Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Ghost At The Top Of The Stairs (A Story)

Lots of news coverage from the past this week, including the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the 95th anniversary of taking of Vimy Ridge - ghosts of times past. Conveniently,  I was reminded of a story.

A friend of mine grew up in an old house in the country. Her mother, who I'll call Maddy, was of the hippy persuasion and she harbored a deference for both other schools of thought and clean laundry. So ingrained was her respect for other living, growing things that she would apologize to potatoes before peeling them. Hippies were like that.

When Maddy and her young family first moved in to the house, she told her daughter years later, she thought she felt there was something "different" about the house but she gave it no real thought.

The washing machine in this house was on the second floor, accessed by a back staircase from the kitchen. Every time Maddy went up the staircase with a full basket of laundry she would feel herself being gently pushed back. As it continued day after day she understood there must be a spirit in the house who was just trying to let its presence be known. Maddy was okay with that. She was quite willing to share the house with a spirit. After a while she got used to having to spend a bit of extra energy getting up the back stairs to the washing machine. And life carried on.

Then one day, Maddy was not feeling well. She had been up all night with a sick child and as she began going up the stairs with a load of laundry she felt an especially strong push back, one that threatened to knock her back down the steps. Perhaps it was her tiredness combined with a momentary fear of falling that caused her frustration to boil over and she quite uncharacteristically shouted, "Oh look, bugger off! I'm tired of your trying to push me back whenever I come up these steps, I'm not feeling well, I don't care who you are or what your reasons are but I just don't need this today. So, STOP IT!" (Actual wording changed to allow publication.) She then caught her breath, felt a bit guilty for yelling and continued up the stairs unencumbered, never to feel the push again.

No great moral here, but since I heard this story whenever I have felt something holding me back I remember Maddy's story. And my friends have gotten used to me yelling into thin air.

18 comments:

  1. I love this for all the right, and wrong reasons. A lovely, gentle tale perfectly written to capture the mood.
    And then, the last paragraph...and the very devil enters my soul as the sentence concludes "whenever I have felt something holding me back I remember Maddy's story..."
    Suddenly, I'm listening to the BBC World Service, "Thought For Today" and the voice of the invited priest adding..."and this always reminds me of Our Lord Jesus Christ when he...

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    1. Thank you for your comments. I certainly didn't mean to be preachy. Perhaps we should take a poll as to whether I should delete that last paragraph... :)

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  2. Well, nothing tends to remind me of Jesus Christ unless I'm in an old church or an art museum, so I can't go there. But my mother-in-law (who did believe in Tommy's lord Jesus Christ) had a little ghost that followed her from house to house. It would make things disappear and then reappear in the most unexpected places. It also slammed a few doors over the years, even if there was no wind and no open windows.

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    1. I think I knew that ghost. Made my car keys appear in the freezer once.

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  3. That's an absolutely wonderful tale. Who of us hasn't felt that push back one time or another in our lives? I don't know if you've edited your earliest posting because I'm not seeing God in the words, nor even in between the lines. I'm with Maddy. Give 'em hell!

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    1. Thanks Kristy. No, it hasn't been edited. Maddy was a neat person, s'truth.

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  4. Are you saying old hippies swear? What about the peace/love stuff? Sometimes we write stuff that sparks other people's personal associations. I don't see anything religious here. I had a ghost like Maddy's once. She made me paranoid about housekeeping and shutting kitchen cupboards. It was a very old house that had been split into different apartments. When I told the downstairs tenants about her, they said she lived with them most of the time. I would've preferred if she lived with them all of the time :)

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    1. I think they just thought of words as elements of self-expression, without classifying them. And I think Tommy was just commenting on the format of the post reminding him of the format of a BBC program.

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  5. Sometimes, I feel a presence just over my shoulder, and as I turn my head to look, I swear Grand-maman Rose skips away just out of sight.

    Maddy's spirit made me think of that. I think Maddy's spirit and Grand-maman Rose are having a good chuckle over a strong drink of something fruity, putting us on the way they do.

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    1. Thanks Lynn Marie! Appreciate your fun insight!

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  6. Sorry I missed this Rand. I have to pick up my reading pace. Been so nasty busy. I've never felt the presence of a ghost, but I am an old hippy. Please note that being old I no longer have anything in the way of hips or a bu...never mind. Old hippy men and women both...do shrink. Wait. I ran off the tracks, didn't I. I have a friend like Mandy. Her name is.....Rose. She's connected somehow too. It may seem odd to feel the presence of something spirit like to most of us, but Rose make's it seem comforting. Perhaps if we all spent less time stressing out about day to day and tossed away some time speaking to the plants and spent some time listening, I mean really listening and looking, we might catch site of things much bigger then we are. I like the whole idea of ghosts. "We are not alone". Love to speak to my favorite great aunt again. I really miss her.

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    1. I love this Mike. A lot of wonderful thoughts. Thanks. Good to hear you're busy!

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  7. ah nothing like a good hippy ghost seeing story - can ya the joint dude

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  8. hey rand if you've got a moment would like u to have a look at a little piece i wrote
    about trying to get my foot in the door to
    the world of advertising - as a fellow Hamiltonian thought I would do some sharing - after reading some of your work I figured this
    spoof is right up your alley - if anything
    it might inspire you to add another recipe
    to your chien chaud collection (the spoof has gorillas, egos and bananas) - you can check
    it out on my hub page (how to get a job as
    a copywriter) - erinmontemurro hub pages - would love to hear what you think - cheers

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    1. Would be happy to have a look Erin. :)

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    2. Fun, fun and more fun. Thanks for sharing. You obviously have a passion Erin! Keep writing!

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  9. thx rand - feedback much appreciated , will continue to follow your blog, gotta say i like your slant on life...

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