up.