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
I’ve written before about the fact that the original owners of our ranch sold it to us at a more than fair price because they thought the house and land were haunted.
Gwen the Beautiful and I have seen and heard many signs of spirits during our time here. Old men. Singing divas. Wisps in the night. This week, after living on the property for almost two years, Chet the Unhandyman joined the club.
He saw a Ghost Dog.
Chet’s a catnapping kind of guy. Doesn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time. Four in the morning is a common wake-up time for him.
Usually it’s no big deal. But for the past several nights, when Chet looked out the window of his bedroom in our old singlewide he’s seen one of our dogs lying near the center of the clearing.
Not just anywhere near the center but at the highest part of what we call, for lack of a better word, the “Mound.”
The Mound is a pitcher’s mound sized area where nothing grows. It’s the very top of our Mountain and looks suspiciously like all the mounds in the Southwest that cover ancient ruins before they’re excavated. I’ve always wanted to dig it out, but good sense and the cost of renting a backhoe have prevented that.
Now, the problem with Chet seeing one of our dogs out there is this: It’s impossible.
Under our current living arrangements, Emmy the Bold AKA the Itty Bitty Pitty Mom, sleeps on the bed with Gwen and me, Tiger the Troublemaker sleeps tethered on the front porch, and Decker and Belle sleep in a fenced dog yard nearby. Not one of those dogs can be the one sleeping on the Mound.
But Chet insists he’s looked out at one. Says it’s caramel-colored and short-haired and the general size and shape of Emmy’s kids. Sometimes the dog looks over at him. Sometimes it rolls around. Sometimes it stretches in its sleep.
And none of the other dogs barks at it, he says, “like it’s not even there.”
Well, when you’re living on a haunted ranch, that “like it’s not there” thing rings a bell.
Three years ago, Emmy gave birth to twelve puppies. Emmy refused to nurse one of them. Pushed it away. That puppy died the second night. I discovered it in the morning, while mother and children were napping and quietly put it outside, in the trash.
When Emmy woke up, she looked at her pups…and started to howl. She went to the door to be let out and looked for her missing pup all around the clearing. Under every building. In every hidey-hole.
She went out looking three or four times a day every day for weeks. Continued her search at longer intervals over the next several months.
At birth, that puppy was caramel-colored and short–haired, and if it had lived it would’ve been the general size and shape of what Chet’s been seeing.
I’m fascinated by the idea that Emmy’s Lost Puppy has returned to its pack.
I’m fascinated by the idea of a Ghost Dog sleeping in front of our cabin every night, atop what I like to think of as our Mystery Mound.
And I’m more than fascinated by the idea of learning more about the Ghost Dog. What, after all, could be more exciting than getting to know the Ghost Dog as it seems to want to know us?
Tonight I’m setting my internal alarm clock for four a.m. I’m getting up and going outside to see if I can spot what Chet’s been seeing. To get as close to it as possible. To learn the truth.
I’ll bring my camera and see what happens when I snap some pix. Maybe I’ll bring my spotlight in case something goes wrong and I need to flood the Mound with a million megabeams of light to save myself from a dangerous, ghostly monster by forcing it to disappear.
Who says mystics can’t be scientists too? Or that I can’t have as much fun as an adult as I did when I was an eight-year-old believing a towel safety-pinned around my neck was a cape, and that I was flying so high my parents couldn’t see what I was up to no matter how much their necks craned?
If you don’t hear from me for awhile, blame the Ghost Dog.
Or Chet’s imagination.