I think we are all about ready for spring to get here, the weather this year has been really crazy, heck even today I have witnessed rain, sleet, snow, both clear and cloudy skies, a bit of wind dropping the temperatures and a time of stillness that made me want to take my coat off, this is sunny Southern California I have been told and with all the changes in the climate today, I am either going to apply for a job at the post office or tell you a little story, I think I’ll choose the latter.
Once while I was still in high school, I took it upon myself to venture out on a small road trip, I was notorious for this but never got myself into too much trouble, as I always made it back home by a reasonable hour, well almost always.
I left Greenville, SC with the intentions of taking a relaxing drive through the mountains, the drive was so relaxing that it did not end until I hit Gatlinburg, Tennessee, back then Gatlinburg was a small town and I spent a lot more time enjoying the scenery than I should have, on the way out of town I dropped down toward Cherokee, NC thinking it would be a good time to stop by and take in some of the attractions of the Indian Reservation while I was on my little adventure, this wouldn’t be too much out of the way and I could still get home at a reasonable hour.
This was about the time I noticed that it was spitting snow, it sure was pretty looking at the snow falling through the trees. By the time I got into Cherokee everything was covered, but the roads were still clear so it shouldn’t be a problem to stop off for a short while, by the time I got back to my car it was completely covered, the roads were completely covered, the wooden Indians had all gone inside and I think they had done everything but roll up the streets, I brushed off the windows as best as I could and dropped my wheels into the ruts made in the road by other vehicles that had ventured out.
Heading toward Maggie Valley, NC is a narrow winding road that has trees grown up on each side almost giving you the feel of driving through a tunnel, especially after dark which I had made the mistake of letting the day turn into, now add in enough snow to completely hide the road, outside of the ruts made by other vehicles, the short fifteen miles to Maggie Valley may as well be a couple hundred.
I passed a car that had slid off the road and saw a man in a jeep hooking up a chain to pull him out, so I decided that I had better pay attention and keep moving, I was now following another car that I had caught up with at the scene of the helpful jeep and we were moving along at a slow but comfortable rate, next thing I know there are bright lights in my rear view mirror and the jeep is passing the both of us, the jeep swerved in and hit his brakes in front of us, the car ahead of me swerved out of the ruts in the road, I moved to the left, the jeep made a u-turn and headed back to the car which was now stuck in the snow and I continued moving.
It wasn’t long before I again saw the bright lights in my mirror and the jeep now slammed on his brakes right in front of me, I swerved to miss him and my car came to an abrupt stop in the deep snow, he came back and asked if I wanted him to pull me out, I told him it would be nice since it was his fault anyway, he laughed and said it would cost me twenty dollars to which I told him to go to Hell and he continued laughing saying he would be back after I had a while to think about it in the dark, I watched as he chased down his next victim.
I rocked my car back and forth and actually got to the point where the front wheels were back in the ruts, but now the back wheels were out and would only spin in the snow without moving the car in either direction, the jeep came back and backed up to my front bumper, he jumped out laughing asking if I had changed my mind, I gave him the finger and watched his cocky expression change into the look of complete fear in the passing headlights that came up behind me, he turned and sprinted to his jeep, I felt like I was pretty tough about that time.
I quickly realized where the look of fear on his face came from when I turned and saw the biggest man I had ever seen in my life standing right behind me, in the red glow of the tail lights quickly leaving I saw the long black hair hanging down on the shoulders of a huge Indian man, he lowered his hand which was pointing at the jeep and grabbed the bumper of my car, he actually lifted the car and sat the back wheels into the ruts and pointed to the door of my car, I reached into my pocket and held out a twenty to which he shook his head and pointed to my door again, I opened the door and turned back to thank him but he was gone, this man never said a word and now he had disappeared in the snow.
I never saw the jeep again, I never saw this man again, getting home on time was out of the question and I never stopped until I got there, no one believes my Ghost Indian story these days but I swear it’s true and I never go on road trips in the snow anymore.