I See The Light!

culvert under the interstate


(This photo was taken Saturday as DirtMan and I canoed through the box culvert under the interstate. We rowed eight miles. When we got here the water rolled and we kicked back and enjoyed the flume ride…upon the return, he had to push us through it because we made no headway rowing against the current!)


“Regardless of the shadows that cross the moon to make it appear less than it is, to the moon, it is always full. So it is with us.” – Buddha

As a child I was petrified of the dark. We lived in a huge house on a hill, and often there were attempted break-ins. My mother used to pour flour at night to test our theories behind the barking dogs, ratting doorknobs, and cut window screens. Sure enough we’d wake up to find boot prints all over the porch. I wasn’t afraid of the people trying to break in. My daddy was massive and muscular. He owned a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it. I felt safe from intruders. What I feared couldn’t be seen.

No, it wasn’t monsters of my imagination. My grandmother who was quite religious often warned us of the devil and his demons. She told us they couldn’t hurt us in the dark. I insisted on a night light. Though I eventually slept in the dark, it was well into my adulthood that the fear vanished.

Relatives always told stories about my grandmother’s house being haunted. I got antsy when the sun set at her house. I refused to EVER spend the night there….And then the day came I had to…

My grandmother had been sick so my father insisted my cousin, Cindy, and I spend the night with her. Big Mama lived a mile uphill from us, at the base of the mountain. We lived in the middle of nowhere. Bobcats and bears roamed the woods at night. Dogs howled and owls hooted, not to mention the noises of all the other animals. Cindy and I were spooked. Not only were we a mile away from the nearest human with weird noises penetrating the walls of the house, we did not even have a telephone.

We packed lots of snacks and a radio with intentions of staying up all night long. Big Mama settled in her room downstairs while we were upstairs. We chose the bedroom because we when we opened the curtains we also had the light of the outside lamp. Now you bet we rehashed all those stories about the peg leg ghost and swore to each other we could hear him coming up the steps and down the hall after us. The old house moaned and groaned and whispered into the night. Rats scratched and scurried in the walls and bats and wind hit at the windows now and then. We were so fearful we prayed our way through our waking hours. When we were so tired we couldn’t keep our eyes open we decided to drift off with the light on.

Cindy’s fingernails dug into my arms and the bed squeaked as she shook me back and forth. “What?” I asked groggily. Then I noticed the light in our room was out. I swore I heard Cindy’s knees knocking as she scrambled out of the bed and turned the light back on.

“Hear that?” The stairs creaked with footsteps. Thump. Thump. Thump. They came down the hall. Rattle. Turn went the doorknob. I covered my eyes and Cindy let out a blood curdling scream. I opened my eyes to see Big Mama standing in front of us.

“I was just checking in on you, too.”

“You scared us half to death,” I said. She laughed and switched off the light. Cindy and I pleaded with her to let us keep the light on. She didn’t want to waste electricity; besides there was plenty of light from the lamppost outside at one window and enough light emanating from the front porch light and the moon from the window on the other side of the room.

We huddled and curled up in a ball in the center of the bed. We swore to each other we’d heard ghosts. We wondered how Big Mama could live in this haunted place all by herself without neighbors or a telephone. We began to wonder if we could even trust Big Mama…we wondered if the ghosts would get her to help them do away with us. We took the tales told to us and spun them to new lengths and endings. Though in reality we never witnessed a single paranormal moment, we rewrote the story of Big Mama’s haunted house.

We awoke to a crowing rooster and a fully sunlit room. “Sheeeew, we made it to daylight!” We hugged and smiled.

Big Mama said she was feeling well. She made us a big country breakfast of biscuits, bacon, and eggs. She laughed at our silly night time antics which we, of course, denied and offered to stay with her anytime.

As walked down the hill to return to our homes I told Cindy, “I sure hope she never asks us to spend the night again.”

“Me, too.” Cindy said. We organized our tales and stretched the truth to the max between us.  After all, we needed a good story to entertain the family.

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?  ~Maurice Freehill

33 thoughts on “I See The Light!

  1. Suzi, I was right there with you in this chilling tale! You had an over-active imagination back then — probably what fueled your creative fire today. You chose great quotes to accompany this post, too! I’m glad I was reading it by daylight, not by night, ha!

  2. OMG…what a faaaaaaaaabulous tale, Suzi!!!

    Isn’t it funny how our imaginations, as children, would create these SCARY scenarios? I was the SAME WAY as a child, I was PETRIFIED of the dark and would sometimes sleep by the front door in our house until my parents came home; waiting until I saw the lights from their car coming up the driveway, and then I would RUN up to my bedroom – HA!

    LOVE the both the quotes you shared. Especially that last one!

    And please tell DirtMan that is one AWESOME photograph. WOW!

    Have a super day, my friend…..X

  3. The flume ride seems like fun!
    Like the spooky house story. Of course, it is only sensible to be uneasy in the the dark. One is less able to see and avoid possible dangers

  4. Oh my goodness, what a fun tale! I have my own of visiting my two spinster aunts on their farm — also bereft of comforting light. What spooked my cousin, my sister and me, though, was a cow’s skull just outside the sleeping porch where he stayed left there by older and and undoubtedly braver cousins.

  5. Your story reminds me of similar childhood nights (of terror) spent in strange cabins and farm houses while on family visits … our imaginations are very powerful at times. It is amazing how worked up we can get over nothing but our thoughts.

  6. I would be scared to canoe through that tunnel! I didn’t like the dark either. I’d always lived near or in a big city with street lights, car lights, etc. When my husband and I moved to the “sticks” 13 years ago I was scared to sleep. No sidewalks, street lights or anything. It was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face! But I’ve gotten used to over the years and now think its so bright when I spend the night at my Mom’s house.

  7. What a great thriller story! While it makes for a good story now, I’m sure you weren’t thinking about any of that on that night! Funny how our imaginations commandeer our logic when the sun goes down. 🙂

  8. I can relate to the over-active imagination. As a child, my mind twisted the house noises into someone coming to get me. In one house, I swear I heard scratching in the walls, but of course it never happened when my parents were around so they thought I was nuts! (They were sort of right :))

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