Sadly, I have not. I’ve been scared plenty of times, because I’m kind of a pussy, but have never experienced anything unexplainable.
Toney tells a story from when she was young and the entire family briefly moved to a farmhouse in Montana (I think). Please keep in mind that her mother is fully insane, and it’s hard to know why, exactly, they moved there. Toney says it was for a very short amount of time, maybe a month or less. And one night she woke up and saw an old woman, dressed like people in old photographs, ironing clothes. This scared her, of course, and she just pretended to be asleep. The next morning someone else in the family (can’t remember who) mentioned a weird dream they’d had about the same woman.
I have nothing like this. I do have a memory of a loud and brash woman wearing an outlandish hat, and over-the-top lipstick. I’ve asked my mother about it, but she has no idea what I’m talking about. I don’t have any reason to believe the woman was a ghost, but she’s mysterious. I have snippets of random memories from when I was very young, and that was one of them. There’s another when a little girl and I were drawing on a sidewalk with chalk, and some angry woman yelled at us for it. My mother remembers that episode, and finds it hard to believe I can remember it, because I was so young. But it’s not a story anyone had ever told. Why would they? As stories go, that one is pretty lame.
But I’ve never seen a ghost or a UFO or a bigfoot, or anything of the sort. I feel kinda left out, if you want to know the truth. I monkeyed around with a Ouija board as a kid, but apparently was unsuccessful in opening a portal to the other side. I think we tried to contact Babe Ruth but he was apparently too busy whoring, drinking and eating an inordinate number of hotdogs in the afterlife to waste time talking to a group of hillbilly children.
What do you have on this one? Anything? And if you’re like me, and gots nothing, please share your earliest memory. My mother’s mind was blown by mine.
Some random notes before I call it a day here:
- On January 1 I posted a second column at nonewjeffs.substack.com. I got it in my head that I wanted to try writing a regular humor column about aging. At first I thought I’d do it weekly, but realized I was setting myself up for failure. So… I’m doing it monthly. The first day of every month I’ll post a new column at the Substack page. I wanted something separate from the Surf Report, so it’s focused and specifically about some aspect of aging and nothing else. Here’s some additional info. Check it out if you’re interested. You can sign up to receive the columns via email, or just visit the site every month. Or you can just ignore it altogether. It’s completely up to you, needless to say.
- Would you watch a two-hour documentary about a band you know almost nothing about? I did, over the weekend, and it was great. I knew of the existence and apparent importance of Radio Birdman, from Australia, but wasn’t super-familiar with their music. I might’ve encountered a song here and there on compilations, but never owned any actual albums. But I’m a sucker for a good music documentary, and theirs was always appearing on lists of the best. It’s called Descent Into The Maelstrom, and features all living members interviewed separately. Fantastic! Not all of them like each other at this point, but they all participated. It’s a great movie, and I’ve been listening to their music at Spotify ever since I saw it. I think I’m going to watch it again, maybe tonight.
- And by the way… I watched it on the Night Flight streaming service. If you’re into the offbeat and strange, you’ll probably enjoy it. It’s relatively inexpensive too. They have a fantastic collection of 1980s low-budget slasher films, for instance. And all sorts of unusual things, like the Radio Birdman documentary. I love it. I’ve got the younger youngling hooked on it too.
- Apparently all four of us are going to make a quickie visit to the Tampa area in early March. This is pretty much a definite, not one of our patented half-assed ideas that never actually come to fruition. My parents are down there, and we want to visit them in Florida. It’s something we’ve talked about doing for years, and never got around to following through on. We also want to scout that area as a possible “retirement” locale. I put it in quotes because I’ll believe it when I see it. But Toney does a lot o’ research and is currently zeroed in on that part of the country. Any thoughts on Tampa and surrounding towns? Please share.
- Producer Zipp, who edits my podcast etc., also co-hosts the No Redeeming Qualities podcast. Through the years they’ve had songs created for the show, and have now compiled some of them into a great full-length album. Check it out here. Or listen to the whole thing via YouTube. Give it a shot! There’s some fun and eclectic stuff included. I think you’ll enjoy it. Check out the podcast too. It’s genuinely funny.
And I’m calling it a day, my friends. I’m off from work today, and am going out shortly for a Dairy Queen burger & fries, followed by calendar shopping. Oh, I take that shit seriously. I need three of them, and they have to be the RIGHT ones. Not just some boring collection of sunrise photos, or whatever. I have to pencil in several hours for this project, and today’s the day. I always wait until right after January 1, ’cause the selection is still pretty good and the prices have been slashed. I know what I’m doing…
I’ll see you guys again soon.
Have a great day!
Support the Surf Report with a monthly $4 donation at Patreon, and get an extra podcast episode every week! Or you can buy me a beer. God knows I love the beer. In Canada? Do your shopping at Amazon! Thank you, guys!
I used to go the calendar kiosk at the mall. Now I just get them from Amazon.
I visited the mall kiosk last weekend and was underwhelmed by their selection. Plus the clerk was a little more surly than I cared for.
Phantom Railfan says
My sister used to travel to Tampa 2-3 times a year for work. I believe the words she used to describe the area were along the lines of “unspeakable shithole.”
Jerry in WV says
The house I grew up in is loaded with ghost. My mom is 94 and has lived there since 1958 and from the beginning, she has claimed to occasionally see an old woman walking by or sitting in the kitchen. I had more than one creepy thing happen there, but this was the most disturbing. When I was a senior in high school, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. Way back in the day, if you had all of your credits to graduate, you only had to take English your senior year. I did, but took 3 glasses, just to make it worth getting out of bed. My Mom worked, so I would get home around 11:30 am, do whatever my Dad needed and then head back to school at 2:30 for sports. On this particular day, My Dad’s chemo didn’t go so well and he was very sick. He left a note and 20 bucks on the counter and asked me to go pick up a few things at the store. I grabbed the list and cash and headed out for about 30 minutes. I came home, put the stuff away and placed his change on the counter. I was sitting in the living room and clearly heard him walk out of his bedroom, scoop the change off of the counter and then saw him walk past the door to the dining room. He never said a word. About 10 minutes went by and I became worried because I never saw him walk back. There is a door that leads to the back deck and I thought maybe he had gone outside. I got up to check on him and walked the same route he would have taken to get to the deck and the door was locked. I walked back inside and the money was still on the counter and his bedroom was still closed. I knocked and asked if he had been up and he said not since early that morning. I was totally freaked out and it still weirds me out to this day. He passed a few months later. Not sure what I heard and saw that day, but it was very weird.
Craig Brown says
“It sounded like I was riding a wooden roller coaster.” LOL, one of many great lines from your latest No New Jeffs. Big fan, nice work!
One of my banks called me and asked if I would participate in the bank’s 2022 calendar of customers’ dogs. My girls made the centerfold for July: https://www.cnbwaco.com/the-dogs-of-central-national-bank-2022-calendars/
Not Oprah says
Ruby looks like the sweet caring one and Ginger looks like ‘hold my beer and watch this’ one. Am I correct?
That is 100% correct.
I’ve spent some time in the Tampa area, and Railfan’s sister is right on the money with “unspeakable shithole.” But let’s not sell the rest of the state short. I’ve also spent some time in Orlando and the Armpit, plus a few hours in Miami. They all fit that description.
Florida has no state income tax. Now I’m out of nice things to say about the place.
I’ve spent time in Orlando and Miami, and just a little in the keys. I’ve also traveled pretty widely across the United States, mostly in large metropolitan areas on business, but some on pleasure. I’ve not spent time in the panhandle of Florida so I can’t speak to that.
Pretty much everywhere I went, you could live tolerably on middle class retirement income: even in parts of northern and southern California. Maybe not in your preferred neighborhood, maybe far from public transportation or groceries, maybe in neighborhoods what weren’t the safest, but reasonably comfortably.
The exceptions are: San Francisco, San Diego, New York City, and everywhere I’ve been in Florida. SF, SD, NYC are well-understood to be staggeringly expensive. Florida, at least partly because of its tax structure, is horrible. Virtually every east-west highway is a toll road. If you’re visiting for a few days, it’s just a pain in the ass; if you live there, it’s a tax. Municipal and utility services vary considerably between affluent neighborhoods and less affluent ones. Police patrols vary greatly between upper and lower class neighborhoods. They do everywhere, but everything just seems worse in Florida because there aren’t state funds to supplement local tax income to support community services.
I can’t possibly know everything about every city in Florida. Maybe Tampa has figured out how to fund municipal services to keep middle class neighborhoods safe and clean. But I’d sure be asking a lot of questions before I moved there.
It’s quite a contrast with the Florida of the west, Arizona. Lots of folks from the Great Pacific Northwest snowbird to Arizona. The ones with money spend winters in Scottsdale. The rest of us spend winters along the southern border from Yuma to Bisbee. But at least you can do it.
So if you want to retire in Florida, save as much money as you can for as long as you can. Things are getting more expensive very quickly across the southern states as the Boomers work our way into the middle of our retirement years. Good luck.
The meth is good and cheap in Florida, and you can smoke it with alligators. So there’s that.
I’ve yet to go anywhere in Florida that I like, let alone would consider living in. I haven’t been to Tampa though.
This may not be paranormal per second but… A few months ago I was sitting on my porch and I glanced over to see the sun behind the clouds hugging the tree line across the field. There was a reddish tint and as I glanced, the shadows took on a familiar glow. It looked just like my aunt (red haired) lying on her back. Aunt Mary was 85 years old suffering from Alzheimer’s plus a few other medical problems. The cloud cover shifted and so help me it looked like aunt Mary rolling over in bed, putting a finger to her lip to quiet me all along smiling in that beautiful impish grin she was known for. I knew she was with me.
6 days later I got that infamous “Are you home? Can you talk?” text from my cousin and I knee she was gone. But dammit I know aunt Mary visited me that night.
My area is rife with paranormal activity. Hauntings of the Hudson Valley is a must read
I don’t believe in ghosts. But….
I worked in an ICU once that was shaped like a wide, shallow U. Two rooms on each side and six across the base. The rooms were numbered one to ten, counter clockwise. Room seven was on the bottom right hand of the U, room eight was the corner.
The hospital was part of a 5 hospital campus including a trauma center and a childrens hospital. It’s also the namesake and nearby where a very, very famous magician died in the 1920’s.
In the space of a coupe of months we had two patients in room seven who reported seeing a little boy in their room. I can remember hearing on patient talking to someone. There was no one in the room when I entered and when I asked who she was talking to, she said “The little boy”.
The second patient had asked us who the little boy was that was in her room.
Both patients died relatively soon after these events.
I believe this. I’ve heard a d read many related stories of paranormal activity in hospitals.
The Yodler says
According to US Census figures, over one million people total from NY, Illinois, New Jersey, and California have moved to Florida, Texas, and Arizona. When I retire, I’ll probably move there too. It would be nice to be away from the crime, corruption, and sky-high taxes.
Do you have any idea how astronomically high real estate taxes are in Texas? The sales tax is a bitch too. Electricity’s a deal tho, even with the ungodly hot summers.
Good Lord, the Texas legislature has been known for a century for its corrupt practices and the wild parties the lobbyists throw almost nightly during the legislative session to get bills passed. Read a couple of collections of stories by the late Molly Ivans, and you’ll get a flavor of how the Texas boys legislate by alcohol. And the crumbling power grid has been ignored for decades. It will need somewhere between 2 and 5 billion dollars over the next five years, and a similar amount thereafter, just to meet the minimum requirement of delivering power to Texans.
I spent a few months at Ross Perot’s company, EDS in Plano when Mr Perot was still running it, and senior management would just shake their heads at what it took to get the legislature to consider a simple, common sense bill. And this isn’t particularly partisan. Both parties participate in the well-known debauchery. Texas, both legislatively and from a public works standpoint, has one of the most corrupt, inefficient governments in the country.
Unrelated fact: When I was flying into DFW and taking a chopper to EDS-HQ, the artillery pieces that guard the EDS campus were quite visible as the helicopter approached the complex. Florida and Arizona governments aren’t much better.
At about age 19 I was sitting in my parent’s living room listening to something loud on the stereo. For shits and giggles I decided I would try to use “ESP” to make my mom’s stone statue of a rhino move and fall off one of the speakers from 5 feet away. After about 10 minutes of totally focusing on only that event, the damn thing fell off. Now, the logical explanation is, of course, that the speakers were vibrating and that caused the movement. But you can be sure I almost crapped myself when it happened. Couldn’t get to sleep for hours that night, and never tried anything like it again.
Tampa’s only redeeming feature is the Cigar City Brewing on Spruce Street. JDub’s Brewing in Sarasota is worth the drive but is currently “temporarily” closed.
Ian in Scotland says
I foolishly ‘did’ the Ouija board for many years as a kid. Communicating with disincarnate entities was a real white knuckle ride, and strangely addictive! I grew out of it when I discovered the wonders of real life girls.
I’ve seen a few UFO’S (UAP’S if we’re being hip) in the distance, and one up close. My wife and I were in separate cars and we both flew under what we later learned was a black triangle, which was hovering around 100ft above the road. The really weird thing about it was that neither of us spoke about it for about 3 days. It was like we couldn’t process it or something. V strange!
I’m reminded of another more recent experience – not sure if a UFO or something else.
Two summers ago I was on the beach with my wife on Ocracoke Island, around midnight. Clear sky, full moon, beautiful scene. Just us on the sand. Suddenly the word “you”, in lower case cursive, appears as a large cloudy formation just below the moon. Could not have been there for more than a couple of minutes, and we did not have our phones/cameras with us. In the car on the way back to the hotel, Wifey turns to me and asks “did you see what I saw?” I said “you mean “you”?”. And she said yeah, “you”. We both saw it and have been trying to figure out the meaning of it ever since.