The Ghost of Mahogany Lane
by L. Thornhill Crane
Copyright 2012 L. Thornhill Crane
In Memory of Chance- Forever in my heart.
When we moved to Jesup we rented a small little cracker box house on Mahogany Lane. It was just half a block off Cherry Street down where the original arch was situated many years before. Our neighbors said that then that was almost out in the country, but now the town has grown to surround our neighborhood. It was a cute little three bedroom house built in the 1940’s with wood floors and unique shelving built into the wall in the parlor room. It was quite a charming little house, but it was small and had fallen into disrepair. The yard was about as big as a postage stamp and it was littered with sandspurs. I could barely walk to the mailbox without being impaled. I only tried to walk there barefoot once, when I first moved to South Georgia, and it was almost like walking through a minefield so I never considered it again.
My dog, Bear, however never quite learned that lesson. He wanted to be a yard dog so badly but every time he went outside we spent fifteen minutes pulling sandspurs out from between his furry little toes. Bear turned out to be strictly an indoor, maybe lay out on the front porch kind of dog and he mourned the freedom he once had back on the farm. In town had to walk him every morning and every night all around the neighborhood so he could have some exercise and wouldn’t go insane.
We started out going down the alley beside our house to the church and turning and walking back up Cherry Street. Then we moved on to walking out the lane to Walnut Street past the "Black Church" as it was called in our neighborhood. I always wanted to visit, because every time I passed I could always hear preaching and singing. It sounded fun and I would enjoy the music until we crossed the empty lot by the church and turned around and down back the alley home. The empty lot by church was our turn around spot, I could let Bear off his leash and he would bounce through the tall grass looking for rabbits. He would always find one. I don’t know if there were that many rabbits living in that empty lot or if it was just one rabbit with a bad memory, but 9 times out of ten he’d chase it around and it would disappear in the shrubbery.
When the weather got cooler we decided to mix it up a bit and we began to branch out in new directions. In Jesup you can still walk around in most neighborhoods without fear of being mugged or molested. I carried pepper spray just in case and I had my ‘guard dog’. Bear was about the size of a very large house cat but he had the heart of an African lion. He figured he was the dog we had and it was his responsibility to protect us from all harm. In his little doggie mind that was his job and he took it seriously. Over time, I learned to trust his doggie senses. If he waved his tail and smiled his little dog smile at someone they were probably okay but if he ever growled or raised his hackles, I knew I had to watch out.
Eventually we found our way to Wayne Street where people say that once upon a time, every body that was anybody built a house there. I liked looking at the grand old houses that lined the road. My momma said once that I looked at houses like some people look at babies. I’m drawn to old houses. They’re like time capsules or visitors from a bygone era. Houses have personalities all of their own. They tell stories if you’re careful enough to listen.