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Reflections: The Ghost At Air Mount, Yalobusha County

Enjoy our “Reflections” post — one of many vignettes and stories featuring memories of days gone by. This installment is by Eugene Spearman as seen in “The Oxford So & So.” Spearman’s “The Ghost At Air Mount” was originally published in “A Collection Of Short Stories.”
If you would like to contribute your own Reflections story, send it, along with photos, to hottytoddynews@gmail.com.

In the 1930s, my cousin Johnnie moved from Memphis to his old home place, the Dr. Landreth home in Air Mount, Mississippi in Yalobusha County. Now Air Mount at the turn of the century was a thriving incorporated town, but by the late 1930s had become an almost deserted ghost-like place. A few vine-covered vacant homes were about all that was left facing the main street. The Landreth home was a typical big, wood-frame-constructed house. It had a large front porch hallway through the center of the house with bedrooms on each side of the hall, and a kitchen and a side room near the back of the house. Johnnie slept in the front bedroom on the north side of the hall. His colored friend, Lonnie, temporarily lived in the side room at the back of the house.
One afternoon in late September, I convinced my parents to let me spend the night with Johnnie. I knew that Johnnie and Lonnie were cutting firewood near Benwood, just down the road. I expected them to be home by the time I walked from my home in Air Mount. When I reached the old Landreth house, I found they hadn’t returned, but that was no problem. I just went into Johnnie’s room and waited for them to return. Since I was tired after the long walk, I lay down fully clothed on the bed and pulled a sheet over my legs and feet. I had no intention of falling asleep. I just wanted to rest for a few minutes.
I don’t know how long I did sleep, though, because when I woke up it was dark. I heard someone coming across the porch, so I jumped up and started toward the hall door. In my rush to get to the door, I didn’t realize that the white bed sheet was draped across my shoulder. I reached the threshold of the door about the time Lonnie, who was walking down the hall toward his room, got opposite the bedroom door. Before I could identify myself, Lonnie yelled, “Is that you, Mr. Johnnie?” and turning, ran back down the hall, across the porch, and down the walkway toward the street. Johnnie, who was following Lonnie home, had not reached the front porch when Lonnie knocked him off the walkway into some vines. Running into Johnny didn’t slow Lonnie down, and he raced north on Main Street continuing to yell, “Is that you Mr. Johnnie?” over and over.
It took Johnnie about 15 minutes of calling to get Lonnie to return to the house that night.

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