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The Ghosts in the Kitchen

In 1903 my grandfather, Joseph Hampton Gregory, was age 42, and after years of toil, he finally achieved enough success to purchase a bit of land. He bought a 165 acre Kentucky rock farm and built a beautiful, classic country home for his family. He named the farm Sunnyview. My father was six months old when the family moved to that farm, with his two older sisters, Irene, age 11, and Eva Lee, age 8. My father and his sisters grew up there. Their parents had previously given each of the girls a nearby farm of their own when they married, and my father inherited the original farm after their parents' deaths.

     In 1926, my father, then age 23, built a small country general store at Sunnyview, from which he sold packaged goods, soft drinks, prepared soups, and gasoline. That farm and the general store remained in the family for another forty years, and numerous family tales and legends grew up around it.

     There were two special characteristics of Sunnyview. The old house was said to be haunted, and the farm was thought to be snake heaven. These characteristics have generated many family ghost stories and humorous tales handed down from life at Sunnyview. Countless tales of ghosts in the night, odd noises, and snake encounters are the staple of family legends.

     My parents married in 1948, a second marriage for both. They lived at the family farm for several years thereafter. I was but a toddler, but I clearly remember the night that ghosts visited our kitchen.

     The incident occurred when the family was living at the farm. The old farmhouse was a two-story affair with bedrooms on the upper floor. One night as the family was retiring for the evening, and we were ascending the stairs, a picture that had hung at the top of the stairs for many months suddenly flew off the wall and bounced down the stairs, shattering the glass.

     This startling occurrence upset my mother, who thought it surely must have been a ghost. My father assured her it was merely a loose nail finally giving way, no doubt provoked by the vibrations of our steps on the stairs.

     After calming herself for a moment, Mother took me on to my bed while father picked up the shattered picture frame, and cleaned up the broken glass. The family retired and the incident momentarily forgotten.

     But scarcely had the lights been extinguished when a raucous clatter arose from the kitchen. Possibly the amount and character of noise has been exaggerated by my young ears, active imagination and the passage of years, but it seemed as if surely the entire supply of pots and pans were flying around the kitchen and banging into one another.

     My father arose from his bed and rushed downstairs to see what was happening. Mother grabbed me and followed a few moments later. I clearly remember entering the kitchen in my mother’s arms and seeing nothing whatever amiss and watching as my father opened cabinet doors and drawers, looking for the source of the noise. Everything was in place and undisturbed.

     After several minutes of searching for the source of the noise and finding nothing, this event was once again attributed to ghosts or spirits at first, then after more careful consideration the attribution migrated from the supernatural to the mundane. Rats, my father concluded, or maybe a snake must have been in the cabinets and rattling things about.

     Perhaps so.

     The old farmhouse and surrounding property was certainly rife with pests of both sorts as well as countless other critters, and ghost stories had been common. Whatever the cause, the nocturnal adventures of the non-human residents of the farmhouse had left no obvious traces of their activity, and whether ghost or varmint the noise did not reoccur.

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