Urban art in Massillon. Kels & I think it looks like Bruce McCulloch.
Most people I know grew up someplace with some kind of creepy urban legend centered on a local highway or a woods or a bridge or, of course, a cemetery. Crybaby bridges are all over the place, I heard variations on the school bus wreck and headless motorcycle rider tales from northwest Ohio when I went to college in Bowling Green, and my dad used to tell me about the time he and my grandma tried to go see a haunted headstone over in Carey.
Earlier this summer, on a night my daughter and I were hanging out, I asked her if she wanted to drive past a headstone that used to spook kids around Lake Township. We’d only just watched the Doctor Who episode “Blink” – one of my all-time favorites – so I knew this would give her that fun, goosebump kind of thrill.
The sun hadn’t set yet when we took the narrow two-lane road past the old church and its cemetery.
The thing about this particular headstone is a practically life-sized statue carved from one side, depicting a hooded woman leaning against the monolith. Kids used to say that it cried real tears, or that the sculpture was supposedly sacrilegious in some way. All I know is that because of where it is, out on that isolated stretch of road, and sitting on the edge of a hill in such a way that driving past, you can really only catch a quick glimpse of it before the embankment hides it again, and that’s where the little thrill has always come from, for me: That buildup (especially past dark) of driving out there, slowing down juuuuuust enough to see the pale woman slip into view, then that cold-water-down-the-neck feeling for just a second, and then you were past and laughing.
So Kelsey and I did that – turning around and passing three times, in fact, just for not-too-spooky fun, and joking about Doctor Who and Weeping Angels.
I was never one of those kids who actually pulled over and walked up to the thing – though one of my friends has related a story about hiding behind it and absolutely terrifying a bunch of his friends.
When Jim came up to visit this summer, he and Kelsey and I decided to visit the cemetery on the way to Hartville late one Friday morning.
While it was broad daylight and not nearly as spine-tingling as a midnight drive-by, the headstone itself still had a little of that shuddery feeling to it – I think it’s the eyes: Continue reading
I spent the afternoon hanging out with my daughter – running errands, hitting a couple bookstores, and then picking up a few groceries at Giant Eagle.
We didn’t buy many groceries, so we headed to a self-checkout lane, and since Kels prefers to scan the items, I stepped toward the bagging end of the lane, only to see that a helpful employee had already stepped up and begun bagging our stuff for us. “Thanks,” I said with a nod, and then I turned back to hand groceries to my daughter for scanning.
So we finish up, pay for our purchase, and then step down to the end of the lane to grab the bags. Having finished his work, the bagger has stepped away.
“Hey,” I say to Kels,”Where’s our gallon of water?” There’s a gallon of milk in front of me, and two plastic bags of groceries.
I look to my left, back at the grocery cart we’d been using: empty.
I look back at the grocery conveyor belt: empty.
I check the receipt: the water’s there, so it was obviously rung up. And yet there’s nothing here in front of me but the milk and these two bags, which, it dawns on me, look like precious few groceries considering the total on the bill, and as the confusion starts to really take hold -
- I turn around and look into a cart behind me - which, of course, holds a gallon of water and four bags of groceries, right where the bagger had set them as they were filled. The whole thing lasted maybe 20 or 30 seconds.
Kels and I shake our heads and grin and laugh at ourselves (okay, mostly at me) and this is when I notice the bagger, standing not six feet away, pleasantly overlooking the row of checkout lanes to see where he might be needed next. He catches my eye, and I say, with genuine good humor, “You were enjoying that, weren’t you?”
He shrugs and smiles, and nods briefly. “A little bit.”
Some snapshots from the Uniontown Lions Festival.