Maybe it's just that my family's memories are like elephants, but at this year's family Christmas party, the talk ultimately turned to ghosts that the family has experienced.
My Aunt Linda chuckled over her ghost being on 'the web' and my mother acted a little proud and embarrassed to acknowledge Elizabeth. But it was my father, of all people, the quietest out of all of us and the one who usually scoffs at our 'ghost prattle', that came out with a story that confused and intrigued even us.
He began with, "Well, I was little, and staying with my Grandfather at their old farmhouse just outside of Philadelphia. My older brother, Bobby and I would sleep in a little room that used to be our father's before he moved out.
One night Bobby and I had been out playing all day and were a little more excited than we should have been to sleep. To tire ourselves out, we started wrestling and finally gave up on that when Granddad yelled at us that we were making too much noise. Well, we took to telling each other ghost stories, like boys will do to scare each other and see who's the bravest.
Bobby was in the middle of a tale and suddenly the bed started shaking something awful, and on a hardwood floor, it makes a hell of a lot of noise. Once the bed stopped shaking, we began to hear something over near one of the corners whispering incoherently and in a strange language.
Not thinking that there might have been something under the bed making it move that way, we both crawled under the bed and huddled together, waiting for Granddad to come rescue us. Certainly he would be up after us after all the noise the bed made banging on the floor. After several minutes, however, it became apparent that Granddad just wasn't coming and we climbed back onto the bed, pulling the covers over our heads and holding each other, shaking until dawn broke, still finding both of us awake.
That morning, at breakfast, we both recounted the story to a skeptical Grandma and an amused Granddad. Granddad finally said we both must've been asleep or one of us was snoring, because he would have heard if the bed had made that much noise. The only sound he'd heard out of us last night was when one of us fell out of bed while wrestling."
He shrugged amidst grins and everyone nodded, acknowledging his story as the gospel and another person took his turn. Frankly, it was a story I'd never heard from him and was glad he spoke up to say he believed despite all his scoffing...