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Father Knows Best


In my first story, My Mother's Poodle, I was age eleven. This time I'll share one from my twelfth year. I grew up in Pittsburg, Ca. I have four brothers and no sisters. My father and mother were and are still together - 59 years strong. For fun, on weekends our entire family used to go for hikes up at the Black Diamond Mines park.

The Black Diamond Mines park is beautiful, historic, and one of my all time favorite places to visit. Even though I live half a continent away, I still feel myself drawn to it. Inside the park, up a winding dirt road, is Rose Hill Cemetery. My father insisted we always visit the cemetery to pay our respects before heading out to explore the trails. He was and still is a stickler for respecting both the living and the dead. Anything other than 'Yes, Sir.' when told to do something, or in answer to a question could earn a backhand across the mouth for disrespect. Heaven forbid a kid should backtalk or curse at/in the presence of an adult, especially a lady. That will earn you a belt across the backside.

One weekend, I and my youngest brother, two years younger than I, sprinted off ahead of everyone to the cemetery. We were around the curve and out of sight of the rest of my family when we reached the cemetery. Instead of being respectful as taught, my brother and I tore around the place like hooligans. We were vaulting over headstones and trampling graves with little care or respect. I'm not quite sure what happened, but suddenly my brother stopped and said, "I'm feelin' weird. I'm going to go down to Mom and Dad."

I shrugged it off, but I kind of noticed it felt off too. Like the air was heavier suddenly. I stopped running around like a wild child and wandered around a bit, reading what headstones I could, wondering about the people who were buried there. After a few minutes, I started to get creeped out. It was very quiet and still. Normally you can hear the wind blowing, hear the insects buzzing. I didn't hear any of that. Even though I was in full sunlight, I felt like I was standing in the shade. Just as I was about to head back to the road and hopefully my family, I heard a girl's giggle. I looked around expecting to see someone else hanging out. I didn't see anyone, but I heard it again, further away, heading towards the mountain side, opposite from the gate and the road where my parents were.

I actually followed the sound. It repeated two more times, each time a little further away, like it was moving to the back gate. I didn't think about not going, not following. I just did. Cliche I know, but honestly? It never occurred to me that it wasn't another kid. I was curious and I wanted to play, hang out, maybe make a friend.

I was almost to the back gate of the cemetery when someone grabbed my arm, hard. I looked around, startled, only to find my father, huffing and puffing next to me. He was flushed and sweating, he'd obvious run to catch me. My father is not affectionate, nor is he easy to rattle. He is more a 'spare the rod' type of parent and very stoic. I think it comes from him being a POW in Vietnam. He didn't yell, he didn't smack me. Instead he pulled me into a hug and practically carried me out of the cemetery and down the hill. Once we were down the hill he asked me - very shakily, like an old man - what the hell I thought I was doing following a white witch.

I told him I didn't see any 'white witch.' I was just looking for the girl who was in the cemetery. I kept hearing her laugh and wanted to find out what was so funny. My dad said he saw her, a woman made of a floating white mist, leading me away and very emphatically told me that it was no kid, and what she wanted was definitely not funny. The next day he carved a simple wood pendent out of the heart of a redwood and had my uncle do something to it, and then insisted I wear it any time we went up there. There were other things that happened there, but I never heard the girl giggle again, nor did I see the 'white witch.' My oldest brother did though, and it scared him bad enough that he actually left the state to get away from it. That isn't my story though, it's his.

I still don't know what the pendent was supposed to do, but I still have it, and when I stroke it, I still feel my fathers love and a feeling of safety, just as I did when he hugged me on that day.

I have zero excuses for my disrespectful behavior except being a disobedient kid. I can't even say I was a stupid kid, because my father always taught us to respect, and I chose not to. I knew it was wrong to behave that way, so I guess I kind of got what I deserved.

In this case, as in most of my life lessons, my father knows best.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, MaggieMay_Not, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
6 years ago (2017-11-03)
MaggieMay Not - I know I'm a little bit late but just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. We never, ever, know what is waiting around the corner. I think your dad is a great guy and I also believe he was not telling you everything for fear of scaring you.

Regards, Melda
Jubeele (26 stories) (886 posts)
6 years ago (2017-11-02)
Hi MaggieMay_Not, it's my Aussie husband's influence. According to an online Aussie slang dictionary, "chuff" is Australian Slang meaning: "to delight, to please (originally British slang (1950s); from British dialect “chuff” - proud, elated, swollen with pride, fat, chubby) ". Thanks for your lovely description of my name.

Glad to know your brother is alright. We all express our beliefs, love and caring for one another in different ways. Best wishes to you and your family. ❤
MaggieMay_Not (15 stories) (106 posts)
6 years ago (2017-11-02)
Jubeele I hope Chuffed means amused or something positive to you. To me a chuff is a sound a large animal makes in the back of it's throat and out through its mouth, almost like a cough.:) He is as protected as he will allow. He is heavily immersed in Christianity and like my mother, now avows anything outside of it as devil worship. He prays for my soul and I thank him every day for it.
Jubeele (26 stories) (886 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-30)
Oh Maggie, I'm so saddened to hear of your brother's tragic loss. Yes, it's best to respect his wishes. (Perhaps he would benefit from some form of protection/shielding too?)

When I was a child, after a few episodes of night terrors and other disturbances, my parents would burn frankincense at home for health and protection. They took precautions after I spoke of seeing a shadow man and was suddenly afraid. It's comforting when you're believed by the people closest to you and they see to your protection.

I'm so chuffed at how you described my name. I'm born in the year of the Dragon and my husband would say that he could see fireworks fly whenever I get angry! 😁
MaggieMay_Not (15 stories) (106 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-29)
EmmalineTexas - Thank you for the information. Wiccan? Interesting, I never knew. I am half tempted to ask my dad how he knew it, but... Yeah not going there.

Jubeele - thank you, I like your name, it makes me think of a dark starry sky lit by explosions of red, gold and green fireworks, sparklers glowing in the streaks as children wave them excitedly, and the a cool breeze on a hot summer night.

My brother has given me permission to discuss my memory of the conversation, but nothing else. As it is not a verified, first person account I am not entirely comfortable discussing it. Also, I think He is very smart to not open that door. A young man, my brother's best friend, died because of that incident.
Jubeele (26 stories) (886 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-27)
MaggieMay_Not, your name makes me smile. 😊

I used to get the old backhand or the bamboo switch from my Dad for "answering-back" too. Still, when I was older, I understood that didn't mean he didn't care about me. But oh, how frightening to see your strong, stoic father so rattled himself. I'm sure he does know more than what he's ever going to tell you. I'll be really interested in your brother's story too if he ever wants to share it. Both my paternal grandparents, an aunt, an uncle and a few cousins also have their share of strange experiences. This sensitivity does run in families.

I read your account last night and got gooseybumps all over. Yes, this is another one for my fav list too! 😘
EmmalineTexas (10 stories) (163 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-27)
MaggieMay - The maze pendant is Wiccan and it's intended to trap an evil spirit before it can reach the person that it's protecting. It's infused with energy. Just thought I'd pass that along. Interesting!
MaggieMay_Not (15 stories) (106 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-27)
Babygoatpuller - Thank you for the kind comment. Sorry for the delay, I've been out of town for work. I'm glad you enjoyed this little memory. To be honest, the way he said it told me I really didn't want to know and I never asked. I never will because sometimes ignorance is bliss. *blushes at the favs add. Thank you again.

EmmalineTexas - Thank you for commenting. Isn't it funny how so many people from that era, and their children recognize these behaviors? Still, he may be a disciplinarian, but I wouldn't change him for the world. My father is very sensitive and attributes his survival in Vietnam and Korea to that sensitivity. He never discussed it with me, but it was an not-talked-about fact that he is connected more deeply to the 'other' plane. He was always careful to be respectful of the dead and he never gave a reason why, but I can guess, you see he grew up next door to a cemetery. Also his brother, my uncle, was actively practicing what my mother called devil worship. Our family had a falling out over it, so I never really knew exactly what Jim was into, but as he is the person I and my father used to see in 2 places at once (ie out on the porch and asleep on the couch) I think it is safe to say he was very gifted.

Lady_Glow - Thanks for the compliment. I can't really say. I tend to accept things and not question, especially in relation to my uncle. The pendent is carved with what is either a maze or a spiral shell. I don't really know. There isn't really a center to the maze/shell and there is no exit, only dead ends after the entrance. Is it religious? No clue. Dad carved it, uncle took it for a few days, and it was back by the weekend.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3157 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-26)
MM_N: beautiful and interesting story.
Just curious, does the pendant represent a religious symbol?

Thanks for sharing.
EmmalineTexas (10 stories) (163 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-26)
MaggieMay - Thank you for such a great story. I'm the child of a Vietnam Vet and I completely understand answering with a Yes, Sir or No, Sir. It's interesting that he always wanted to pay respects in a graveyard. Something tells me he had a gift that he didn't talk about and when he knew you had it too, it scared him to death. ❤
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
6 years ago (2017-10-26)
Wow MaggieMay! Just WOW! This was such a great read. I could almost feel your father's fear the way you've written this. No telling what would have happened if he hadn't finally caught up to you. He obviously knew it wasn't anything good.

Did he ever elaborate on what the outcome could have/would have been had he not found you? I've heard/read about Rose Hill Cemetery. None of it was good. Could you please talk to your brother and ask him if you could share his story here?

Thanks for sharing. Going to my favs.

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