Jun. 8th, 2010

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Last night Michael had his play writing debut - a ten minute one act play called "Last Day on Earth."

A few months back a woman he knows through the indie theatre scene sent out a submissions call for ten minute one acts. The eight best would be produced as part of a one night fundraiser for her theatre company, and would also serve as a memorial for a friend of hers who died last year. All submissions had to revolve around the theme "Last Day on Earth." Michael decided to submit. He wrote a funny little play, and out of a grand total of eighty submissions his was one of the eight chosen to be performed :-)

Mom, Sara, and me went to the show. Michael's was a comedy centered around two friends sitting around, drinking, and talking about how they would spend their last day on Earth. It opened with a speech about the film Deep Impact, and there was an underlying Battlestar Galactica thread that ran through the whole piece. We liked it :-) As for the rest of the plays, we all agreed we liked the comedies better than the dramatic ones. There was a great one about Death coming to collect the soul of a young man, and the young man convincing Death to hold off until he can get laid one last time. All in all, a fine way to spend twenty bucks and an evening.

Mom got two nuggets of bad news from Pensacola this week. First, oil globs have started washing up on Pensacola Beach. When she told me about it she said, "It breaks my heart to think of oil washing up on that beautiful white breach."

It's been at least twenty years since I've been anywhere near Pensacola Beach. Mom used to take me there as a kid, but I don't remember anything about it. One year, back when I was still in high school, I remember watching mom pack for a week long visit to Pensacola. She was going on and on about how she couldn't wait to see the white sand, and I told her I didn't remember there being white sand on Pensacola Beach. She said, "I'll bring some back for you. You'll see." And, true to her word, the following week she returned with a Ziploc bag full of pure, white sand. We put it in a jar and placed decorative seashells on the surface. It's still over at my mom's house, and I keep thinking, "Well, at least she has a small portion of Pensacola Beach that can't be sullied."

She also got word that an old friend of our family's, Ray Hillyer, passed away unexpectedly on Memorial Day. Ray used to design all the costumes for my grandmother's ballet recitals. He lived with his brother Henry in this huge mansion that was supposedly haunted by a man who was murdered there years ago. When mom and I used to go down to Pensacola during the summers we always went over to Ray and Henry's for dinner at least once during our stay, and they would tell us about their numerous run-ins with the ghost.

I had my first and, to date, only ghostly experience in that house. I must have been seven or eight at the time. Ray and Henry were hosting a big dinner party, and all the guests had brought their children with them. My cousin Talia was there, as was this boy and girl who were both around our age. I don't remember their names.

Ray and Henry had an indoor pool so the four of us spent the afternoon swimming around and goofing off. Eventually we got out, dried, off, and ate dinner. We were allowed to excuse ourselves from the table as soon as we were done because the adults knew we didn't want to sit around listening to them talk. We retreated to the living room, sat on the couch, and just talked. The pool room was right off of the living room. During a lull in conversation I heard a very loud, clear splash as if someone had just cannon balled into the pool. We all exchanged glances. The boy said, "Did you hear that?" We all said "Yes" at the same time, and then we booked it back into the dining room.

We caused such a ruckus as we barreled back in. "Ray!" we screamed. "Henry! We heard a splash! We heard a splash in the pool!" They both smiled, and got up to investigate. We tagged along at their heels, and when they turned on the lights in the pool room, there was nothing. The room was empty, and the water was completely still without so much as a ripple moving over the surface.

"But, we heard it!" We were all very insistent on that point.

Ray just smiled and said, "Oh, it was probably just the ghost."

On the drive home mom said we must have just been hearing things because everybody knew the ghost only haunted the stairwell!

Even though I'm not much of a believer in the supernatural these days, I still can't explain that incident. I heard the splash clear as day, but if anyone had actually been in the pool the water should not have been still when we went to check on it. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that it really was the ghost going for a swim. Who says the dead don't want in on the fun, too?

Anyway, I was sad to hear that Ray died. I have a lot of fond memories of him. He will be sorely missed.

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