Friday, January 29, 2016

Haunted Holidays

Haunted Holidays: Twelve Months of Kentucky Ghosts is the current title Roberta Simpson and her husband, Lonnie Brown have added to their long list of exceptional ghost story collections that take place in South Central Kentucky.
   Their stories have entertained thousands and over the years people have told them about their experiences with ghosts. Many of these stories have ended up in previous collections by the Browns. This year they realized they had accumulated a trove of ghost stories that center around the various holidays we celebrate, not just Halloween.
   As they state in their introduction ghost stories originally were told during the Christmas holidays as witness Charles Dickens; famous A Christmas Carol.
    Haunted Holidays begins with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and continues through the year to New Year's Day for 16 specific holidays. Several stories are included for each for each specific holiday.
   When I first began reading I'd planned to read through the collection on a specific holiday, but their stories were so fascinating I kept turning the pages. I knew some of the places they were describing and through their writing I became acquainted with the people who had shared their experience with Roberta and Lonnie.
   Their stories invoke a deliciousness of being frightened, but safe at the same time. Most of their ghosts go about their own ghostly business what ever that is? Some of the ghosts lend a helping hand to loved oe in times of great need when danger threatens them.
   At times they delve into the paranormal when persons disappear and are never seen again. Questions remain, did they meet foul play? No one knows except once they were there and then they were gone.
   All of the stories are for the sole purpose of entertainment and to be told for enjoyment on days like last week when all one can do is watch it snow and the satellite dish is coated with ice blocking the signal.
   We are included when Roberta and Lonnie tell of a visit to the local movie theater, which is now a playhouse and other places in Ono County. They brought their friend, Susan Brown, who has an amazing ability to communicate with ghosts.
   Several months earlier I'd taken a photo of a house on a road near our home where a man was murdered. When it was viewed on the computer the photo showed an orb (psychic energy) hovering near the roof on the side of the house. I'd sent it to Roberta as Nash was skeptical and thought I'd caught a rain drop on the lens. No one can tell for sure, but it remain my only "possible or probable" photograph of a ghost.
   Susan and I were standing on the road in front of the house. Lonnie, Nash, and Roberta had walked down the road a piece. We has no intention of trespassing or collecting chiggers and deer ticks from the weeds. Susan was using copper rods and asking questions. I was watching the rods move in a lazy fashion. The she clearly asked, "Is there anything we can do?" The rods slammed violently crosswise in a definite, "No." I lost any doubt. There was a presence that wanted us to clear out and mind our own business.
   The Brown's books are published by the University Press of Kentucky and are available on Amazon. When you see them I'm sure they have copies they are willing to sign in the trunk of their car. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Proverbs: It is Said

Somewhere in the 1960s there was a book published with a title near to How to Lie with Statistics. We proclaim that 23% of something is harmful. Are we actually lying or ignoring the 77% as if it doesn't exist to prove a point? I'm not sure if that was the correct title, but it brings to mind how we use old proverbs or adages as illustrations of our thoughts.
At times the short sentences trip from our tongue without our even being aware of where they became a part of our vocabulary. We see them printed on plaques, on billboards, or used a filler in bulletins, magazines, and newspapers.
   Benjamin Franklin used proverbs in his Poor Richard's Almanac and they are what survives today to be printed over and over in multiple editions. The real fun is collecting proverbs that contradict each other.
   Nash is skilled at ferreting out the twists and is always on the lookout for more to add to the file though I'm a bit skeptical that he isn't stretching it a bit. We're throwing out a few for you to remember and enjoy. You've heard these most of your life, just as we have.

   Too many cooks spoil the broth. Many hands make light work.

   Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Out of sight, out of mind.

   The seed you sow, another reaps. As you sow, so shall you reap.

   Two birds of prey do not keep company. Birds of a feather flock together.

   Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Be sure you are right, then go ahead.

   A formal fool speaks naught but proverbs. A proverb is one man's wit and all men's wisdom.

   Success makes some crimes honorable. No wickedness has any ground of reason.

   Never do evil that good may come of it. The end justifies the means.

   Fortune helps the bold. Good fortune ever fights on the side of the prudent.

   He who would fine must seek. Everything comes to him who waits.

   By education most have been mislead. Education makes the man.

   Push on, keep moving. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

  When you consider proverbs, which we were taught is the collective wisdom of the ages, in this light is it any wonder we're often confused? Both are plausible until they are looked at side-by-side.
   Does anyone have others we can add to our dozen? We'd love to have them for our collection.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How Dry is Dry?

The county is preparing for a special election to allow liquor sales within the county limits. It is a battle that has waged for over 80 years and the pain runs deep on both sides of the issue. This action may seem strange to those who view the citizens from places where such sales are common.
   I'm not sure when the use of alcoholic beverages became twisted with religious beliefs since according to all indications they've been used from the time of the cavemen down to the present day all over the world. The ancient Egyptians painted murals of wine making on the walls of their temples, hence we know exactly what process they used.
   When Charles II regained the English throne, he was desperate for money and used taxes and licenses for the production and sale of fermented spirits to raise those funds. As a result all home brewing and plant manufacture came under government jurisdiction. This act also spawned major smuggling operations as did the years of prohibition in the United States, which made lawbreakers out of normal everyday citizens who resent being told not to do something that has been a part of their family tradition for centuries.
   It is still true, the real issue is legal sales as the county has never been dry. Smugglers (bootleggers) always have networks into an area where legal sales are prohibited and work hard to maintain their source of revenue. A former manager of one of the golf courses told me they could almost pay the property taxes by picking up beer cans left on the greens and recycling them.
   I'm indebted to the late Syrilda Dunbar Wilson's Memories of My Days on the Cumberland (p26-28) for her essays on when liquor production was legal in the county. Many familiar respected family names population the pages. The above photograph was provided by the historical society. It is a copy of an early family brandy operation.
   "Mr. Robertson McKinley was a 'cooper' by trade. He made the barrels used to age the brandy." In modern terms this is called a "spin-off" industry. Mrs. Wilson pointed out a significant factor: the manufacture of alcoholic beverages provided both jobs and income for the county in terms of license fees and taxes on sales.

   We are both teetotalers and have no vested interest in the issue either way. We favor a Yes vote because we do not support any ideas where the many are held hostage by a few.
   Nash is allergic to anything fermented, which includes ginger ale and root beer. I do think that wine could not be more harmful to ones health than drinking the tap water which leaves a green growth in the Brita filter pitcher if allow to sit more than three days.