Posts Tagged ‘The Ghost of Mrs. Crouch’

Nyel, Mrs. Crouch, and the Great Pumpkin

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Nyel’s Left Leg

Yesterday’s trip to Rebound netted Nyel a good report on progress thus far.  He was dismissed within a half hour and headed home minus the rest of his stitches, accompanied by copies of his latest X-rays and an appointment in four more weeks.  Plus, of course, the stern admonition, “Put no weight on your left foot.  None.”

The X-ray reveals eight (although the Dr. said there are more than nine) spikey looking screws that affix the metal plate to his shinbone.  Not a pretty sight!  If we hadn’t felt ready for Halloween before, we do now!  Maybe, like our ghostly Mrs. Crouch, the scary looking bone and its accoutrements is invisible, but we know it’s there!  All the time.

Spotty Delivery by the Great Pumpkin

We are also about ready to blame Mrs. C. for the disappearance of Nyel’s wedding ring.  Never mind that he’s lost enough weight so that, for the first time in 30-some years, it can just off his finger.  The fact that we’ve looked everywhere to no avail makes us highly suspicious that our ghostly resident is involved.  She’s usually not mean – just mischievous.

On the missing wedding ring front… Don, our clever plumber friend is coming later today armed with a camera with which he can search our garbage disposal without having to take it apart.  We’ve looked high and low in all the likely and unlikely places to no avail so this will be a last-ditch effort.  I am hopeful.  Nyel noticed that his ring finger was bare while drying his hands right after washing them at the kitchen sink.  We’ve not used the disposal since so… maybe.

Our Forever Pumpkin!

Meanwhile, the Great Pumpkin was apparently busy over the weekend scattering cheerful looking gourds hither and thither.  Actually, all the scattering was thither.  Like last year and the year before, no pumpkins were left in front of our house or the other pioneer Oysterville households.  We, like Linus, are not on the Great Pumpkin’s radar.  The good news, of course, is that we don’t need to deal with the rotting aftermath.

And besides, one of our friends brought us a year-round knitted pumpkin that is the perfect décor for our kitchen table!  Between that and Mrs. Crouch and Nyel’s awesome legbone, we are definitely ready for tomorrow!

Three outta four ain’t so bad, eh?

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Car Key!

Well, Nyel doesn’t really agree, but I’m thinking that we made great progress in the Lady Luck (or perhaps the Mrs. Crouch) Department yesterday. Three out of four big losses were solved!  Just like that!

First off, I found my car keys! (And just hours after we had ordered a replacement which will cost $250 for the key and another $70 to have it ‘programmed.’)  The key was in a pocket of my jacket – a pocket that I only vaguely knew was there.  And it wasn’t actually IN the pocket.  It was caught up high in the upper corner – kind of in a pocket peninsula.  I had checked it (and checked it and checked it) before.  Nothing.  This time I was picking the jacket up and felt something through the fabric…

I had long ago come to terms with the fact that the keys were in Montesano.  I was picking up the jacket to see if, by chance, Nyel’s checkbook was underneath it.  Nope. But, happily, Nyel found the checkbook a few minutes later – after, of course, he had put a hold on all our banking activity.  The check book was under the passenger seat in the car.  And while we were looking for it…

Checkbook!

Yep! I found my old coin purse – lost since last December.  Still in it was $13 in cash and my debit card which I long ago cancelled and had replaced.  That coin purse was in the pocket on the back of the passenger seat in the car.  I must have put it there for some reason but I have no memory of doing so.  And why would I?

So… my car key, Nyel’s checkbook, my coin purse – all found within fifteen minutes of one another.  Still missing:  Nyel’s car key – the only one of the four missing items that we know for sure is in the house.  Go figure.

Coin Purse!

We called Bud Cleary’s to cancel the order for my car key.  It was a tad embarrassing as it had been only an hour since we placed the order.  “No,” the man said.  “Your order can’t be cancelled.  We’ve already cut the key.”  Say what?  Before I could make a great big noisy fuss all the way to Longview, he said, “…but we can’t make you buy it.”

I can only hope that we find Nyel’s key by Monday.  That’s drive-to-Longview-and-buy-his-replacement-key-day.  Come on, Mrs. Crouch! Work with us here!

Scary Places

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Garage Workbench

Garage Workbench

There are some scary places in our house. That’s probably to be expected in a big old home that was built back in 1869. And besides, we share this place with Mrs. Crouch, our resident ghost. But even though we’ve had a few overnight guests who refuse to come back, we find Mrs. Crouch a benign (though sometimes playful) presence. She’s not connected with the scary places here,

No. The scary places are of our own making – one is in Nyel’s domain and the other is in mine. His and hers. The garage and my office. Scary and scarier.

In fairness, I have to say that the garage is only scary to me. Nyel seems to be fine with it. Part of its fearsome aspect to me is that I don’t know what all is there and, worse, I don’t know what most of the stuff is for. Plus, there’s lots of stuff up very high where I couldn’t reach it even if I needed to. And, even worse, lots of things are under or behind heavy, dangerous-looking other things. I definitely don’t feel at one with the garage. Maybe at five or six.

Office

Office

My office, unfortunately, is scary to both of us. Mostly there’s nothing heavy or dangerous-looking or up very high. In fact, it is my own lack of height (and therefore, reach) that makes for all the piles of ‘very important’ papers on the floor. Storage opportunities are minimal in my little office and it’s not easy to stow things I feel I need to keep. So there are piles. Making my way toward the business end of things (that would be to the desk and my computer) is difficult. In fact, scary.

If we are busy – Nyel with a garage project or me with a writing project – we don’t notice and we don’t worry about our surroundings. As long as Nyel can access the tools he needs and clear a bit of workspace, he’s good to go. Ditto me, as long as I can get to my computer and know where I can find any reference materials I might need. Sometimes that requires a bit of hunting and sifting, but it’s usually do-able.

Of course, between projects we are full of resolve. Nyel gets to cleaning his workbench and returns items to their proper places on the industrial strength shelving. I begin a righteous archaeological dig though the accumulation of papers, often finding long-lost treasures and occasionally (gulp!) an overdue bill or bit of correspondence that has gone unanswered.

Nyel's Workbench...sometimes

Nyel’s Workbench…sometimes

Unfortunately, years of experience tell us that a neat and tidy workplace doesn’t necessarily increase our effectiveness as far as productivity is concerned.  Nor do our respective work stations stay pristine for long. The result of that realization is that we find little pleasure in  clean-up endeavors. The it’s-just-going-to-get-messy-again attitude interferes with any momentary pleasure of seeing things neat and tidy.

If the very worst scenario plays out – that we spend precious time searching for something that remains ‘lost’ – there is always the possibility that Mrs. Crouch is responsible. Or so we say. As I mentioned, she is playful (and annoying) but never in a scary way. Anything scary in this house is definitely of our own making.

For once, it wasn’t Mrs. Crouch!

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Sydney in Performance 2010Yesterday, Dave Immel and I were scheduled to have a dress rehearsal for the Shoalwater Storytellers performance that we are to give a few days from now.  It was the “dress” part of dress rehearsal that was difficult for me.  Actually, make that the “skirt” part.  My tried-and-true, thirty-five-year-old, black “prairie style” skirt was nowhere to be found.

I went to the ‘costume department’ of my closet (four overstuffed hangers up against the far wall) and found all the other costume parts – blouse with leg-o-mutton sleeves, appropriate length slip, tights, sash, and, nearby, the shoes – but no skirt.  I searched through the rest of my closet, even searched on Nyel’s side, went upstairs to the overflow closets, looked in bureau drawers and, on the off-chance, went out to the car and looked through that bag of stuff in the trunk waiting to be taken to the Good Will.  No skirt showed itself.

Given our history around this house, it would seem logical that my suspicions would center on Mrs. Crouch, our resident ghost.  But, curiously, she never came to mind.  As I wracked my brain for the last time I had seen that item of clothing, I realized that I had offered it to one of the Shoalwater Shenanigans actors back in 2011.  I called Shenanigans director Sandy Nielson to see if her memory jibed with mine and it did.

It took several phone calls but, sure enough, the skirt was located by Kelly Jacobsen, safe in a bag in her closet, nestled beside a wool shawl that I had forgotten about entirely!  (Now, that shawl I would have blamed on Mrs. C. had I discovered it missing.  It’s just the sort of seldom-thought-of-item that she seems to love.)

Arrangements have been made so that the skirt will return home prior to the day it is needed.  Meanwhile, however, I improvised with something else for our dress rehearsal and I think I actually like that look better.  Wouldn’t you know!

No Other Explanation

Monday, May 14th, 2012

     When you share your home with a ghost, Things Happen.  We, of course, know that Mrs. Crouch is always nearby.  She manifests herself in various ways – usually playful, seldom mean.  She causes doors to open or shut, a single sock to go missing in the laundry, or an icy draft to occur where logic tells us it cannot be.  She’s been in the house since 1892 – a full decade longer than the Espys, and we feel as though she is part of the family.
     Mrs. Sarah Crouch was the wife of Oysterville’s Baptist preacher (who turned out not to be a preacher at all.)  They lived here in the ‘parsonage’ for about a year.  The household included their baby girl as well as the young brother and the mother of Reverend Josiah Crouch.  The pastor was outgoing and personable – “had an eye for the women,” Tommy Nelson said – and Sarah was shy.  She didn’t get out much.
     Unhappily for her, she did agree to go with her husband on a church call up the Willapa River.  In some unknown manner, their boat tipped over.  The preacher managed to swim ashore with the baby but Mrs. Crouch drowned.  There were marks on her neck… There was an investigation…  There was a warrant out for the pastor’s arrest.  He quickly skedaddled… with another man’s wife.
     My mother’s explanation for why Mrs. Crouch is still hanging around this house was that she was happy here in Oysterville.  I hope that’s so.  My explanation, though, is that she is still craving the attention that Josiah never gave her.  She’s a bit passive aggressive and certainly an “all about me” kind of gal.  Take yesterday, for instance…
       My “Mother’s Day Author! Author!” event was scheduled to begin at 4:00.  It was to open with a short DVD – a set-up for the Dear Medora reading to follow – and my friend Betsy had offered to be the techie person.  We had done a run-through a week or so ago and there were a few glitches that took time to iron out so yesterday Betsy arrived with all the necessary equipment at 2:30.  There was plenty of time to set up the projector, the screen, and the speakers, and to get everything plugged in and connected to her laptop.
     Insert disk.  Play!  But it was not to be.  One unexplained thing after another happened.  When people began to arrive Betsy was still turning everything off, physically disconnecting, rebooting.  When one problem was “fixed” something else went wrong.  Usually the difficulty was that everything stopped dead-in-the-water (so to speak) at second number two, according to the counter in the corner of the screen.  There was no Plan B.
     Nevertheless, at the appointed time, we began.  Betsy, intrepid to the end, pushed the play button and voilá!  The picture came up, the music came on (and stayed on past second-number-two) and it all worked perfectly.  Obviously, Mrs. Crouch had been on the rampage but had finally decided to let Dear Medora take center stage after all.  There was no other explanation.