THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
Lately it seems like Cloud Creek’s magic has been working overtime.
In addition to my face to face (well, okay, more like a face-to-the-top
-of-his-fuzzy-back) meeting with Draco the Ghost Dog, Gwen the Beautiful and I have been dealing with some ghostly scents and a very specific ghost sound.
The scents have been good, actually. Otherwise I would’ve called them “smells.” Or “odors.” Said the right way the word “odor” means something most foul.
But these scents have been genuine “aromas.” The first one is in what we call our Great Room, the big downstairs area of our log house. The minute you walk in the door it hits you like tobacco smoke from a well-worn pipe.
And not just any pipe either. It’s the warm, soothing scent of a medicine man’s ceremonial pipe, passed around by Indian People gathered in a sweat lodge, or at a healing.
This makes our whole house smell like a kind of healing. Warm and comforting. Whenever I’m at my desk I inhale and think of the times I spent with good friends on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico.
Can a house be tender? Ours now is.
Over in the Annex, where Burl Jr. the New Groundskeeper sleeps, we’ve got another new scent as well.
Not food, although the trailer was busy for about a year cycling through food faves in an attempt to find one we’d love.
No, this time it’s what some snobs might call “cheap” perfume, but I’ll characterize as—oh, how about “inexpensive?”
I’ve got to keep my response positive because this scent too is familiar.
It’s my late mother-in-law’s perfume.
Entering the Annex has become just like walking into Gwen’s mother’s house when she was alive. The first time Gwen sniffed it she couldn’t help herself. Immediately, she called out, “Mom?”
I was more formal. I said, “Laverne?”
Miraculously, both of us were answered immediately. By the sound from the wall clock that’s the only one of my mother-in-law’s belongings we brought back here after she died.
It’s a QVC collectible thingie that strikes the hour with four bars of any one of several Disney songs in its repertoire. On this particular occasion it played Laverne’s favorite: “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
“It’s Mom all right,” Gwen said.
“The magic of Cloud Creek strikes again,” I said. “It’s brought your mother here to live with Burl Jr.”
“His girlfriend’s not going to like that,” said Gwen.
“Hmm…come to think of it,” I said, “he may not like it either.”
Regardless of how Burl Jr. feels about Laverne’s presence (and he’s too smart a kid to say), I can tell you how I feel about another magical occurrence centered in our house.
It’s a sound, and like the tobacco “aroma” it emanates from the Great Room.
But from a specific place in that room.
The northwest corner.
And, like my mother-in-law’s perfume, the sound is of something Gwen and I know quite well. In fact, we know it better than any other sound in the world.
That’s right. It’s the sound of typing. Except louder than any computer keyboard should ever be.
Click. Clack. Clickity clack….
In the wee hours of the morning. Like three a.m.
Clickity clackity click.
While we’re sleeping and no other human is in the house, and nothing—absolutely nothing—is anywhere near the computer, which is powered down and still.
Clackity click clack.
Has there ever been a film called The Attack of the Ghost Writer?
Well, someone should get on it. Maybe I’ll call one of my old Hollywood writer friends and invite him to stay here awhile.
Better yet, I’ll call and invite him to switch houses for a spell.
A spell long enough for Gwen and me to sleep straight through just one night without—
Click. Clack. Click-clack!
I know I sound like I’m complaining. But regular readers here know that’s not the case. I’m bedazzled by the magic that pervades the mountaintop property we call Cloud Creek Ranch.
And I’m curious. So curious it makes my mind ache.
I want to know:
What in the universe is causing all this?
What does it mean?
And, more than anything else, I want to know: Why?
As usual, if you’ve got answers I’d love to hear ‘em. Drop me an e-mail any time. Meanwhile, don’t you worry. I’m on the case as well.