If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Ghost of Thanksgiving

Snow swirled in the late shadows of twilight.  The wind swept the tiny snowflakes into a frenzy.  Although not much snow was actually falling the 40 mph winds turned it into a whiteout. 
The bamboo wind chimes hanging out back screamed for mercy and the sound was of dry bones clattering.  The sweet pa-donk of summer was gone.  Fed to the fury of the wind and snow. 

Outside of the snow filled corners of the window of which he gazed the temperature dropped rapidly.
Darkness was coming.  It always did but on this night it seemed blacker, bleaker.  The darkness not only filled the day but filled his heart.  As if in tune with the outside he turned cold.  Cold as the steel that made up the wheelbarrow leaning against his shed.  As cold as the snow clinging desperately to the bark of the trees, not wanting to be swept away.  The same tree where once a colorful bird feeder  and hammock had called home.  They had swung in the gentle summer breezes and he had lain there watching the song birds flit back an forth.  The hammock had died, torn apart by the winds and now the feeder swung violently in the winds.  Threatening to leave its post and give in to the howling mania.

These times were hard on the man that emptily stared from that window.  If a tear would have threatened to fall it may have turned to ice as it rolled from his cheek.  He could no longer afford himself to feel the pain which had accompanied him for so long now.  His constant companion, his only true friend.  Never faltering it had been with him from the beginning. 

He reached for the bottle and took another drink.  His other friend.  The only one that could hold sway over the other.  It wasn't the cold that numbed him now.  He slipped, drink by drink, into the abyss of blackness.  Here it was safe, if only for awhile he could rest.

It was this time last year that his 3rd child had disappeared.  On the day that he was supposed to give thanks and gorge on turkey and pumpkin pie.  Instead of family and friends it was the stark hallways of the hospital.  The smell of disinfectant.  The apologies.  Everything has a reason.  The look on his poor wife's face as she endured the suffering for the third time.  Her tears, meant for him slid slowly from her face and left dark spots on the green hospital gown.  The things he remembered, the details.  The devil is in the details and that day was all the devils. 

He had changed that day.  I suppose anyone would but on that day his heart had finally given out, given up.  He simply stood.  He stared into the night.

A car drove slowly down the road, fighting the wind and snow.  Returning home from a wonderful family feast.  the smell of leftover turkey and stuffing emanated form the back seat where his children slept.  Tired from a long day at Grandmas and stuffed with food they had not taken long to fall asleep in the warm confines of the car.  He glanced at his wife who smiled back at him. 
The car was moving slow.  The weather had made driving at regular posted speeds almost impossible.  He gripped the wheel tight and made his way down the hill towards the river.  Close to the bottom of the hill he dared a glance out the side window.  Past his wife's face and what he saw almost made him lose control of the car.  Through the windswept snow he noticed the house.  Only one light was on and staring at him through the frosted glass was a ghost.  His heart leaped and skipped a few beats.  The sullen white figure in the window seemed to see through him.  To something on the other side.  The sadness in the face, the coldness.  Just as quick as he noticed the figure was gone as the house slid by.  The car crossed the bridge over the river and sailed out of sight.  The man behind the wheel would never be able to get the sight out of his mind.  The ghost of Thanksgiving.

As the car slipped into the blackness of the night the ghost reached for his bottle. 


  1. t's time to write the book. I think you are ready to tackle it. I know it won't be easy but it's time. For many reasons, but I know of three for certain...it's a story that has made and broken and remade a man.

    Maybe this journey is meant for sharing...maybe that is its ultimate purpose.

    I have taken the time, with a good strong coffee at my side, and revisited many of your posts...even 'Johnnies got knuckles' which left me wanting more of the story...but I suppose the story is subliminally woven into many a post. It would be interesting to read the rest.

    What I have discovered with my writing is the closer to home the topic the more difficult it is to get my words to stick to paper...it's like those experiences are best let out in very small cryptic doses so as not to disturb the demons laying along side of them, like sentinels guarding the entrance to Hell. On occasion when I put forth a piece of me I see it is not a clear path but one woven into the hard terrain and bleak landscape which often leaves a reader scratching their head...only those that have weathered such a place know what the words really mean.

    I just want to say, as of late, I read between the lines and sense the chasm is growing and the rent in you heart is wider and soon it will engulf you - unless you find a way to embrace the needle and stitch the gaping hole together. You will never lose sight of the ragged scar...but maybe the scar needs to be seen and needs it's place outside of you...in your writing, in a book...it's time.

    I feel the immense and utter sadness weighing heavy on your shoulders...I am sad too...I find myself unable to really know what to say - so it appears I am filling your emptiness with ramblings. This may be a good time to stop. Hugs to you, dear Bushman.

  2. Bushman, I cannot begin to understand the amount of suffering you have been through, and continue to go through on a daily basis. I am so sorry for your devastating losses. This was beautifully written, and I think that you should give Jenny's advice some serious consideration.


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