Hey Folks, yea it's me again. I got a story here for you that happend a long time ago. It will turn to a Ghost type story I promise, so bear with me. It's kind of a sad story so grant me another post or two and I will get it all out, Thanks
A very long time ago when I was around eight/nine years old I had a friend by the name of Scott. We were neighbors and both of our fathers farmed. I had a pretty good Dad I must admit. As long as my chores were done I could pretty much go where I pleased and come home when I pleased. My old man to find the wood box empty the next morning was a bad sight to behold indeed. Scott's Dads name was Jake and he was a rough ole cuss, never went to Church on Sunday morning. I heard that he was bad to smack his wife around if he thought she needed it. I can remember Scott coming to School with a smacked up eye now and again. It was always 'I fell' or 'the cow kicked me'. We always passed his farm Sunday morn and Dad shook his head while looking across a field at the Man sitting on a Tractor. Thats not right Dad would say, this is the Lords day and the man should be in Church with his Family. Come Christmas I would get something like a new bike when Scott got things like work gloves, hay hooks, paper for School, really stupid stuff. One year I gave my friend my old Bicycle as I got a new one. The next morning it was sitting back on our porch. Dad called him and he told Dad that 'Scott had no time for such nonsense. Anyway, I guess you get the picture.
Down by the River there was this spooky old half of a shack that housed I think there were four electric pumps in it. It had a roof and three sides with the open side facing the River. These pumps supplied our as well as other farms along the River. Each was expected to take care of his own pump. These things were huge! When you walked in there was only a plank about ten inches wide to walk on. I always thought they looked like Robots. They were four/five feet tall and sounded like Thunder when the switch was thrown on one of them. I always went down with Dad to turn ours on and do what maintenance that had to be done. Just a couple bearings at the top and bottom of the pump that had to be greased. The big thing was taking a big 10' pole that hung inside the shed and reach down and clean out the trash that had gathered around the screen of the intake of your pump. Dad always cleaned the trash from all of them while he was at it. The pump that Scott's Family used was on the end and it looked rough. See, Dad would clean and sand his down every year or so and paint it. Bright red it was and it was always the prettiest pump in there. Dad was like that, he liked his stuff looking new even if it wasn't. You had to be careful ole Jake's pump. It needed a screen around it as the old one had long since rusted away. Dad would call him and tell him 'Jake, you need to get a screen on that pump. If you suck something up in there that bust up your pump it's really going to cost you. I guess it was mostly'Yea, yea I gotta get that done. Some days it was 'mind your own damn Business. The old man was moody and it could change while in the middle of a conversation with him. I would go over there once in a while to visit Scott but mostly he came to our house when we did play together. Sometimes we would stop by after Sunday night Church service for a short visit. It was like 10/11:00 at night and Scott was always still out in the barn milking or feeding something. Always, 'just finishing up' he would say. I always helped so we could maybe get a game of checkers in or something. No X boxes back then, we had to make our own fun back in the day. Visits were always short and to the point. Conversations mostly had to do with Farming, Crops and the like. Dad had made the comment about getting a screen around that pump at the River again. Need to get that fixed Jake Dad said. See, Dad knew that he would send Scott down to turn the pump on for him. Me and Dad had been down there before when Scott came down. He was always glad to see someone there to help him. I had never done it but Dad said that just throwing the breaker on one of these pumps to turn it on could strain a grown mans back. 'You need to just let me worry about my equipment' Jake said. We went home just after that comment. Scott had a pipe hid in the weeds down by the pump house. He used it to slip over the breaker handle to use it for leverage. He had to keep it hid because he told me that his Dad would make fun and call him 'Pansy' if he saw him using it.
This one Friday I remember that my friend Scott had not made it to School. When I got home Mom told me that he had been hurt and he was at Home. I got on my bike and rode over to check on my friend. He had a big knot on the side of his head and it had one of his eyes swollen shut. I leaned over and whispered 'did your Dad do this?' No, he said that he was using the pole to clear something away from the pump intake while it was running. It looked like a shirt he said.The pump sucked it up and grabbed the pole. It jerked the pole around and hit me in the head. Only one day that old Jake let that boy lay there and had him right back to work again. He didn't come back to School because he said he was not well enough. Yet he was plenty well to load down a hay wagon and feed cattle and the like. The next visit for my little friend to the pump house didn't rate so well either, more later
The Blue Flame
I guess a week or so had passed and I did not see my friend at School. I went over one day to visit and he met me at the end of his drive. He told me that his Dad was in a really bad mood and it was best if I went back home. I noticed that some of the swelling was still there on his head so I ask him how he was feeling. About that time his Dad rode up on the little Honda he used to get around the Farm on. Scott! he said 'We don't have enough pressure in the line to power the sprinklers in the lower 20. Get your ass down to the pump house and see if anything is blocking the pump. He looked at me and said 'Boy, ain't you got nothing to do? Thats why your Daddy don't get the return I do. He has a Son that's always off dick'n around somewhere when he ought to be working'. I told Scott goodbye and to be careful at the pump house. I reached over and patted him on the shoulder and told him I would see him in School tomorrow I hope. I went home and told Dad that he had sent Scott back down to the pump house alone and Dad got furious! I didn't tell him the part about Jake telling me that I was no account and just dicked around. That might have been just enough to send Dad over with an Ass kicking in mind. Go get in the truck son. I'll tell your mother that we are going to make a run to town to get some screen for that stupid old mans pump. I guess we were gone about an hour. When we got home Mom was standing on the porch and told us to get in here and wash up because supper was on. I went on in and Dad said he was going to run that screen on down and see if he could work it into place without having to shut all the pumps down and get down into the water. So he got back in the truck and drove down to the River. About a half an hour went by and Mom was getting really worried. It was just about dark when she ask me if I would ride my bike down and check on him. I went to the door and there he was about to come in, covered in Blood! Dad what happened! That brought Mom to the porch and she started screaming, 'are you alright! are you alright! What happened, where are you hurt!' It's not my blood he said. Call the Police and tell them to bring an Ambulance with them. You had better call Jake and his wife as well and get him down there. Dad? What is it? The tears were streaming down my face (like they are now) Whats happened! Is it Scott? Is he hurt bad? Is he going to be alright? He didn't want to tell me directly but I noticed him ever so slightly shake his head no at Mom. I went in the living room and sat down and cried. Mom came in and sat with me to try and comfort. We soon heard the Police and Ambulance coming. Jakes Mom had come inside where Jake had told her to go. I heard him tell her to stay here until he found out how bad it was. In our house you could see everything that came up the road. Dad had the place well lit with the big street lamps. When the black coroners car came she kind of flipped out and started screaming that she wanted to see her baby! In just a few minutes the car came back up and Mom couldn't hold her inside any longer. I guess Mom didn't want her to run down there in the dark and maybe hurt herself, that might have been why she tried so hard to keep her in. But she got out and insisted on seeing Scott. She screamed and told them to get her son out of that bag! He just needs to be loved and he will be fine. The Police had to physically restrain that woman so the coroner could get Scott to where he needed to be.
I never saw him but a few days later I heard Dad talking to Mom and he said that he had lost his footing trying to dislodge an old quilt that had gotten hung up in the pump. It hooked the pole he was using and he fell in. Somehow he got tangled up in the wet blanket and he lost his arm at the shoulder. There was blood up near the top rungs in the make shift wooden ladder that was there to gain access to the turbine part of the pumps (in the water) I guess he tried to climb out but he just lost too much blood and lost conciseness and fell back in. Dad had shut all the pumps down and carried him up the ladder and outside onto the grass. He was already gone when Dad had got there but he tried mouth to mouth and CPR. I heard by another neighbor later say that Dad threw that wire screen at Jake and told him to stick it in his ass! Anyway, they buried my friend that next Sunday and almost all his class mates were there. I never saw ole Jake shed a tear, I know because I was looking for some. His mother was in a straight jacket with a couple escorts. In later years found out that she had lost her mind over the death of Scott and spent many years in a mental Hospital. Ole Jake died in his mid fifties of a heart attack. I heard he died while arguing with a ditch rider over water rights. His place was sold by an older son that I never met and it is now a wildlife refuge for bald eagles.
That next spring Dad and a neighbor worked that old pump house over. It looked like a little cabin on the River when they finished. There was a floor anywhere you wanted to step foot in it. The roof never leaked again and it was all insulated and even a heater/cooler installed. Below, Dad hired a man to come in and weld a cage all around the intakes of these pumps. You could go down on grated steel steps and stand on top of the cage above these turbines and be in complete safety. As he said when it was finished ' A little late but at least no one else will ever suffer the same fate little Scott did. On the door of this house is a sign cut out of stainless steel that reads 'Scott's safe House' It's been years since I have been there but I have no doubt that the new owners never removed it because I remember Dad telling them the story behind it before he and Mom sold out and moved to town.
This is the first account I ever had with any thing to do with Ghost... It was very safe for me to go down and turn the pumps on and off and I did it often. Mostly because it had an Awesome steel porch built onto it and I always kept a fishing pole behind the door and fished off it every chance I got. This was almost a year to the date later when I was sent to power up/down a pump for Dad. The breakers still were hard to throw and I had a little stool that I stood on to help me to get the height I needed. You see, the switches worked backwards. When the lever was in the up position the power was off, when down power was on. I had no problem swinging on it to get it turned on. But, lifting it up was quite a struggle. Remember, I was just a little skinny ten year old kid who maybe at that time weighed in at about 90 pounds, maybe. I got my stool and positioned it under the switch and began to shove. I just about had it to the trip point where it gets really easy and I gave up for another try. We had a little squawk box that was wired from the house to the pump house. We could page the house or vice-versa if we needed to. Dad calls me about then and ask if I am having trouble. Of course I said No! I was just about to get it turned off. Alright he said, call me if you need me. I told him alright and took my finger off the transceiver button. Chills almost took my breath away when I turned and saw a pipe on the stool that I was just standing on. It was the same pipe that Scott kept hid outside all the time. The same one he used because I remembered it from when he used it. It was only about a foot long and it fit right over the breaker handle. I had not seen it since the last time I saw him use it. I wasn't scared anymore. I took it in my hand, put it over the handle and shut it off with no problem. Ours was the only pump running and the place was silent in a few seconds after that big turbine whined down. I put the pipe behind the door with my fishing pole. I said, Thanks Scott! and felt a pat right in the middle of my back when I walked out the door and I still was not scared. I clasp the lock on the outside and stood there and talked with my friend a minute. I knew it was him that put that pipe there. It was 200 yards in any direction up, down the River or up the hill to my house before you could see anything big enough to hide behind. No place for anyone to hide. It was all flat and not a weed or a tree in sight and all the crops were young and only a couple inches high, There was no one there. I ask him what he thought of the new pump house? I told him that I missed him and I also ask him why he was still hanging around here. I ask him didn't he have someplace nice to go? I never heard or felt anything again but I did tell him that there is probably a nice place for you to go and you should go there. I then started up the hill towards the house and told him that we will always be friends and hopefully we can sit down again someday for that game of checkers we never finished. And that was it! I never felt my friends presents again. I hope he went home, home for real.
The Blue Flame