Wednesday, October 28, 2015


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, 2015

                                                     Happy Halloween !!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Well I've Done It Again

Several years ago an old gentleman passed through by way of the telephone and a beautiful friendship grew.

The first time he called he'd dialed the number wrong. I could tell he was an older gentleman by his soft, spoken tone.

"I was trying to call my friend" he said, but I dialed you instead. I probably dialed one number wrong can't keep nothing straight in my head.

I told him that was ok and we talked for quite a while. When I hung up the phone there was joy in my heart and on my face a big smile.

A week or so passed before he called again. I knew who it was when I heard his voice and he said "Well I've done it again".

We talked quite a bit and he told me about his wife, a lot about his family and he said "I've lived ninety-six years and been blessed with a good life."

Then he went on to say, his wife had died several years before and he lived by himself and things weren't the same anymore.

He told me they'd been married for over fifty years and the more he talked the more I wiped away the tears.

The he said he needed to call his friend and he was sorry to have bothered me. I told him it was no bother at all., to call anytime and always feel free.

Quite a bit of time passed and I got worried about my friend, when out of the blue the phone rung and I heard those famous words, "Well I've done it again".

I tried to hold back my excitement and asked him how he'd been. He said he hadn't been doing to good and been staying with some of his kin.

"But I got tired of that ", he said "there's no place like home". "I needed to check on my friends, I've been gone to long".

"And I missed my church family and singing in the choir, I don't like letting the Lord down he's always been there".

"Through thick and thin we can always count on him, I don't know how people make it, hiding their light under a bushel and letting it grow dim".

Then he asked me how my garden was doing, I told him it was growing fine and maybe some evening we could come and get it about suppertime.

"That sounds good " he said "I'll take you up on it someday, I don't do much cooking anymore, I wind up throwing a lot away".

Then he said ",I better go and try to get a hold of my friend, he's probably worried about me to and wondering where I've been".

I hung up the phone and for some reason my heart laid heavy that day, but I went on about my business and pushed it away.

Then a strange thing happened, the most strange I've ever known, my brother knew him and he came in one morning and told me that Mr. Wade had passed on.

You could have knocked me over with a feather and my heart was broken inside. I could not for the life of me believe that Mr. Wade had died.

I walked the floor all morning, my tears continued to flow, my old friend was gone, no more phone calls would I know.

I was talking to God and thanking him for my good friend when the phone rung at ten o'clock that morning and I heard the words "Well I've done it again".

I was flabergasted and didn't know what to say, he said it instead "It sure is a pretty spring day".

I finally stopped trembling and asked him what was on my mind, "I heard someone passed away that lives close to you", I wanted it to sound kind.

He told me that was one of his neighbors that lived down the road and  the old feller had been sick for a while and then Mr's Wade's tears overflowed.

He said , "that could have easily been me you know, but when the Lord gets ready to call me home I'm ready to go".

We talked for a while and a lot of things we did share.That was a very special phone call from heaven and God answering a prayer.

After that the phone calls kept coming, wrong numbers and all and those wrong numbers were blessings from God , not small.

But all good things must come to an end, I got really worried and started calling, I figured he was staying with his kin.

But the Lord sent me an answer in his own special way, in the form of a newspaper that came one day.

I opened it up and was looking through when I came to the obituaries and there was Mr. Wade in plain view.

They'd even put a picture for me to see but I couldn't look at it much for the tears were flowing constantly.

My heart was broken, this time my friend was really gone. No more wrong numbers would I receive, and somehow I had to carry on.

Now each day I sit here waiting for the phone to ring, knowing fully well in heaven's angel choir, Mr. Wade loves to sing.

And he and his wife are walking hand and hand in that glorious place he called the promised land.

Those wonderful, cherished words "Well I've done it again" will sustain me through the ages---all truths to transcend. Friendship has no barriers---Love has no end..
                                      ©  Susie Swanson, 2015

In Memory of my Beloved Friend Mr. Wade Bryant.....1909--2005

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Antenna TV

I remember back when we had antenna TV, to turn the antenna it was a task and always took three.
One in front of the TV, one on the porch and one to climb the tree.
The one standin in front of the TV is the one that played the biggest part and held the key.


We had one brother that could climb a tree faster than a squirrel. He’d scare ye to death so bad it’d make ye hair curl.

We only got two channels and they were snowy as could be, except on a clear day and that old antenna was stuck high up in that tree.

And when it came a good, swiff wind it’d happen every time. That old TV was gone and we’d holler for him to take his daily climb.

One time we put daddy in front of the TV and on the porch was my spot to be.
My brother hadn’t been in the tree long before daddy yelled, WHOAAAA, COME ON DOWN.
On the way back down my brother slipped and hit every limb as he fell to the ground.

We all went runnin, just knowin he’d broke every bone in his body.
He got up off the ground and seemed to be alright but he walked awfully slowly.

When we went in to check out the TV, it was still snowy as could be. Daddy was sittin there with his legs crossed and said son you’re gonna get killed yet climbin that tree.

That TV was blank as ye ole hat, couldn’t see a thing. All my brother could say was Daddy what happened to the dang thing.

My brother wouldn’t climb it again when daddy was in reign. He knew there was no use or he’d have to borrow daddy’s walkin cane.

Mama got upset and had plenty to say. She told daddy the next time to
get out of the way. That young’un could’ve broke his neck and you’d still be sittin here killin the day. Sanford and Son is not worth it at all to see a young’un climb a tree and take a death fall.

Daddy sure did like his favorite show and mama always waited patiently and the anticipation continued to grow. She wouldn’t admit it but she sure did love her game show.

She actually had two she liked the best. Wheel Of fortune and The Price Is Right, was a joyful contest.

But when it came time for us to watch our favorite one of all, dog gone if company wouldn’t come to call.

Yep, just walk right in and make themselves at home. And it’d been a whole week since we’d seen The Waltons come on.

By the time they left we had to hit the tic and there’d be no TV and our wounds we had to lick and half the time my brother was using daddy’s walkin stick.

I’ll have to give credit where credit is due. When an old antenna is all you got, you learn to make do. Even if climbing a tree, it takes a whole crew.

                       © Susie Swanson, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

That Beautiful October Day

Looking back,
On the memories of
That beautiful October day
When we pledged our love

All the world was ours
Beneath the harvest sky
Hand and hand we walked
Together, you and I 

 Hopes and dreams were laid
Upon the wings of prayer 
Through the ages of time
God has gladly led us there

The journey sometimes uphill
Against bitter winds and rain
Together we’ve faced it all
Our tears were not in vain

 Love can conquer all
And tame the raging sea
 Nothing can ever compare 
When true love is meant to be

We’ve looked to God above
Been sanctified by his grace
Daily walking in his presence
Our hearts still happily embrace

A ring’s symbol is never ending
A circle of love shines new
We thank God more each day
 Vows are still fresh as morning dew

As the future rushes towards us
And hair turns silver gray
It will always feel like October
We cherish each golden day

Looking back
We’ve made it, you and I 
For forty-six cherished years 
Since that beautiful, October sky

© Susie Swanson, 2016

Oct. 10th 1970----Oct. 10th 2016

Happy Anniversary to my sweet husband.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cherished Memories

Fall has always been her favorite time of the year. Pretty blue skies, cool nights and after a hot summer it feels so refreshing. God’s beautiful, painted landscape and scenery takes her breath away and gets more beautiful every year.
 It also brings many memories to mind and October is and will always be her favorite month. Her most cherished memories are of a young woman that just turned eighteen that summer and her soldier and future husband that had just returned from Vietnam a year earlier.

To say they had a world wind courtship is putting it mildly. They met and started the courtship in August while he was on leave from Fort Bragg N.C.
When he left after his leave she was so lonely and heartbroken but they made use of their spare time writing letters. It was in one of those letters that he proposed. It was the middle of September and he told her he could get a ten day leave the first of October. They told their parents and started making plans for a world wind wedding on October 10th. It was to be a small affair with only family and friends since there was no time for anything else plus they didn’t have the money to spend on anything big or expensive.

He was to wear his Army Dress Uniform and she in her white dress. It took her and her mama a couple hours to find the dress and veil. She wasn’t to impressed with the dress till she saw the price tag and it said ten bucks. She told her mama it just looked to plain and her mama said,, “plain my hindend, I got married in a flour sack dress.” Ten bucks was a lot of money back then but they still had to get their Physicals, Blood tests and license so the cheaper the better.

They’ll never forget the day they went for their physicals, blood tests and license. First came the physicals and blood tests and when they walked out of the doctor’s office they were so happy they ran with the paper work straight to the courthouse. They walked into the Register Of Deeds Office and he must have been really busy that day cause he looked up and said, ya’ll here to get ye marriage license? They said yes, and he then said, can either one of you type? They both answered at the same time with, “I Can.” They neither one had taken any typing classes in school but what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
He told them he had to make a little trip down the hall and he’d put the necessary paper work in the typewriter and they could type in the info. He probably hadn’t eat lunch yet so he took off like a hot streak. They both sit side by side at that typewriter and he’d type a letter and then she’d type one. Needless to say, by the time he walked back in his office they didn’t have it all typed out and there stood another couple waiting to get their license. He finished it up and they paid him the three bucks and both of them tried to get through the door at the same time they were so happy.

They’d already met with the preacher at his house and he gave them a little talk about how important it was to know what marriage meant, so on and so forth. All they wanted was to get married the sooner the better.

The next couple of days they were busy as a bee. They had to pick a place to have the ceremony so both their dads would possibly come cause they knew they didn’t take to kindly to weddings. The groom’s father had 12 young’uns and hadn’t come to either one’s wedding and the bride being the oldest and first to get married in her family, she was also skeptical about her daddy being there too.

They chose her future sister in law’s house cause it was middle ground and that beautiful little fireplace looked like the ideal spot. She was overjoyed and told them she’d take care of the flowers, food etc. Between her future sister in law, her mama and his mama and all those beautiful Fall flowers in the yard they never worried a lick about it. Another reason they chose to have it there was the future father in law stayed at his daughter’s house a lot.  He’d come and stay a week at a time if he took the notion. He loved to work outside, planting apple trees and shrubbery, etc. and her daddy loved to visit and did it quite often. All the while the future sister in law cooked dinner (lunch) and any other meal for that matter cause she loved to feed everybody and could whup up a table full of food in no time, they’d both sit under the shade tree and shoot the bull, the bride’s daddy more so till they heard, “dinner’s on the table.”
 She heard her mama say to her daddy many times “keep your hindend at the house and let that ole feller do his work.” He’d just look at her and grab his walking stick and hoof it up the road.

Come the big, anticipated day, it was drizzling rain and on any other given day it would have been so dreary but no sirreee, not that one. Sure enough, the groom’s father came but the bride’s daddy said he had to slop and feed the hogs. Her mama said, “any ole excuse beats none a-tall.”

That beautiful, rainy Saturday became a day to remember and cherish the rest of their lives and they set out on a long journey following their hopes and dreams. That was forty six years ago come October 10th and the memories are still as fresh as the morning dew and beautiful as an October sky.

They’ve fulfilled their hopes and dreams and then some. Life may have knocked them down a few times but they have been there for one another through it all. Marriage never promises a Rose Garden without the thorns.

 Enduring love that’s meant to be will last forever, especially
when you’re with the one you’re suppose to be. Love knows no boundaries and can stretch into eternity.

                                           © Susie Swanson, 2016