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October 31, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Gentleman mist missed

Shadows. (Image:© all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

It’s right there: what is real. But are they shadows or are we? (Image ©)

Dogs can tell. Whether the one in front of them is OK or not.

I never worried about him – the vague gentleman in the grey at the end of my bed as a child.

After all they teach you that song from Hansel and Gretel in school and all.

I just figured maybe he was one of them.

The quiet man of misty grey at the end of my bed never said a word. Maybe offered a small smile and a finger to the lips signaling “hush” or signed that I was to go to sleep. But that was it.

 A lot of what grownups do seems like magic. Kids are simply along for the ride.
He always made the room feel warm and safe.
In later years, there was rarely a glimpse of him – except once in a while when I was someplace a little risky. I’d feel a sudden chill and notice him standing by the exit nodding his head towards the door. Usually I left. Something just wasn’t right.
But called it survival instinct, or Universal Consciousness, or just “tired and ready to go.” Never the veil being thin.
As we closed up the house after my dad died, we went through piles of old family pictures.
Lots of laughs those: swim suits that looks more like ski underwear, ornate baby carriages, little toddler boys in dresses for portraits, Beatle bangs, go-go boots, massive bell bottoms. Generations of costumes, I mean, fashionable attire.
Then one old faded photo flipped out in front of me.
There he was: the faded grey man at the foot of my bed now smiling up at me.
Totally unknown and never seen before.
Some many great great greats uncle from the Civil War era. His name barely legible in the ornate old ink on the back.
Swear he winked.
Dad used to say, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.” (Shakespeare/Hamlet)
A soft smile back at them both.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
When the days grow short and the winds unsettle, it’s time to sit close to a fire and tell tales.
I’ve offered a few past experiences. 
Make of them what you will.
  • Life on the way out. (2016) “People are always stopping by on their way out. If you’ve grown up around really old people, you know they do what they want…”
  • Dark, stormy, and spooky. Mommy! (2015) “Again. Standing at the back door. Completely dressed. Neatly. She couldn’t have managed all those buttons herself. What’s with that child?…”

Spooky fiction with a twist:

  • Beside her. (2012) “A light touch. Or was it….”
  • Dark and stormy night (more than two sentences) (2013) “It was a dark and stormy night.(She always thought Snoopy as a writer was underrated.) No way they could force her out now. Not with this downpour. They know she’d fight the only way she could: dead weight…”
Woman posed in Halloween costume. Actress Marjorie Peterson, The Tattler, March 1922 (USPD., artist life/

Wishing you a safe and happy Holler-Ring.(USPD/


  1. Sue Vincent / Oct 31 2017 5:02 pm

    There is some research to suggest we carry ancestral memory at cellular level. Or perhaps he was just there for you. I’m not sure which explanation is the more magical…


  2. Cecilia Mary Gunther / Oct 31 2017 5:02 pm

    A grey man – that is a wonderful story. Of course if a child told anyone nowadays that there was a man standing at the end of your bed telling you to shush all hell would break loose. How refreshing for this to be such a delightful story.. c


  3. sustainabilitea / Oct 31 2017 5:16 pm

    How interesting!!



  4. shoreacres / Oct 31 2017 6:15 pm

    I don’t doubt that he winked. Of course, I don’t doubt that I’ve seen old man Bailey and his lantern, too.
    I think the people decorating graves for Dia de los Muertos have it right: the dead are travelers, coming and going at will, and we are only the lucky recipients of their attention.


  5. marthaschaefer / Oct 31 2017 6:53 pm

    Thank You.


  6. easyweimaraner / Nov 1 2017 1:28 am

    the man in gray was in my closet as I was a child… his name was Catweazle and my dad had a hard time in the evening with cheking my wardrobe 87 times ;o)


  7. Ally Bean / Nov 1 2017 5:17 am

    That’s one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes. Much truth in it. Especially around this “spirited” time of year.


  8. islandeditions / Nov 1 2017 7:19 am

    All your stories you link to here are now on my reading list – Thanks!! (And when may we expect a published collected edition?)


  9. Kate Crimmins / Nov 1 2017 7:32 am

    We had a ghost in the attic. Remember attics? Sadly houses don’t have them anymore but they were fabulous spaces full of dust and trunks of old clothes and funny pictures. A child’s playground as long as it was light outside.


  10. Curt Mekemson / Nov 1 2017 5:45 pm

    A right proper ghost, Phil. The type that wishes you well. If I saw him suggesting that I leave some place, I’d get out quickly too. Interesting tale for the season. Thanks. –Curt


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