This weekend I received two special gifts from online friends.
Those from West Virginia or familiar with some of its paranormal history will recognize the red-and-green fellow below. He has nothing to do with Christmas despite his coloring. He came without warning into our midst, and no one knows where--or if--he left. He is the Braxton County Monster, or the Flatwoods Monster, that I referred to in my last post.
How did this little guy come my way? The answer to that goes back to about 1997. I won one of these statues as a conference door prize and I loved it. I thought perhaps I'd take it with me storytelling sometime. Time passed and I never did use the statue. In a fit of cleaning out, I decided to donate the statue and a book about the Flatwoods incident to the WV Writers Conference in 2005 to use as in the silent auction.
Of course I came to regret that decision. Two years later I was sorry I'd let it go but the deed was done.
Enter Jason (his blog is listed in my blogroll--Words from the Mountains). Jason has done much research on West Virginia ghosts and paranormal events and has a good website on the topic at West Virginia Spectral Heritage. We were talking about the Flatwoods mystery at WVU Mountaineer Week and he said he had two of them and I could have one. Ah, joy!
This weekend was the first time I'd seen Jason since our discussion, and he remembered to bring the statue. Now it is back in my home and I smile every time I look at it. Of course, the creature seen by Mrs. May looked nothing like this representation--this one was created by someone else and based vaguely on her description.
The second gift had to make me happy, since it came from Happy, Texas. Laura ran a contest on her blog, and I was a lucky winner. I had no idea what I'd won until the envelope came yesterday.
Inside the envelope was: a lovely handwritten note from Laura (thank you, Laura!), a bumper sticker from Happy, Texas (very cool) and a handmade bottle cap necklace. I like the message on the cap: Keep Life Simple.
In her note Laura said she made the necklaces as Christmas gifts and they've become a small cottage industry. I bet teenagers love them. I know I'll have to guard mine against a few granddaughters! I like the card that was in with the necklace, too--"Handcrafted in Happy." If you're interested in the necklaces, visit Laura's blog.
Thank you to both of my friends! You made me smile all day today, just remembering your generosity.