Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This one, yet another from a witness to an after death communication, is long but more than worth the time to read it.  It's just another validation that love is indeed eternal.


In the mid-70’s, Citizen Band Radio addicts (CBers, for short) were everywhere.  Much like Chat Room or Facebook faithfuls of today, people glued themselves to their base stations, typically tweaked to broadcast farther than the FCC allows.  Power mikes often bled into the TV sound systems of neighbors.  Not unlike the texting teens behind the wheel today, people endlessly broadcast their nonsensical blather, wearing the finish off the buttons on their hand-held mikes.  At night, local parking lots morphed into “CB Break” locations, gathering people of all ages--some still there until the wee hours.

Such a crowd of regulars congregated nightly at the Riverdale, Maryland I-HOP parking lot.  My husband and I were in our mid-thirties with three stair-step kids—the oldest being 15.  We enjoyed the CB phenomena and frequently drove our Rec Van to local breaks.  Jeff, a young man in his 20s, was a regular too; but not someone I gravitated toward because his drinking and demeanor got on my nerves. I never expected us to connect on any level, much less how and when we soon would.

I’d seen his young wife a few times, a small-boned pretty woman with long hair hanging past her hips.  If I were to use only one word peg to hang my impression of her, it would be “serious.”  Sharon, using the CB handle “Little Pony,” was in the early stages of a precarious pregnancy, but that fact didn’t keep Jeff home or Jeff behaving himself.  To be honest, I felt sorry for her.

It was all over the news, all over the CB channels:  Jeff killed by police sharp shooter!”
CBers screamed “Turn on your TV!  Jeff’s been shot by the cops!”  I saw pictures of Jeff & Sharon’s brick home situated on hill, and the side screen porch where the marksman ended a young life as he stood there, his rifle pointed towards the floor.  Some called it “suicide by cop.”

As the drama played out, Sharon was in isolation in Prince Georges Hospital with a form of Hepatitis.  She spoke with the police and Jeff, but was powerless to come to him. She was very ill, and she had just lost her baby—the 2nd pregnancy to fail. Jeff was a Viet Nam vet who had returned from his tour a very different and tormented man than the Jeff she married. Later, Sharon told me during his nightmares, he would be standing in the middle of their bed reenacting the horrors trapped in his mind.  He was drinking too much.  Apparently on emotional overload, he set up a scene with the police that all but guaranteed a bad end.  Imagine what it was for Sharon to watch TV and hear the newsman telling and retelling the events that shattered her world.


A small, almost inaudible voice said “Rainmaker, call me.  This is Little Pony.”  I leaned close to my CB base station to try to hear her better if she spoke again.  She did not stay on long enough for me to ask if she really meant me.  Why me?  Knowing the tragedy she recently experienced, I made frantic calls trying to find someone who knew her land line (phone number).  There is a story as to why she called out that night, but the story is not relevant to what I am about to tell you.  Suffice it to say the universe was unfolding as it should.

We talked many weeks and hours during our melding into friendship.  I listened to Jeff stories, and admit my original take on him changed little regardless of how well she painted over the past with much brighter colors.  Sharon loved him, and that was the untainted truth.  Even if she shared the times Jeff was less than a good guy, she had a way of making his shortcomings sound not so wrong.  I believe it was who she needed him to be, and I had no desire to poke at the balloons of her faith.  As time when by, he was still the center of her universe.


Sharon and I had already decided there was a pizza out there with our name on it.  We just had not gotten around to leaving her house—it was one of those unhurried free afternoons.  I was slouched on her couch, and she was sitting across the room by the fireplace talking, but not looking at me. However, I was looking at Jeff standing at the far end of the room, backlit by the dining room’s sunglow.  He was looking directly at me, his arms folded across his chest, his one foot crossed over his ankle, his hip a bit akimbo, and his head slightly tilted as if listening intently.  If I ran a movie projector to show a film clip, but did not have a screen to project it on to, this would best describe how I “saw” Jeff. Jeff looking directly at me, eavesdropping.

I interrupted Sharon, and asked “Do you ever sense that Jeff is in this house?”  She rose as she answered me, saying Jeff was around a lot but didn’t mention it to anyone knowing people would find ways to discount it or think her quite mad.  As she stopped at the exact spot I’d seen Jeff, and struck the same pose as he, Jeff vanished.  “He was just here on this spot,” she said.  Disbelief set in.  Had Sharon’s mind been so strong that I was the receiver of her belief system at work?

Sharon sat back down, completely at ease with Jeff’s spirit in her house.  Of course I told her I’d seen him also, but she didn’t react as I expected.  It was more like “Of course.  After all, he was just here.”

Her couch backs up against the wall under a picture window yet I sensed Jeff being directly behind me.  I didn’t look as reason told me there was no space for him.  When I think, I think in voice and words as if I were actually talking out loud.  This is how I “heard” Jeff speak.  He was giving me a list of wants and complaints.  Among the things he said, “I don’t like the CB base station being moved to the back room.  Why did she put a wall phone in the kitchen against my wishes?  I don’t care if she makes love with someone, just don’t do it on the mattress where we made babies.”   I don’t recall the entire list now, but when Sharon gave pause in her own conversation, I repeated Jeff’s words.  She shared the back-story of why these things mattered to him, and promised aloud to Jeff that the mattress was on its way out the door.  That’s when I felt a chill, thinking “Oh my God, he really is here!”


I moved to Florida in 1977, and Sharon flew down from Maryland to spend time with me.  She and I were sitting yoga-style on my queen bed, chatting as girlfriends do, when Jeff’s voice spoke to me for the last time.  All he asked of me was, “Find out if Sharon knew I had cheated on her, would she forgive me?”  Without ever telling her why I was asking then or since, I said, “If you ever found out Jeff was not faithful; would you forgive him or love him less?”

She did not take time to think on her answer, but talked instead about how disturbed Jeff was once he returned from Nam, and there were many things she forgave because she blamed the war and not Jeff.  Many years later, after Sharon remarried, I asked her if she ever saw or heard from Jeff anymore.  She said it had been a long, long time ago when his visits stopped.  I can’t help but wonder if her answer that day set his spirit free.  I also wonder if the reason he used me as a conduit was to validate to his wife that his being there was not a figment of fantasy born out of her refusal to let him go.

Jackie Brown – 5/7/11

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