Goat Man Rides Again

Do you believe in ghosts? I didn’t used to. . . but I didn’t not believe in them either. Who was I to say they didn’t exist, just because I had never seen one? Then, one night a couple of years after my grandmother died, i was in Warner Robins, rocking Rollie to sleep in the room my grandmother died in.

And I. . . I smelled her. I sensed her there with me. It was one of the most peaceful, amazing experiences I have ever had. There is no doubt in my mind that she was there with me, and with Rollie, and that she wanted to see him.

I know, crazy, right?

But sometimes I feel close to my grandparents, even when I know they are not really there. I feel closest to my grandfather at the lake, when I am working in the yard, especially up by the pump house, where he pointed out the spirea and Althea to me, and near the burn pile. His chair is still there, rake sitting by it, waiting to rake up stray embers when the pile is burning. I can almost feel him when i look at the majestic camellia he planted, or the muscadine vines on their trellis. I can stand in the pine island by the driveway, amidst the azaleas and hydrangeas he dug up at Aunt Lessie’s in Savannah, and transplanted there at the lake. I remember going to the woods with him to find dogwood and redbud saplings and bring them home and plant them.

He is there still, if anywhere.

I think of him, sitting on the ground, his knee bad from the fall in Vietnam, using a pocket knife to dig up weeds while I worked. In winter, he would wear a pair of pants. And a plaid shirt. If he was doing masonry, he might wear an old flight suit from the base. (He called them, and overalls, dungarees. Boots were Brogans.) But usually it was the plaid shirt. Pop was grunge long before grunge. The shirts are still there. My dad and i wear them when we work in the yard.

And I always think, when I put them on, The Goat Man Rides Again!

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9 comments

  • Very interesting. You need to talk to Laura about this. She smells her grandmother from time to time.

  • I love this post. Wish I could smell either grandma. I guess I could just light a Virginia Slim 120 and do a shot of Early Times and smell Vivian.

  • Jason, that is interesting. . . it was definitely the smell that I felt first.
    Becky, that kinda made me cry. But it was good to feel her, right? A good feeling? MIne was a good feeling.
    Leelee – Grandma smelled like powder, and chewing gum, and lipstick. You remember that smell? Maybe a little Dr. Pepper. I wish I could remember what Grandma Smith smelled like. I guess it was smokes and bourbon. . .

  • I should say that I remember what Grandma S. smelled like, but I can’t put my finger on what the smell was. . .

    Jason, i think you should make Laura read my blog and come on here and tell me about her grandma smelling experience. . .

  • I woke up in the middle of the night once smelling fresh baked cinnamon rolls. I asked my mom if my grandma baked much. I didn’t know my Grandma Minden very well, but I’ve always felt a really strong connection with her. My mom looked kind of surprised and said, “Oh Mom baked all the time. She made the BEST cinnamon rolls.”

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