Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Hole in the Ground

Did I ever tell you about the time we toured thoo the mountains?  Waal, the rains come in '39 'n by the fall of '40, harvest time, doncha know, things begin to turn around.  It seem time to get shed of th' ol' double A, 'n when I find ol' Hartmyer over to Syracuse have this nice '39 pickup he buy new, 'n now he want to sell hit, I have Gene take me on over to see hit.  Bought 'er, havin' survived the drought pretty good, still had a few pennies tuck away, an' now a bumper crop acomin' in.

Anyhow, Grace an' I decide to see a bit of the great State we live in.  Mostly we see nothin' but along the river atween here and Canon.  So we get the borry of Roper's tent--  you know Ephraim 'n Martha Roper.  They come over here fum Kentuck in '18 or '19, I think it was.  I know it was after th' war. They not kin to us, but Martha' mama grow up in the hills, was a friend of your Aunt Grace.  So then Grace 'n I, we get in the new truck, new to us, hit was, and head on west.  Nothin' much to stop for twel we get to Canon, on account we travel thet road many a time, 'n we wantin' to see the mountains!

Waal, we see the sweep of the San Juans to the south and are anxious to head on west into those mountains.  But first we treat ourselves to somethin' the like a which we have never done.  We check into th' St. Cloud Hotel.  Oh, my!  You shoulda seen thet place.  Chandeliers, the woodwork.  Shoulda eat in thet dinin' room; whut we did.  Venison prepare to tantalize yer memory ever after.

Middle th' night, though, Grace say she hear a strange noise, open the door and look down the hall.  There was a little girl, six, seven year ol', bouncin' a ball agin the wall.  She tell me, "This make no sense, three o'clock of a mornin', so I walk down to tell her she ought not be doin' thet, an when I get five, six steps from her, she jus' disappear!  No girl, no ball.  Ever'thing quiet as a tomb."  Waal, Grace, she not as young as she used to be, and, well, you know.*

Next mornin' we drive on past the penitentiary.  Even plumb out to Holly people hear tales about thet place, the whippin's an' 'specially the gas chamber.  Now we drive right on by.  No stoppin' there for us, no sir.  But on'y yet a couple more mile up the road we come to a turnoff for Skyline Drive.  Waal, why not?  I can now tell ya why not.  One way road, scarce wider than the tread th' truck, twists an' switchbacks, white-knuckle, I was, afore th' road dump us back into Canon.  Then we have to find our way back ta th' highway, and go right past the Pen and the Skyline turnoff again afore we drive on up to th' Royal Gorge.

I hear about this Royal Gorge fer years.  Now thet we are there, I will say thet is some hole in the ground.  Guy up there tell us, "Way back, hunnert years agone, a Scotsman visit this country, sightseein' hereabouts.  Standin' right on this very spot, he accidental drop a penny in a little crevice, start diggin' fer it.  An' here you see the mighty hole he dig afore he find thet penny."

Waal, our trip jes' gettin' started, but we got work to do.

"Uncle," I said.  "Go on with the story.  There shall always be work."

"You tried thet afore.  Now get up offa yer haunches."

*I heard years after Uncle told me this story that many people have seen the little girl with her ball.

© 2014 David W. Lacy


Sharkbytes said...

Perfect! Especially the ending. I love your stories.

Vee said...

This story brought back lots of memories of that little town - ghosts not being one of those.

As do all great story tellers, Uncle leaves us hanging there in the middle.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, I thank you. As to the ending, I have long subscribed to the notion that one should be left wanting more, as opposed to wishing it would be over.

Vee, me, too. I used to walk by that hotel on the way to the dime store, unaware of the haunting. Oooh, had I known? Find another route?

Secondary Roads said...

what a web the story teller weaves. And we are caught up in that web.

vanilla said...

Chuck, oh, yes; wishing the Old Uncle would tell me some more tales. Bucket getting near-empty.

Shelly said...

Enjoyed the whole story, and the ending is terrific!

vanilla said...

Shelly, the Old Couple seem to enjoy living. (Of course, I mean when they were alive.)