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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Give My Kids an Inch, They’ll Mess with Your Head

When we moved here to Mississippi we had the good fortune to slide into a good-sized house. By good-sized I mean, way above what we needed, and in hind sight I now wish we had opted for something smaller because “Woo-hoo we have 3,500 square feet of living space!” has turned into “Why do I have to have 3,500 square feet of cleaning space?” torture.
Our house was owned by Jack Lucas, one of the youngest Medal of Honor recipients ever, a true war hero, author of the memoir Indestructible (a book a highly recommend to anyone and everyone who loves history or who is a war buff, or who just loves America and all She stands for!), and a lot of our house was built by Jack (he expanded much of the original house to the large home that it is now), sadly Mr. Lucas died just two years ago. Each of our children has their own room downstairs, and it leaves us two full bedrooms upstairs for visiting friends and relatives. Originally our girls shared a room upstairs and our son had his room upstairs, but kids got spooked and wanted (read “demanded”) that they be moved downstairs now, now, right now. So in the interest of sleep we moved their rooms downstairs.
It is an old house, and as an old house tends to do, it creaks and makes its odd noises. Okay, fine, it can get a little creepy.   
On a recent trip to the museum on Camp Shelby we were hanging out in the gift shop when Hannah spotted Jack Lucas’ book up on the shelf, “Hey! We live in his house!” she told the gift shop attendee.
The lad perked right up, impressed with Hannah, “Really, in Mr. Lucas’ house here in Hattiesburg?”
“Yes ma’am.”
The lady looked to me for assurance, I nodded, “Yes, we do. It’s a very nice house.”
“Wow, do you ever let people come over to see it?” she asked.
I was speechless. What was I to say? How do I answer that?  I pictured myself giving tours, saying things like “This is the sink Jack washed his hands in.” “This is the doorway Jack walked through when he went outside.” Noticing the ridiculousness of what she just said she rolled her eyes skyward, shook her head as her cheeks turned red.
I started strolled down the aisle of books, picking up one here and there, seeing what they had to offer, losing myself in a couple of books until my ears caught on these words from my dear son: “Yea, but his ghost is still there.”  I. Am. Momentarily. Mortified. (I know good and well they are talking about our house and Jack and I am NOT happy)
Please let me have heard that child wrong. I put the book down and look at him; the gift shop lady is staring at them with the most horrified look on her face. All three of my kids have gathered around, the youngest is nodding her head so quickly I am afraid she will do damage to her neck muscles.
“My dad won’t even go upstairs because the ghost is up there.” Okay that part right there….is totally true. Corey won’t go upstairs. It does freak him out up there. “So, the ghost is up there by himself, all the time, he comes down at night. You can hear him.”
By now I have come to senses and have swooped in “Okay kids, that’s enough, let’s go.” I’ve spread my arms wide and am trying to round them up. I smile wide at the gift shop lady who has a ghastly look on her face. I want to disappear right this minute!
I get the kids out to the parking lot and finally take a moment to breath, “Honestly you three, what was that?”
“What?” the boy shrugs, “Hey, do you think we can come back tomorrow?”
Um, no!