Phote by Chance Argrela (freerangestock.com)
The house stood in the middle of the block at the top of a slight hill. It was an old farm house that had once been surrounded by orchards and farm land. Town used to be 10 blocks away and a trip in the wagon or on foot lead to a small main street. The bank and the dry goods store stood across from each other. When the children wanted a cold drink the soda fountain/drug store was where they headed. In later years the livery stable was converted to a gas station with beautiful glass dishes adorning the front window.
The farming family that lived in the old house worked hard day in and day out. Several generation lived and died in the up stairs bedrooms and the sun porch perched on the front of the house upstairs had seen teen age sons sleeping and signalling with candles and flashlights to friends at the bottom of the hill.
But as the years passed, the only family member left was a very old woman. She needed to move and the new young principal, with his family, was moving to town and the high school had been built only steps from the old house’s back door. So the sale was made and the three children along with their parents moved in.
The house seemed to have a life of it’s own. You could stand on the landing going upstairs and look out a door that had once opened. A Romeo and Juliet balcony the little girl dreamed and the boys visualized ropes strung from the tree to the railing. And the house was very happy.
The little girl had always been afraid of the dark and things that went bump in the night but she was never afraid in this house. She would willing sleep upstairs in the corner bedroom by herself and night mares did not plague her. She only spoke once about the smelly old farmer that kept her company but the parents were busy and the mom could never find the source of the odor. She finally discounted it to the age of the house and a nest of woodpecker that occupied one closet wall. It seemed it was not important. The house was happy and so was the family.
But the vacant lot next door beckoned. The husband had given his wife the old house of her dreams and now he was ready to move into something that did not feel so old. And they built a new home, moved next door and waited for the old house to sell. The mom mowed the huge lawn under the giant trees that belonged to the old house and kept her clean and ready for a new family. Finally one day a family came and decided to buy the house and the trouble began.
Water began to appear and the trap under one sink mysteriously exploded leaving a jagged hole in it. Later they found water dripping off the basement pipes and a small leak in the second story was finally found to be the problem…it was a well hidden leak designed to drive the buyers away. So the day came when the mom had to confront the ghostly farmer. With the new almost owner in tow she mounted the steps to the upstairs bathroom. She stood in the middle of the floor. “I want you to stop this and stop it now. These are nice people and they will treat the old house gently and they have children just like mine!” Chills went up the almost new owners arms but she stood firm too. She looked at the mother questioningly. “Well”, the mom said, “You know every old house has a ghost and this one is a smelly old farmer.” Nice, and caring and a little smelly were the words the mom used. The new almost owner just smiled.
The odor seemed to subside, no more water leaked. The old house was very quiet and did not cause trouble. As for the odor, it did seem to follow the principal and his family around until all the children were grown. It even came to visit at a new house many miles away one day many years later but when there were no children at home it simply disappeared.
The family still talks lovingly about the old smelly farmer and his presence in their lives. They always felt they were better for having known him. And it surely makes a wonderful Halloween story…”Did I every tell you about the haunted house we lived in one time?”
Truth is stranger than fiction!!!