Friday, March 11, 2005

A Small Town Boy

It was November and the farm animals had been brought in closer to the house for the winter, the corn had been taken into town, along with the wheat and the fattest of the hogs. It was also nearly four years after Harriett had been raped in the barn where the hay lay for the horses, cows and sheep during the winter. The little boy that had been born from that stood beside his grandfather outside the barn door.
“What, George?�
“You know there’s a haunt in the barn?�
“What’d you say?� his grandfather asked and stopped dead in his tracks in front of the open door.
“A haunt! A ghost! A spirit!� said George in his excited three -year old’s voice.
“A ghost? Who told you that?�
“I saw it, Granpa! It was right there - near the hay! And it come up and was white like steam and I saw right through him! I heard ghost stories and this was a ghost!�
“Him? Boy, ghosts don’t look like people. Sides, I think I know jist what you saw.�
He took a second or two to think of a decent explanation for the boy’s curiosity and story telling. He certainly didn’t want little George to tell his mother a story of seeing a ghost in the barn, even if it wasn’t true. He was also honestly afraid that it might be a ghost, for that was where he had buried George’s father.
“Well?� George demanded.
“You know how things that are hot let off steam when they cool down, don’t you?�
“Sure - ‘cept for Gramma and Ma.� George giggled at his joke and his grandfather smiled a little, too, knowing how hot the women in the house sometimes got with their temperaments.
“The animals’ poop is under that hay and we put it there when it was warm. The hay keeps it a little warm, but you musta seen it when it was startin’ to cool down.�
“If you say so, but I think it’s a ghost! Maybe a Redcoat you kilt in the War!�
John breathed a sigh of relief and silently wondered if he should start putting manure in the corner of the barn. He took George’s hand and they walked back to the house as George told his grandfather stories about what he would do if he were a soldier.

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