It’s Halloweeeeeeeen! Some of you may be shocked by this, but as a child I wanted to be the Devil for about 5 years in a row. Oddly enough, I was scared of monsters, goblins, ghosts, or anything else supernatural that might exist. Oh yeah, I didn’t like the dark much either! Quite often during around Halloween, you’ll hear ghost stories on the radio and television. I have always enjoyed hearing the stories. We have many stories in my own family that I thought some of you might enjoy. It may even send a few chills up your spine!
When Mama found out she was pregnant, one of the most excited people in the family was my Great Papa Cameron. He was certain that I would be a boy and that I would be the KING! However, in October 1972, he had a massive heart attack and died. I was born in December a few months later. One night after I was born, Mama said she got up during the night to check on me and make sure I was warm enough. When she went to my room, she saw my Great Papa Cameron and another woman looking at me. She said she felt as if everything was fine and she went back to bed. The next day she was telling about it and of course she was ridiculed and everybody was laughing about it. She said that she even thought that maybe it was just a dream. A few days later, she was telling Mema Brafford about it and Mema asked her what the lady had on. When she described to her what the lady had on, Mema recognized the outfit. It was the same outfit that my Great Grandma Brafford was buried in. Mama and Deddy did not even know each other when Grandma Brafford died, so she had no idea what she was buried in. However, ironically, Great Papa Cameron and Great Grandma Brafford had been friends for many years before they both passed away.
Mema Brafford grew up in a big family. She had eight brothers and sisters. All of them have long passed away and she is the only one left. Most of my life growing up as a child, it seemed like at least one of them was really sick. Seven of them passed away with cancer. She had a brother named Herman that lived in Sanford. He found out many years ago that he had cancer. During his last weeks, someone stayed with him all the time. One night Mema Brafford was staying with him and she said she woke up and saw her Mother, Father, and a sister walk into Herman’s bedroom. She could hear talking but she did not dare get up. She was not sure of what she had really seen or maybe she was just dreaming. The next day Herman told her about the visit. He told Mema that everything was going to be fine, they would be back to get him soon and when they did, an angel would come back as a white dove and guide him to Heaven. She did tell Mama and Deddy, but nobody else knew. After the funeral and the graveside service, many of the family members came back to Mema and Papa Brafford’s house. They were discussing the service and how smooth everything had gone. Then out of the blue, someone who was directly following the hearse said, “the strangest thing happened today, when we left the funeral home, a white dove flew back and forth between our car and the hearse all the way to the cemetery, and then it flew off!” Nobody ridicules that story anymore.
My favorite ghost story is a “guardian angel” story and it had nothing to do with my family. Many years ago at a college somewhere in the southern part of the United States, 3 guys were planning their journey home for Christmas break. They had a long way to drive. Two of the friends lived in the northern Midwest and they were to drop off their other buddy, who lived somewhere along the way. After many hours of driving they finally arrived at the first guy’s house. They went inside, got something to eat, talked with the family and got some rest from their long drive. The family told the boys that a snow storm was on the way and they felt like they should stay with them overnight. This was before cell phones and at a time when you could drive for several hours before you would reach another gas station, another residence, or anywhere that they could stop. But they were determined to get home for Christmas and felt like they needed to keep going. The family reluctantly wished them safe travels and instructed them to call as soon as they arrived home no matter what time it was. Not long after the boys started home, it started snowing. It was not long that they both realized that this was a mistake and although they had been driving for more than an hour, they needed to turn around and try to get back to their friend’s house. By now, the snow was pouring down at an incredible rate. About the time they got their car turned around, they realized they were already stuck. So they left the car running and hoped that the storm would pass. After some time, they realized the snow was not letting up, they would run out of gas before the night was over, and this was probably the end for both of them. All of the sudden they saw lights and a man pull up in a big tow truck with huge snow tires. The guy got out and said, “Do you boys need a lift?” They could not believe it. They are in the middle of nowhere, and a tow truck pulled up. This was truly a stroke of good luck! The guy has the car hooked up in just a couple of minutes and asks “Where are you boys headed?” They explained to him what had happened but their buddy lived at least an hour back. The gentleman explained that it was no problem because he was already going that way! Upon arrival, the boys continued to thank the man for saving their lives. They tell him they don’t have hardly any money, but their friend’s family would probably loan it to them until they returned from Christmas break. The man explained to them that it was no problem either way, he was glad to help. So the boys rush up to porch where the family has come out to greet them again after worrying about them since they had left. They told the boys that loaning them the money was no problem and in fact, they could HAVE the money. After a few minutes, the father returned from a back room and tells them to not only pay the man but to invite him inside, he was welcome. But when the boys went outside, the tow truck was gone and their car was sitting there where he had left it. But the amazing aspect of the story is that there was not a single track in the snow where the man would have pulled away. Not a trace that another vehicle had ever driven into that yard. They realized right then that this was not a stroke of good luck, this was a miracle.
Hey, Happy Halloween to all of you! And don’t forget to watch “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” tonight on ABC!!