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A Christmas Haunting

Not all hauntings are bad, or sad. But they are always, it seems, sobering. Sobering, and unexpected. Perhaps it is this sudden arrival of a memory—like turning a corner and running into a long-ago love—that makes them feel scary. Something not on the day’s plan jumps at you and silently shouts, “Boo.” Today it was Della, who arrived as a Christmas ornament.

Della’s boyfriend had made the pink and green plastic flying pig decoration he sent to me. He wrote that the winged pig had been a favorite character of Della’s when she and he performed comical acts with a local theatrical group. Della loved to laugh, and gave this gift to others. She and I met when we both trained in martial arts. She had many facets, all reflecting the strong and purposeful person she was. Such a powerful force that she never had time, nor the inclination, to frown. She was 30 years younger than me and was as a sister. I treasured her during our years together.

Stone building resembling church or castle

Della and her boyfriend, Wren, were driving through Montana some three years ago. They were on vacation, and a late afternoon snow was beginning. The approaching driver was not on vacation, he was just drunk, and that was enough. Enough to leave my lovely friend unattended in the snow, covered with a blanket. Wren told me that it was this sight that forced him to realize she was truly gone.

Tonight I am alone. My wife Mary has gone to New Mexico to visit our three children, now grown with families of their own. I’m here to take care of our many animals, one of which is recovering from surgery and needs much attention. I don’t mind, as I know this is where I am supposed to be. I take it as an opportunity to open myself to adventures. Yesterday I was Santa at our local veterinarians’ Christmas party. I was able to sit with people and their pets. My favorite was a little goat who looked at me with golden eyes. I wondered what he thought of such an apparition. But it was enjoyable, and I look forward to more such adventures this coming week. It’s also a time to reflect and open myself to callers. Perhaps that’s why the ghosts are beginning to visit—why the pig with wings dropped by and landed in our Christmas tree. They know they are welcome. Perhaps too this is why I’m here at this moment drinking Della’s Delight tea, a special mix a local shop makes up in memory of a most wonderful lady.

One more thing: I ask Della, as if asking a presence, what might I do today to let those who make up my life—my family, my friends, the animals who live with me, the people I may meet this week—what may I do to make them wish to return to me one day, not to frighten me, but rather to say thank you, smile, and then go their way. Then I listen, and keep listening, and sometimes the strangest things happen.

Merry Christmas to all,

Stanley Odle 17 December, 2023

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1 bình luận

Lovely post. Thanks for alerting me to its presence.

As context for the flying pig, in case you haven't seen it, here's a link to Della's pig act:

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