After a reenactment weekend, Goose Tucker inadvertently brings home Civil War soldier Jefferson Eaves’ diary and is shocked to discover Jefferson’s spirit has come along, too.
Through the diary, Jefferson tells Goose about his true love, Calvin, who was a former slave who fought for the Union. With no record of Calvin’s death or service found, Goose figures Jefferson might not want to cross over until Calvin receives due recognition.
Jefferson also speaks of an acorn planted as a sign of commitment to their future. When reenactment leader Patrick O’Hanlon calls looking for the diary, he tells Goose about his plans to return down south to protest the chopping down of an old oak tree. Is this the tree that grew from Calvin and Jefferson’s acorn?
Goose, with Jefferson in tow, decides to go with Patrick to find out. What happens between the four men once there is a lesson in healing and love.
“Why do you think you’re here?” I asked.
Likely, because I don’t know where else to be.
“How come you can see me, but I can’t see you?” I looked around to make sure that was still true. “Or hear you?”
I don’t know. Ask your ... eye pad, did you call it?
“IPad, like the letter I and pad as in writing pad. Only it uses electronics and my finger instead of a pencil. I snatched it up and did what Jefferson suggested. “It’s the latest model. I stood in line four hours for it.”
They are scarce, like food at times?
“Well ... no.”
Then why else would one stand in line so long for a letter I pad?
The rollercoaster of emotion, fear, sad, wonder, smiles that didn’t feel the least bit forced, it was something else n. “Fair question. I’m not sure I have an answer. I did some checking while you were writing, though, and it says here, in order to talk with a ghost, I should use an Ouija board, get a group together, or at least one more person. Rip and my sister, maybe. Then, we’re supposed to set the mood. Supposedly, you’re easier to talk to between nine at night and six A.M.” I checked the time on my phone. It was still afternoon. “Um, I ask you questions and you might answer, it says. We seem to have that down without the Ouija board. Let me see what else I can find.”
There was a ton of information online about how to contact the spirit world. I’d already made contact. I wanted to see Jefferson, to hear him.
“One article says I will only see you if I believe you’re real.”
And you don’t?
I had the diary in my lap again, so I could see the words as they came. As I stared at those three, I still wasn’t sure. “I must, right? I see the words being written right before my eyes. I either believe or ...”
Or you’re stark raving mad. I’ve have had such thoughts, myself, Goose. Try stumbling about in some sort of limbo for a hundred and fifty years without debating your sanity. I think it can’t be done. War has strange effects on the mind, though.
“That it does, Small Jefferson. And not just war. I’ve explained how my mind got fucked up. I left one war and came home to a different battle of daily violence. Messed up. I apologize for the profanity. It just slips out. Anyway, yeah. I was wondering if any progress I’d made as far as getting my sh -- myself together -- had gone to pot, as I sit here talking to a ghost.”
I’m sorry, then, that I brought this on you.
“No, Jefferson. Don’t be, because I want this to be real so badly. We’re programmed to fear specters and this kind of thing. In TV shows, books, and movies, except for Casper, you’re usually bad guys. Here’s the thing. I ain’t afraid of no ghost, but I am afraid of ... no ghost.”
Once again, I’m not sure I understand.
“Out dated Ray Parker, Jr. reference. Probably equally outdated in either of our centuries, actually. No worries, though. What I’m trying to say is I’m not afraid of you being real anymore, of being haunted. I’m more afraid you’re not, and that this is going to suddenly stop and all I’ll be left with is more doubts about my mental state.”
If all you must do is believe, if that will make it possible to see me, or at least hear me, please, Goose, please try.
“Okay.” I relaxed, but that didn’t feel right. “I believe. I believe.” Concentrating with all my might, trying to feel my conviction in my heart and soul as well, I squeezed my eyes tight and balled my fists until they hurt. “I believe. I believe. I want to see Jefferson. I want to hear him. I want this to be real. It is real. It is.”
When I relaxed again, unclenched my fists, opened one eye, and then the other, cautious, yet hopeful, what happened completely shocked me.