Thursday, October 31, 2013

Haints




When I was ten years old we moved to this old two story house. I had mixed feelings about the place but I kept quite as a mouse.

It was an icon of the community, been there for many a year. Many families had moved in and out, I always wondered if ghosts did appear.

Haints they called them back then, and scary as could be. My daddy told so many haint tales he scared the living daylights out of me.

And there were quite a few told about the old house and how they came to be. That's why I had mixed feelings but I had to go along with the family.

I never told my brothers or sister for fear they'd tell. I let them find it out on their own. Being the scardy cats they were, they would have cried their eyes out wanting to go back to our old home.

They were all younger than me and looked up to me. I had to be a role model the best I could be.

That old place had the most beautiful and biggest yard we'd ever seen. We wasn't used to a yard with grass, much less green.

It stretched all the way to the main road and we could see cars go by. We'd never been used to that either, thought we'd died and gone to that home in the sky.

We'd run and play all the live long day, come in at suppertime starved half to death and go back outside and play.

Until dark thirty came and we'd all shiver and frown. We could hear them old stairs creaking and them haints coming down.

And there's something about an old creaky stairway. It'll give you goose bumps and make your heart stop night or day.

The whole time we lived there, we never slept upstairs. We'd all sleep together or in pairs.

Except for a few times when some us were brave enough to take the dares. Didn't last long up there, before we came running back down them stairs.

Mama said, you kids beat all I've ever seen. Ya'll will run up and down them stairs all day and then you're scared of your shadow, I ought to break me a limb that's keen.

I said, But mama there's haints up there, they only come out at night. And mama said, whoever told you that I do declare is in for a big fight.

Then I said, it was daddy that told us one time. He told us about a headless girl walking down them old stairs and other people has told it many a time.

She was fit to be tied by then. She was actin like an old sittin hen, getting ready to flog daddy and he wasn't even there to defend.

He was off at work somewhere down south. He was gone a lot and we always missed him but we got by with more and you didn't hear that come out of my mouth.
  
It was even more scary at night when daddy was gone. We'd go to bed and couldn't sleep, all we could hear was a moan or groan.

And it always came from upstairs somewhere. I swear that was the creakiest and scariest place I've ever slept at anywhere.

One night I could have sworn I saw a woman in a white dress standing in the hallway. I never slept a wink, just shut my eyes praying for the light of day.

And the very next night I saw her again. She had a little girl with her and they turned around and grinned.

I ran and jumped in the bed with mama, fast as I could run. Woke her up and after almost giving her a heart attack she said, your daddy's scary tale days are over and done.

And now that I think about it all today, I believe she did give him a good talking. But that didn't stop him none, he loved his talking.

I'll never forget when he told about the incident over in the lane. Said he was walking home one night and he heard a horse coming and it passed him on by, rattling a chain.

He said he never did see it, he looked really close but it wasn't there. Just the galloping sound, the chain and the horse in thin air.

After that night he said every time he walked through, he'd walk along the side of the road when the noise of the chain grew and grew.

He told about another mysterious happening over in that scary lane. People had told him they'd heard a baby crying in the distance so plain. 

He never paid much attention to what people said back then. My daddy was a brave and courageous man, he'd just grin.

But one particular night he was walking through there on his way home. He heard that baby crying so loud, it really disturbed him the worst he'd ever known. 

There had been a lot of tales about a baby being dropped in a well. According to what daddy said, that crying went on for quite a spell.

Then he told how someone run him all the way in home one night. He met a strange man up the road a piece, walking in the opposite direction and it gave him quite a fright..

The man had his head down and never said a word when daddy spoke. The next thing daddy knew he was coming up behind him, in a fast run and daddy said that was no joke.

He even had his face covered with a mask and needless to say daddy was scared to death. He didn't even take time to go across the little footlog while crossing the creek, out of breath.

And when daddy hit the front porch steps that feller was standing in the road at the top of hill. Daddy never did find out who he was, said he meant to kill him and that's for real.

After he told us that we knew why daddy never did like Halloween. All of those scary masks brought it all back the worst he'd ever seen.

Now after such talk as this, in that old house sleep never became our friend. That house was haunted and those haints wanted us out faster than we came in.

But we never did see or hear anything after daylight. It was only when we went to bed those haints came out, when everything got quiet.

And that old house had the most room. It had a living room, kitchen, dining room and I bet there were at least five bedrooms and of course no bathroom.

Yep, we had to run outside to do our business and such. Although we'd never had a bathroom before, after dark we didn't like that much.

One night my oldest brother went out the back door to take care of  business like all the nights before and we heard a blood curdling scream as he pounced through the door.

Said he saw somebody standing out there in the back yard. He said it was some old man and he was watching him and he was breathing really hard.

My mama was the braviest woman I've ever known. She told us kids to get in the bed as she grabbed a big stick over by the fireplace and went out the door and hollered, make yourself known or you're the same as dead.

We were all huddled together crying for fear we'd lose our mama when she came back in. She told us there wasn't anybody out there, get in the bed I'm not gonna tell you again.

Come mornings we were up and at em before a cat could lick. Except when it came time to go to school, we all came down really bad sick.

Especially when daddy was gone for quite a while. We used the excuse of having the belly ache and when the bus run we were in fine fashion and style.

Until the weekend rolled around and time for daddy to come home. I'll never forget many a time I put two pair of britches on.

We'd get him off on telling them old haint tales every time. It worked like a clock bell ringing it's chime. Until just before he left again and that hickory limb hit our behind.

We lived in that old house several years before we moved back to our old place. We were living there when President Kennedy died, such an awful time for the country to face.

Since we had managed to get our first ever TV with only one channel, it was on day and night constantly.

We'd run through the house stop and take a peep and run back down them old steps, fast as we could leap. Being kids, we didn't know or understand. We just knew our President was gone and mama said he was gone to that Promised Land.

But after all was said and done and I look back on it today, we really enjoyed living in that old house more than we would say.

Because the day we moved my brother said something that was on all of our minds. Goodbye old house, even if you are haunted we had a good time.

                                                   ©  Susie Swanson, 2013
             
                                                    Happy Halloween.

If anyone wants a copy of my New Book, Echoes Of Time  the info is at the top of the page under the pic of my book. thanks, Susie

11 comments:

  1. What a beautiful old house, even if it is filled with Haints! This is a great poem, it brought back many a memory of when my dad would scare us, not with stories but silly pranks! Good memories:)

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    1. Thank you Lise. I know what you mean, my dad scared us all to death telling those old tales.

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  2. A great Halloween post Susie!!

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  3. Love it, Susie… It's awesome and brings back so many memories. My Aunts had a big, scary house when I was a little girl and would visit them. That ole house had a certain smell to it --and the stairs and floors creaked…. I was certain it was haunted!!!!!! Thanks for the memories.

    We have rain/severe storms/wind up our way today… Sad for all of the little trick-or-treaters out tonight….

    Happy Halloween! Stay safe.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Thanks Betsy. your post really brought the memories back for me. i love old houses. I figured ya'll were already getting wet. It hasn't quite got here yet. Happy Halloween to you.

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  4. Oh my such scary tales! Happy Halloween, Susie!

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  5. That's certainly a great poem for Halloween, Susie! Very enjoyable to read.

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