Old Dead and Alive

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July 15th 2014  |  0  |  Category: Adventure , Drama , Fiction , Suspense , Thriller  |  Author: geedda  |  1359 views

Old Dead and Alive

Creak, creak, Sadie Craig sits on her front porch, rocking in her old weather-beaten white-wicker chair, watching the traffic, what little there is in this small town, going by on Main Street. Sadie has sat on that porch doing what she is doing today for as many years as I can remember.
She is, or could be, a tourist attraction in her yellow gingham dress that covers her body from under her chin to her shoes. Her habits are well known around town. She hasn’t changed in all her many years; has never known anything but modesty.
“Look at that darn motor car racing down the street; going faster than lightning,” she said thinking out loud. The car belongs to Melvin Watson, and he is going the legal speed limit, 25 MPH, but to Sadie that is too fast. She never cottoned to the idea of replacing horse and carriage with those noisy, raucous machines.
My Grandfather, Amos Field, for whom I was named, had one of the first automobiles in Bickford. He told me that way back when, Sadie Craig was a young woman she refused to ride in his car; hated the noise and smoke. She shouted her disapprovals at him every time he passed her house.
“Sadie hasn’t been away from her property, and that porch since her father died forty years ago,” Mel Moody said. “I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.”
Mel Moody is a boy in a man’s body; the local Mr Fixit and errand runner, he gets her groceries and takes care of all her business… has ever since her father died.
Sadie, in all her one hundred and two years, still smokes a clay pipe, wears the same clothes day in and day out, takes a glass of port every night, and sits on that porch every day, rocking back and forth. She must have a hundred thousand miles on that old rocking chair by now.
Sadie loves to argue politics with anyone brave enough to oppose her views.
She has never been more than forty miles in any direction since she was born. “Just because I don’t travel all over God’s green earth doesn’t mean I am ignorant of what’s happening around the world. I stay tuned to the radio and I read the paper cover to cover every morning before breakfast.”
No one can remember not seeing Sadie sitting on her porch three seasons of the year, winters in Maine are too harsh to sit outside. She, like a bear, hibernates during the cold season.
There is something odd about this day. It’s August fifth, and Sadie Craig’s rocking chair is sitting on her porch; eerily silent.
Mel walked the quarter of a mile to Sadie’s home to receive his morning instructions. It isn’t a difficult walk, quite nice, especially at sun up. Miss Craig likes to get things done early; more time to sit on the porch and watch the traffic going by her small Cape. But this morning, or any morning in the future, Sadie Craig will not be sitting in her chair on the porch. Sadie Craig is dead.
“It’s just the way I found her, Doc,” Mel says to Doc Miller Bickford’s only physician and the county ME.
“Well you know, Mel, Sadie is… was a hundred and two… that’s what I call ripe old age.”
“I guess so, Doc, but I’ll miss that woman. I worked for her for forty one years ever since her father died.”
“I know, you’ve been a good companion to Sadie, and she told me she didn’t know what she would have done without you, Mel.”
“She told you that, Doc?” Mel asked.
“More than once.”  Doc finished his business and gave Sadie’s body to the two men on the town’s rescue squad. “Take her down to Peabody’s fellas.” Peabody’s is the funeral home owned and operated by Joshua Peabody and his son, Herman.
These last twelve years have passed quickly. I have walked by that small Cape on Main Street, the one that belonged to Sadie Craig, a thousand times since she died, and I can tell you, it is weird to look at that old place and not see Sadie rocking in her chair. Her old home is now owned by Otis and Jessie Scott from Cumberland Falls.
“I miss seeing that old rocking chair and old Sadie who sat in it for as long as I can remember,” Doc Miller said. “It doesn’t seem right that the Scott’s tore down that old porch and put up a cloth awning in its place, but I guess nothing stays the same forever.”
“Take life, it’s like a baseball game,” I said. “When your team is up to bat, you wait in the bullpen. The manager calls your name and you step up to the plate. Later you retire and leave the game forever. When I was young my grandparents were up to bat, later as I grew older, my parents were up to bat, they finished the game and left the field. Now it’s my turn at bat, and I’ll leave the game as did my grandparents and parents before me, and the next generation will step up to the plate. Some of us hit a single, others a double or triple, and some are good at the game; they get a home run. I feel like I’m on third base when I think of all the things God has allowed me to see and do in my lifetime; blue skies, roaring brooks, magnificent trees that change color in Autumn, travel across this great country, and good friends. I feel blessed.”

“Guess you’re right, Amos. If you’re at the batter’s box, I just hit the ball and I’m between third base and home plate.” He laughed.
It was late October when the Scotts moved from Main Street, picked up one night and were gone the next morning. Some say they couldn’t live in the same house with Sadie Craig’s ghost. Her spirit was forever rearranging the furnishings; upsetting Mrs. Scott. Some of the goods the Scotts gave to Goodwill kept reappearing, the old scatter rug in front of the fireplace, the ancient moth eaten horsehair sofa, and that monstrous white weather-beaten old wicker rocking chair. No matter how many times they took it to the Goodwill, the next morning they would wake to find it on the front porch. That’s the reason they had the porch torn down, but that didn’t stop the strange happenings; instead they intensified. Old flower pots on the fireplace mantle kept reappearing though Otis broke them in a thousand pieces before he loaded them into boxes and put them on the curb for rubbish pick-up.
Otis and Jessie, in their haste, never said goodbye to anyone, just picked up and left. But the residents of our town knew the reason. Old Sadie didn’t want anyone living in her house who didn’t share the love of her antique furnishings. She, or her spirit, scared the Scotts into leaving.
Today one cannot see that old rocking chair on the porch swinging back and forth, but if one listens they can hear the cadence of the wood on wood as Sadie’s spirit rocks back and forth; her spirit watching the traffic on Main Street with invisible eyes.
No one to date has bought the old Cape on Main Street, and no one has dared tear it down. The town council voted to demolish it six months ago. But, sometimes plans go awry.
One Monday morning a crew showed up to knock the old Cape down. The first day they met with calamity. The foreman’s crew cab and a backhoe caught on fire. Believing it was a coincidence, the company brought in new equipment, and began to tear down Sadie’s home. The supervisor ordered the mechanized shovel to dig into the roof of the house. It raised high, lurched forward, its giant-iron teeth ready to tear holes in the roof. Before the shovel landed on its target, the driver fell from the seat of the shovel and landed with a thud on the ground.   “What happened, Mike?” The boss asked.
“I don’t know, Boss. I was sitting there gettin’ ready to tear into the roof, when I found myself on the ground.”
“Well get back up there and let’s get this done. Today, Mike. Today.”
“Okay, Boss.” He mounted the cab again, hand on the levers, a roar of the engine and the shovel began to drop. Before it hit the roof, the driver fell out of his seat again. This time he was knocked unconscious. When he woke, he was dazed, too dizzy to climb back up to his seat. The foreman sent him home and ordered another worker to climb up and get the job done.
The new worker put his hand to the controls with confidence until he was literally thrown from his seat, landing yards away from the shovel. He got up, brushed himself off, stared at his boss.
“No way I’m gonna use that equipment, it’s haunted.” He ran to his car and drove off down Main Street and out of sight.
“What’s the matter with you? Are you afraid of a little work? Never mind, I’ll do it myself,” the foreman hollered.
He climbed up into the cab and grabbed the controls, a look of determination on his brow. He pushed forward on the lever, but instead of the shovel obeying his command, he was thrown from the cab and landed on his back several feet from the shovel. It is as if the equipment has a mind of its own, possessed if you will.
A year later Sadie Craig’s house still stands on Main Street, and it has a new porch courtesy of the town. Sadie’s old white-wicker chair was removed from the storage shed at Goodwill; they never were able to sell it. The chair was placed on the porch and sometimes in the evening you can see, and hear, that old rocker, squeak… squeak… squeak as you pass Sadie Craig’s old Cape on Main Street across the road from Pineview Cemetery where she is buried; or is she?


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