From the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past

from Thanksgiving 2013:

it would be very tempting to go buy a TV on black friday. there is a 50″ flat screen on Target for the holiday sales for only $229. walmart has one for $178-40″. this is cheaper than even their 32″, usually over $200. we don’t have a flat screen, we’ve got an old school tube tv and it is crazy heavy. but it’s 32″, in good condition and perfectly good enough.
i won’t support the holiday shopping that has become insane. i won’t support people being away from their families on thanksgiving. i won’t support the ever-increasing need to have more and more shit. i won’t support buying gifts for myself when others are in need. i won’t buy gifts for other people who don’t need anything. i have the money to buy a TV finally, at a good price, but i won’t expose my child to the ridiculous crowds assembled to fight each other for things. i won’t stand in line for hours upon hours to save a few dollars. i won’t buy into the hype.
what i will do is…stock a local food pantry that we had to use this year. be thankful for God’s providence. be thankful i’m not in jail becuz i just filed bankruptcy and in this beautiful country, just becuz i owe money i can’t pay, the gov’t. will allow me to have my debt forgiven even if we have had hard times, been sick or just plain reckless. i will be thankful that even tho i don’t have alot of money i have been able to stay at home with my child and be here for her. i don’t have to give up my child becuz i made a mistake. i can eat a thanksgiving meal with my family w/o sitting in jail for owing money.
i am not going to take for granted every single blessing i have including a TV that works. thankful that i don’t have to stand for hours in the cold to buy a TV i don’t need. thankful that i can spend the holiday with my family, enjoying each other’s company instead of fighting strangers over things and money. i wish more people would not shop on thanksgiving. you are supporting an entire industry that is only focused on getting more and more of your dollars.
i’m going to save my money this year becuz i might lose my house. i’m going to save my money for the move we might have to make. i’m going to do the responsible thing for once and live like Dave Ramsey says. i’m going to live with eternity in mind, not focus on what i can shove in my face, cram in my eyes and muddle up in my mind. i’m not going to focus on material possessions this year. i’m going to focus on God’s ever-present benevolence and grace on my poor, undeserving soul.


who woulda thought i would be in florida in 4 years time?? with a flat screen. 😀 still saving and pinching those pennies.

Ghost (almost)

So! I’m starting a new section on my blog: ghost stories. Real-life ghost stories or what I thought were ghosts. Usually there was/is an explanation for whatever occurred, but sometimes, just sometimes, I could only guess at the reason my heart was racing and goosebumps were rising. I don’t really believe in ghosts. But I also don’t not believe in ghosts. I’m a skeptic. But I would love to see a ghost.

I have been fascinated by TV programs about ghosts from a young age. Murder mysteries, Scooby-Doo, Murder She Wrote, Sherlock Holmes, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Unsolved Mysteries, TAPS, Celebrity Ghost Stories. Anything. I watched The Exorcist and couldn’t sleep for 3 days. If I think about that movie at night, I don’t sleep for hours. That sh!t is scary. It could happen. LOL


My first memory of a ghost experience was when I was about 8 years old. I think. I was over the age of 5, I know that, and I was at home with my sister for a few hours while my mother ran an errand. (This was the 80s, when parents left their children under 10 alone at home for a few hours. Totally normal!)

I was watching TV, sitting on the couch. The couch was orange with big flowers. The same couch that everyone bought in the 70s. My parents had that couch for 20 years or more. Mainly because you couldn’t ruin it. Spills, urine, mud, urine. Nothing could end this couch. And we all secretly wanted it to die. Dirt and liquids just rolled off its back. And arms. And cushions.

babytina couch

^This is me. Sitting on the couch in 1974. So there’s photographic evidence. We had the couch for several more years after the ghost sighting. So, it had to have been 20 years old. Also, this couch existed before I did. So, actually 20+ years.

Anyway. I was curled up on the couch. Drinking a glass of water.

I put my glass of ice water down on the end table. Smooth glass bottom on sleek Formica top. I was watching some TV program with my sister, who was only 2 years older than me, and the glass slowly moved. It slid, BY ITSELF, at least 5 inches.

GAH!

Lump in my throat, frozen. Didn’t know what to do.

If I knew how to curse, I would have uttered a string of profanity impressing even my father. In my 8-year-old mind, I immediately thought, “Ghost!” At 44 though, I would have said, “F***ing ghost!”

Strangely, I didn’t leave the room. I did rocket to the other side of the long lounger and waited for my sister to exorcise the ghost.

Get it!

Was what I was thinking. But what I asked instead, “Did you see that?”

Quiet nod of affirmation.

GAH!

We hesitated, unsure what was happening or how to get rid of a ghost. I finally asked. “What do we do?”

I could tell my sister was just as frightened as I was. And just as sure that it was a f***ing ghost. It was a bizarre, surreal feeling that no words could encompass.

“Call Mom!” she realized.

Crap! The phone was by the glass. I carefully creeped over to the phone and looked around at everything! Carefully examing the atmosphere for signs of wisps or movement or sound. I, with overwhelming terror, picked up the phone and dialed. Old-school rotary dial, so I had to spend a few more seconds in the danger zone. Then I recoiled quickly to the end of the couch when I heard the ring tone begin on the line.

Our mother must have been with our grandmother or at a meeting for school (she was a bus driver for the local school district) because we knew where to reach her. (This was the early 80s, so no cell phones, pagers, tablets, email, etc. You had to know where someone was going to reach them by phone! LOL)

I called. “Mom! There’s a ghost! My glass moved by itself!”

No laughing. No incredulity. No “have you lost your mind?” No dial tone of hanging up on me for telling tall tales. “Is there water under the glass?”

I checked. Water!

She instantly knew. Had she been haunted by the old water-under-the-glass ghost before? How did she know?

The glass of ice water had sweat dripping off the sides and pooling under the glass. I had a quick lesson in condensation. The slick surfaces had magically moved my drink. It wasn’t a ghost. It was science! lol I wasn’t totally convinced. But after a few hours and my mother’s return home, we moved on.

My point though–I thought there was a ghost. Those horrible feelings you have when you’re alone or isolated. The creepy cast that comes over a lonely street in the witching hour. Darkened hallways on moonless midnights. The terrible paranoia of being watched. The blood-pumping, heart-pounding sense of a madman lurking around the corner. Hair-raising, teeth-chattering spooky specters of psychosis.

It doesn’t matter if it IS real. It feels real. Right?


I have many more ghost stories that I’ll add over the next several days. Some much
more serious. And please, leave your ghost story in the comments or email me at martha.maggio@sbcglobal.net. Tell me your personal ghost or almost-ghost stories and I’ll pick my favorite ones to repost with your permission.