For February 2013 Phyllis Patterson

Encounter

By: PM Smith

I Got Dissed By an Otherworldly

…Or how I discovered that it is a faux paux to ask a noble spirit to fetch a beer.

It was the usual bright, hot and humid Sunday in South Florida. The perfect day for our weekly sojourn to the white sand beaches and the tepid waters of the Gulf. Being among those fortunate enough to live in near-paradise we never took for granted the beautiful beaches that provided entertainment for everyone in the family.

The kids are happy as clams just sitting in a shallow puddle and watching the water slush in and out with the action of the waves—located a safe distance from them of course. They are never out of sight of my watchful eyes but seem lost in their own small adventures. When they are not being mesmerized by the fun of sitting in the aforementioned puddles, they become absorbed in pouring out shapes of wet sand to make a rather precarious sand castle. Boredom does not exist in this magical place.

It was the one and only day of the week that I could count on both of my pre-schoolers napping at the same time. The sun and surf were the only things that could sufficiently sap their energy levels to a point that they both slept before the sun set.

Once all are bedded down. I soak up the quiet of the air-conditioned house and doze on the living room couch and enjoy my brief respite from responsibility.  The girls are snoozing in their rooms and their father is snoring in the master bedroom. It is one of those times that the whole scene is forever printed in your mind. Safe. Peaceful. Contented. Ordinary. Well, maybe not!

I am lost in contemplation to how my life has changed since giving birth to my two daughters when I notice a shape moving from the corridor. It silently crosses the living room and is headed toward the kitchen. Everything is in deep shadows as the sun has now set and lights have yet to be turned on in the house.

Without even looking closely at the shape I say absently. “Oh, are you getting up? Will you bring me a beer?”  Immediately it is abundantly clear that the shape is not my husband. I focus my full attention on the sight before me. It is very tall and dressed in a long white robe and a white turban.  In his left hand he is holding a gnarled walking staff. The apparition… (Believe me, by this point it is absolutely appropriate to refer to this agent of the not-of-this-world as such.)… turned to glance back over his shoulder at me. The disdainful look on the face was filled with annoyance and outrage that I had presumed to address him with such disrespect.

I simply shut up and watch the form disappear from the room and sit in the gloom for a couple of minutes trying to wrap my head around what I have just experienced.

I finally accept the fact that the encounter was not a dream.  I know that I was not drunk or drugged, (I never even got the requested beer). This is as much of this strange event as I can get my head around. “Not dreaming and not drunk—then what?” I think uneasily.

I do not feel frightened as the image seems only to be insulted that I have interfered with it’s walk and have treated him like a servant.

To this day, I remain confused by this encounter, even though it is more thirty years passed. Sometime after the encounter, I was sharing a picture book with the girls at the public library and could not believe my eyes. When I turned a page there, staring out at me, is the photograph of a somber, regal looking Seminole Chief…and it looks just like my apparition!

The house we lived in was probably on ancient Seminole Indian Land and it is a real possibility that the late afternoon stroll had been going on for eons. I probably just happened to be in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time—who can make that call? I imagine the ghost went back and told his friends about the arrogant peasant that expected the Chief to fetch libations.

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About Jim Hilton

Just having a good time writing about our little adventures.
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