I was at my mom’s in Louisiana a couple of weeks ago. This is the house where my brother lost his life. I try not to think too much about that, even when I pass the spot where they found him. The first time I go through there, yeah, I can see him on the floor, dead. After that, the room goes back to being just a bedroom.
I’m not afraid of ghosts or anything like that, but I prefer to sleep in my rv. It has all my stuff and it’s like my own little house. My mom also lives in a rough area of town, so I feel a bit safer with the alarms and locks of the rv.
My oldest brother was also staying there while I was in. One of the first things I noticed when I saw him was that each of his toes was wrapped in a bandage. He showed me one of his toenails and said he had some sort of fungus on it. That it started with one and over a couple of years had spread to all of his toes. He had heard from an old “traiteur” (similar to voodoo woman) to put Vick’s Salve on the nails and bandage them. They looked ratty, those nails. I called them “pickle toes.”
There was no way I was going to step foot in that tub/shower at mom’s and catch some crazy toenail infection. Glad I have my own shower in my rv.
The weather was strange that first night. It was a wind storm like I’d never heard before. I’d seen and heard hurricane force winds, but that came with rain. This storm had no rain. It was just loud and it sounded like the house was going to fall apart. It got late and I needed to shower and hit the sack. So I went out to the rv and noticed my water pump was not working.
This rv of mine, a Westfalia, is a lemon. We call it the “West-failure” because things break every time I take it out.
Okay, plan B. Connect the water hose to the rv and just use water pressure. This has happened before.
So here I am standing outside in the dark and I’m hearing sirens all over town. This is a rough little town, rougher than I can remember. My hair is straight up in the air because the wind won’t let up. The spigot is practically on the ground. My tiny hand can barely disconnect my mom’s hose so I can attach mine to it. Also, I can’t see. It is pitch black dark.
I’m thinking maybe there is an angel somewhere in this yard watching over.
I finally get the hose connected to the spigot and try to attach it to the rv. By now I have a flashlight in my mouth as I try to screw the thing on. More sirens, more wind, and I completely go brain dead on which way to turn it. It should be as simple as screwing on a bottle cap but I can’t figure it out. All I can think is I do not want pickle toes.
The thing just won’t screw on. I get a wrench and finally get it connected. By now, my hands are full of little cuts because the connection is in a tight spot. But it’s connected.
I go in the rv. No water. Go check outside, water is spraying everywhere. The wind picks it up and sprays me down.
I’m thinking maybe there are no angels. Then I think that maybe the wind blows those whispy figures back into heaven. Or maybe, angels just have a sense of humor.
Soaking wet, I give in. Go in my mom’s house and shower while wearing my flip-flops. No pickle toes for me. And I flop onto the couch for the night. I’m too tired to worry about crack-heads breaking into the place. I hadn’t slept inside my mom’s house in over fifteen years.
Sacked out on the sofa, I noticed sounds in the attic. Sounds like children crawling around up there. I’ve heard rats and mice crawl around in attics and this wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the wind. It was a creature. And I wasn’t scared.
Pickle toes, I am afraid of. Ghosts, scary attic sounds, no. Mom told me the next day it was a family of squirrels making that noise. Good thing I didn’t lose any sleep over it.
Here’s an interesting photo I took on my drive home. An interesting rainbow.
Wait, look closer, I’ll zoom in:
I know, man, I KNOW.