Spirits Among UsBy Bobby Neal Winters
The address 709 West First belongs to the house next door. There was a time when it was a rent house. There is some natural law which states that no renter will ever leave a house better than he found it. As a mathematician, I know where this series leads. As the neighbor to 709, I’ve seen it.
A few years before he died, my father-in-law bought 709 for us and cleaned it up. He deeded it over to Jean, and then proceeded to make it his hobby house. He set up barrels to catch rainwater from the roof. He planted fruit trees in the front yard. He made a workshop in the kitchen. Then five years ago, he died.
I know for a fact he’s dead. I saw the body. I drove his ashes in a Rubbermaid container to northern Indiana where they are buried. I saw it with my own eyes.
Yet from time to time when I’ve been over there, I’ve felt his presence. This is most often when I am doing something for Jean or one of the girls. Once Jean had asked me to fix her book light. It needed to be soldered, and I couldn’t find my soldering iron. I went over to 709, looked around, and couldn’t find it. I’d given up. Then I looked at a place I’d looked before.
There was a nice little fishing tackle box with the words “Soldering Iron” written on the top with a black Sharpie. In it there was--as advertised--a soldering iron with solder. What are the odds.
Today Lydia was working on a project. She’d been on Pinterest and had found some plans for a bench. A part of the project required stapling the upholstery on with Bostich Staples. I’d gone over and found Jim’s old staple gun right away and brought it back.
We got started stapling away and, as luck would have it, we ran out of staples. I went back over to 709 and looked around for a box of staples. I pulled out drawers. I looked everywhere staples should be.
I had despaired, but then I looked up. There on a shelf where I swear I’d just looked was a white plastic canister with the words “Bostich Staples” written on it in Jim’s hand with a black Sharpie, which is apparently the writing implement of choice for the spirit world.
I felt Jim’s presence today. I miss him. I would like to talk politics with him, as I am becoming more alienated from both political parties everyday, just like he was.
His spirit is still among us and he likes to help me help our girls.