There Was an Old Woman Who Lived By a Brook [Bumped]

I'm not sure why, but I feel like crying. That was a wonderful story.

Posted by Patvann at February 13, 2017 4:33 PM

That one excels even Ambrose Bierce. Wonderful!

Posted by Frank P at February 13, 2017 4:59 PM

Some of us have ghosts that follow us a few steps behind; they are from the past and can only come so close. Maybe others lead but mine follow, or at most flank like Stonewall's cavalry scouts, but always with a purpose, a lesson, even a tease. The experience is a less startling this decade than previous, and leaves an unfillable pang of regret I cannot compare to anything.
Embrace your ghosts, if yours are like mine their emotions are tender.

Posted by Dan Patterson at February 13, 2017 5:06 PM

As a boy, we lived poor -- but always helped the poorer.
Thank you for your shared memories in this wonderful ghost story.

Posted by Sam at February 13, 2017 5:14 PM

Boy! Can I identify with this. I left home 53 years ago and only in the last ten have I made short trips back to visit my sister, old friends and a few cousins. I drag my wife to childhood haunts and revel her with my boring stories. And I find ghosts, sometimes long forgotten ghosts. What bothers me most is to go to a place that was significant in my life and it simply isn't there anymore. My parents house on 2 acres is gone and in it's place are four McMansions. My high school is still there but it isn't safe to get out of your car and walk around now. It is a strange mix of nostalgia, loss, anger and sadness. Friends have passed, things have changed. It is true, you can't go home again.

Posted by GoneWithTheWind at February 13, 2017 5:26 PM

It was absolutely a beautiful story, with a beautiful ending.

Posted by Jewel at February 13, 2017 5:27 PM

Reminds me of my home at the same time and not far away from where you are Gerard. Brings back wonderful memories.

Posted by Terry at February 13, 2017 5:46 PM

So lovely. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Leslie at February 13, 2017 5:59 PM

When I was young, there was a new wonder every day; life exploding--loaded, fragrant. Entering late middle age I am not really surprised that this kind of wonder is almost vanished. What does surprise me is that there are still some new wonders, and that there are ghosts who teach me things.

Posted by rigeldog at February 13, 2017 6:32 PM

Beautiful story and well told as usual.

BTW does anyone know if Happy Acres has opened shop anywhere else since tumblr shut him down? I really enjoyed his commentary and quirky pictures.

Posted by Arty at February 13, 2017 6:52 PM

What a Dad. We never quite get Dad until years after he's gone, and it finally sinks in how cleverly he taught us so much.

Posted by Mike Anderson at February 13, 2017 6:55 PM

Beautiful. Thank you.

Posted by Julie at February 13, 2017 6:57 PM

Dads don't really keep secrets about the important things in's just that it takes us quite a long time to really understand the purpose of Dads and what they left us.

Posted by indyjonesouthere at February 13, 2017 7:49 PM

Well, that clinched my blurry eyes up and trembled my lower lip until I smiled.
I'm so very glad you told us.

Posted by DeAnn at February 13, 2017 7:59 PM

@Arty, Mr Happy Acres has decided to take some time off- he is blue about his soon-to-be empty nest. I told him he was missed.

Posted by Leslie at February 13, 2017 8:48 PM

That touched me, in part because three of the four homes I lived in as a boy with my family no longer exist. I have no choice but to remember what I can of them.

Posted by pfsm at February 13, 2017 9:35 PM

Thank you Leslie. I discovered H.A. through American Digest and both were regular stops for me. He is indeed missed. Wish him 'all the best' from me.


Posted by Arty at February 13, 2017 10:03 PM

That was beautiful.

Posted by The Old Salt at February 13, 2017 10:28 PM

You got a lot more than silver dollars.

Posted by Glenn at February 13, 2017 11:39 PM

Simply, gloriously, beautiful. Thanks, Gerard.

Posted by Charlie at February 14, 2017 3:04 AM

Being haunted by kind spirits is earning a medal of honor.

Posted by Howard Nelson at February 14, 2017 4:23 AM

Born and raised in Gettysburg where plenty of ghosts stir, I too moved away at age 11 (1966) and never yet returned. Maybe it's time....

Posted by ghostsniper at February 14, 2017 4:36 AM

HappyAcres was dumped? Was it his white privilege? Perhaps his blatant happiness with life. Or did he commit the ultimate sin of saying "blue lives matter"?

Some years back while traveling in Southern Europe my wife and I encountered a sketchy situation in a semi-public place with a guy who looked dangerous. He asked if we were American. I immediately remembered some advice I had gotten in the past and responded no, that we were Canadian, hey! He believed us and moved on.

Posted by GoneWithTheWind at February 14, 2017 9:39 AM

Absolutely precious. Thank you.

Posted by Grizzly at February 14, 2017 4:16 PM

@Gone WTW- I believe it was his posts about IQ and his general habit of "noticing", that got him kicked off tumblr. He was sent packing with no warning or explanation beyond, "Offensive" material.

Posted by Leslie George at February 14, 2017 5:15 PM

Hey GWTW, what a coincidence. Every time any of my relatives went to Europe they encountered sketchy situations too. They were shot at and bombed the whole time they were there. I promised myself I'd never go.

Posted by Arty at February 14, 2017 5:42 PM

Wow. Just started coming here. Now I'll be back, often. Brought me back 50 years to a similar story. Terrific writing.

Posted by JP at February 14, 2017 8:53 PM

Even knowing your writing as I do, I had to read it three times. Then, the tears came to my eyes. Beautiful.

Posted by Linda at February 15, 2017 8:38 AM

Got me all misty again. Thank you.


Posted by jwm at February 15, 2017 9:16 AM

Thanks for this. So lovely, and so lovely to share.

Posted by Joan of Argghh! at February 15, 2017 4:38 PM

Thank you. I'm glad you got to go home again.

Posted by Grace at February 15, 2017 9:01 PM

I haven't read anything so wonderful in a very long time, Mahalo.

Posted by Island Girl at February 15, 2017 11:38 PM

My father was a very successful CPA, a mathematical wizard who had his own small corporation, with clients that ran throughout South Texas. I saw occasional glimmers of his back-channel generosity, confirmed by many only after his funeral, when he would secretly lobby his contacts throughout the area to grant jobs to promising young men, and his anonymous fund-raising efforts.

One of his many bon mots on this subject was his observation that when you return to find your childhood home, it's not your home that you are seeking, but your childhood.

Posted by Darkwater at February 16, 2017 4:50 AM

My parents are gone, their home sold. I cannot go home again but often they come visit me.
This was beautifully done Gerard.

Posted by Kristin at February 16, 2017 6:08 AM

Wonderful, thanks Gerard.

Posted by tonynoboloney at February 16, 2017 8:37 PM


Posted by pdwalker at February 17, 2017 5:24 AM