The Ghost

He never ages. That’s one of the perks of being a ghost. He looks the same as when he died. Skinny. Lanky legs. He is loose built, and all freckles.

I watched game six of the World Series with a ghost tonight. I do this every year. He visits during important games.

He doesn’t drink beer or eat peanuts anymore—since he’s only a memory. Still, I put out a bowl of parched peanuts just the same.

He used to eat the hell out of peanuts. He’d crack them open and make a string of jokes that weren’t even funny.

The ghost is notorious for ridiculous jokes.

But he’s not shelling peanuts tonight. And no jokes. He is sitting on the sofa beside me. Legs crossed. Hands folded behind his head.

He never ages. That’s one of the perks of being a ghost. He looks the same as when he died. Skinny. Lanky legs. He is loose built, and all freckles.

He places his size-thirteen barefeet on my coffee table.

“Get your feet off that, Daddy,” I say.

“Why?” he says. “I’m a ghost, remember?”

That’s not the point, it’s the principle.

I’m eating peanuts, we’re watching TV halfheartedly. We’ve got too much to talk about. It’s been a year since I saw him.

This is a good Series. The ghost and I are pulling for the Astros. I’d rather lick a billy goat between the eyes than root for a Dodger.

The ghost wears an Astros hat. He once owned a million ball caps, but had never paid for a single one.

He was a steelworker who dangled from iron rafters, welding. Sometimes, he worked on roller coasters.

Once, he took me to an amusement park during business hours. He unlocked a chainlink fence to a secure area beneath a roller coaster. When the roller-cars rode the upside-down loops, it rained ball caps. Fifteen or twenty hats fell, every ride.

After a few weeks, he’d collected caps from almost every American team.

That is, except the Dodgers. We didn’t keep those hats. We dipped them in blue cheese and lit them with an acetylene blowtorch.

So the ghost is telling a story. It’s one I’ve heard before. But I still like it.

Long ago, I could close my eyes and remember his exact voice. Now, it only comes in dreams. And even those are getting fewer between.

The ghost is a baseball fanatic. In fact, his love of it overshadows his interest in activities like hunting, fishing, camping, and yard work.

The ghost wanted to be a pitcher once, they say he was good. He tried out for semi-pro ball clubs, but didn’t make it.

The ghost claims he’s never been a winner.

“Ain’t never won a damn thing in my life,” he’d often say.

And it was true. I never saw him win a single thing when he was alive.

This genetic trait got passed to me. I’m no winner, either. Never have been. Winning makes me too uncomfortable. I’d rather place fifth. Or sixth. Or eat ice cream.

The TV gets louder. The game is a nail-biter. Both teams are turning this matchup into a knife-fight.

The ghost and I let conversation fade so we can pay attention. I turn my head to watch the ghost. He’s too engrossed in the game to notice me.

He was beautiful.

Astros lose.

The ghost never touched his peanuts.

27 comments

  1. Ann Engel - November 1, 2017 9:15 am

    Sean, thank you for sharing. My Dad would be 127 yrs. old today. He has been “out of sight” for 45 yrs. now.
    I can still hear his voice, see the twinkle in his eye with his witty remarks. He is still missed. However, I read a
    statement the other day which I will share with you……..God is with us, our loved ones are with God, so they
    can’t be too far away!
    I do look forward to your thoughts each day!
    Ann Engel. Denmark

    Reply
  2. Christy Fenn - November 1, 2017 9:46 am

    Hi Sean,Your going to be in my area on Sunday..in Verbena. That is my husbands birthday, I wish we could come see ya, but we have made plans to have dinner with my husbands kids . Do you have a schedule or a list of where you will be going next?
    Thanks for your time. I sincerely love your writings!
    Christy

    Reply
    • Christy Fenn - November 1, 2017 11:05 am

      I found your events calendar 😀

      Reply
  3. Debbie Beach - November 1, 2017 10:03 am

    Some have said that I’m an artist because I have had my jewelry in a few art museums here in FL. I melt glass and create some beautiful unique pieces. However, the way you texturize and paint words with so much color by combining them together as you do is true art in its most rare unalterated form. You are a rare and unique artist and I share your posts almost daily.
    From one artist to another I admire your work. Thank you….
    Debbie Beach

    Reply
  4. Joan Dake - November 1, 2017 12:20 pm

    Odd…I dreamed about my dad last night and don’t do that often. Sigh. He was from the South too. Well, Virginia, and that’s south isn’t it? He was tall and lanky too, loved football more than baseball. I sure do miss him ………..Love you, Jo

    Reply
  5. Kathy Daum - November 1, 2017 12:34 pm

    A beautiful moment/memory. Hang onto those. Go, Dodgers!

    Reply
  6. Jenny Lecka - November 1, 2017 12:48 pm

    Love this. Thanks!!!!!!!

    Reply
  7. Marty from Alabam - November 1, 2017 12:56 pm

    Your Daddy must have been a real hoot. You come by your sharp wit honestly. Please don’t change.

    Reply
  8. David Helms - November 1, 2017 1:28 pm

    The Dodgers, like all large coastal teams, can’t be trusted. Houston needs to pull up their big boy pants and win this thing.

    Reply
  9. Lucy B. - November 1, 2017 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the memories you share and the memories you help me to recall of my daddy and his love of baseball.
    Go ‘stros!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Catherine - November 1, 2017 1:46 pm

    My dad was a baseball fanatic too. Sometimes we would sit in the car at night and listen on the radio to far away games. On Saturday’s he laid on the couch and appeared to be sleeping, softly snoring, watching the ball game. Don’t even think about changing a channel on that black and white. He was watching the game. He too tried out for minor league as a pitcher. His brother tried out for catcher. Together or not at all. In their small hometown they were remembered as the best baseball players to ever happen. I wish he were here to tell my grandkids about those days. Thanks for the memories Shawn.

    Reply
  11. Jack Darnell - November 1, 2017 2:09 pm

    No baseball fans in my family, ‘cept me. Me being a Brooklyn Dodger’s fan. Never liked them Yankees. I really did enjoy the read. Sean was recommended by Sheila (of AL fame) Bought your book last nite. Read a few stories from #1 enjoying it very much. Gotta find one of your novels and give it a shot. The best…

    Reply
  12. Sam Hunneman - November 1, 2017 2:16 pm

    The image of you and your dad standing in a rain of ball caps is going to carry me through my day, Sean. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Gwen McGill - November 1, 2017 2:21 pm

    You are a winner and so was your daddy. Period.

    Reply
  14. Pat Byers - November 1, 2017 2:36 pm

    I, too, have a red headed, freckled face ghost. One that never aged past 53 years.
    Like your ghost, he never got old. When he comes he is always the same, but often younger. He doesn’t speak the words. His mouth doesn’t move. But I know the words he is telling me. We have actual conversations, just not audibly. When he comes, my whole being is filled with love for this man. It is a gift to me, his visit. As it is to you… thank you for this today.

    Reply
  15. Teresa Stout - November 1, 2017 3:09 pm

    Well, I for one disagree about you being a winner. You have won the hearts of hundred of readers on a daily basis. Love your words.

    Reply
  16. Arlene - November 1, 2017 3:11 pm

    Your daddy lives in our hearts now. Thank you for that gift. Play ball! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  17. Linda Chipman - November 1, 2017 3:29 pm

    I agree with Teresa – you are a winner! I look forward to reading your words every day. No matter what they are about, you have a way to make whoever is reading them remember the good things in their lives. This one made me think of my late husband – he had a ton of baseball caps – no Dodgers LOL.

    Reply
  18. Susan Barfield - November 1, 2017 4:04 pm

    Oh but you are a winner! And you share your winnings with us. Thank you!

    Reply
  19. Jack Quanstrum - November 1, 2017 4:24 pm

    All I can I can say is beautiful story and wonderful writing style!

    Reply
  20. Bill Terry - November 1, 2017 6:42 pm

    You sure trigger memories. Parched peanuts…not something you hear anymore. My memories are of my Grand Daddy’s, home grown, dried on the wagon shed attached to the barn and parched in a wood burning kitchen stove. The hay went to the cows and John the mule. Over 70 years ago.

    Reply
  21. Susie Munz - November 1, 2017 8:25 pm

    That’s a heartbreaking story.

    Reply
  22. Ronda - November 2, 2017 1:16 am

    Wonderful memories may be all we can have for now, my ghost is only a ghost for almost a year, he appears so far when I really need guidance, that’s why I know its really him. The words seem to travel from him to me effortlessly as he appears and my breath is taken away, the tears are uncontrollable. It startles me, then calms me. I sure do miss my dad. Thank you, your writings are tidbits of serenity and peace.

    Reply
  23. Frieda Borntrager - November 2, 2017 1:57 am

    I really don’t understand how to win a baseball game, but I like a winner. And, you are one!

    Reply
  24. theholtgirls - November 2, 2017 6:34 am

    Tonight, the Houston Astros just won the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

    Astros win! Congratulations!!

    The ghost either ate every one of his peanuts or threw them all over the room!

    Reply
  25. Sandra Smith - November 2, 2017 2:11 pm

    Daddy liked baseball alright, but wasn’t a freak about it, but you better NOT even, breathe too loud during Gunsmoke ! ❤
    (and, he sits with me during every episode on Me TV, even after 18 years)

    Reply
  26. Connie Suttle - November 2, 2017 3:03 pm

    Hi, Sean. The Astros won when it counted. Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

    Reply

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