Like his father he is a ghost. He told me his story because he is going to die soon. He wants me to understand the type of people I come from. How to tell if you are a ghost and what to do about it. This is Audio Stories with J. B. Simien.
My Great Grandfather is ninety-six years old. He lost his driver’s license recently because his vision has declined. It’s no longer safe for him to drive alone. I’m sixteen years old and have just recently earned my driver’s license. Great Grand Papa agreed to give me his car if I would drive him to the park and pick him up each day. I agreed. Now, I am his chauffeur for a few hours each day.
For as long as anyone can remember, everyday (rain, shine, or snow) my great grandfather has driven to Jenkins Park (just outside the city limits of our town). For hours, the entire time that he is there, he sits on the same park bench and gazes silently at the same patch of ground (near an old tree) He sips from a carefully hidden bottle of whiskey and appears lost in deep thoughts.
Everyone has asked him at one time or another why does he go to that park every day (rain or shine) and just sit there. He usually responds because I “fucking feel like it. Mind your own got dam business.” Today, when I asked him, I was expecting his usual reply, he said. “Come here Bobby, sit here next to me. I want to tell you a story.
When he was a boy of twelve in the 1930’s. The patch of ground that this park now occupies was part of a farm that once belonged to the Miller family. This area use to be a pasture. He lived nearby on another farm. The neighborhood boys would get together at night in the summer after their chores had been completed to play games and just have fun in the dark.
One night while the boys were playing hide and seek in the woods, some of them found Tammy Jones and Junebug Washington in a hidden spot (half-naked kissing and groping each other). Now, this was rural Mississippi in the 1930’s. Tammy was a teenage white girl and Junebug was a teenage black boy. What they were doing was wrong according to community standards (of that time).
So, the boys broke it up and the two teenagers took off running still half naked. The boys were laughing so hard (over the absurdity of the situation) that they couldn’t chase them. There was rumors that those two were sweet on each other and sneaking around at night. The boys had found out it was true.
The next day he told his daddy the story of finding the two teenagers together. Great Grand Papa thought he was telling his daddy a funny story. However, his daddy turned red and didn’t laugh at all. Later that night, disguised as ghost, his daddy and most of the neighborhood men went to find Junebug. Junebug ran. When they caught him, they took him to the pasture on Miller Farm.
The men accused Junebug of raping Tammy. They whipped him. They hung him from the branch of a tree and proceeded to mutilate his body and torture him. Finally, they soaked him in gasoline. Since, great grand papa had been the person that alerted the men (when he told his daddy the story), they let him set Junebug on fire. Actually, they made him set Junebug on fire.
When the men’s work was done, they left Junebug’s body hanging for weeks as a warning to the blacks to know their place. His daddy thanked him for doing his part to keep the community safe. After that incident, he never told his daddy or anyone else anything about his life again.
Weeks later, in secret, he cut down Junebug’s remains and buried him in the spot he visits today. He said that like his daddy he became a ghost. He haunts Junebug’s grave and the graves of all the others buried there. The park is an unmarked graveyard for blacks murdered long ago to keep up our old ideas of community standards.
He comes each day to ask forgiveness and to pray. He said he told me this story because he is going to die soon. He wants me to understand the type of people I come from. He wants to be the last ghost.
That concluded the story of “How to tell if you are a ghost and what to do about it?” I am J. B. Simien. I hope that you have enjoyed this story. If you would like to hear more Audio Stories please like this story below and subscribe to this channel now.
Thank you and Take care.