Maggie the Ghost

Have you ever worked with a ghost?
One summer, I worked on a Washington island as a housekeeper at a large inn that is playfully haunted by “Maggie”.  My encounters with the ghost were so gentle, she is an inspiration for my book scheduled to be released 2015.
The Inn wasn’t very old.  You’d expect a few ghosties in ancient buildings, but this fairly new island-craftsman seems the last place for a spirit to haunt.  The inn has beautiful contemporary cabin accents, and is set near a lake that mists up in the early summer mornings.  Walking around the lodge and grounds the spirit of the place is light and inspiring.  It has a magical feel to it, as if hidden from sight wood gnomes and nymphs dance around the ferns, and fairy princes ride dragon flies through the cedar and fir forest.
Red Hair and Footprints
My first encounter with the ghost was in the manifestation of long red hairs.  After cleaning a tub or sink, leaving the room and returning with clean towels, a bright red hair would sometimes waved “Hello” at me, all laid back resting on the clean white surface.  The third or fourth “Hello”, I started to calculate the odds of how many red-headed guests visited.  When I shared my findings with the house manager, she confirmed, it was the ghost.
Anything strange like that was given to the lady ghost’s credit.  The staff believes her to be an early pioneer woman, whose spirit wandered into the lodge attracted by the lights and noise.  One day we decided to give her a name.  We all felt like it was an “M” name, so she was named Maggie.  Maggie has a great sense of humor, locking staff and guest out of the rooms, turning on the heat in summer, but her specialty is leaving barefoot footprints on mopped floors.
Maggie’s prints came to visit me one day.  Two bare foot marks appeared on either side of the toilet, toes facing out, on my newly mopped floor.  When I saw the foot marks, I knew it was the lodge ghost!  Just to be sure, I took a stiff brush and cleaner to the area.  No success.  The marks could not be brushed off.  Before the new guests arrived I checked the bathroom floor a last time.  The floor now dry, the footprints dissipated properly, as any nice ghost would do.  What a lady!
Thank you Maggie, for cleaning up your mess.  You’re alright in my book.
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"Housekeeper" Wins!

Was just informed this weekend that my poem “Housekeeper”(see below) was chosen along with six other poems in a poetry contest! The contest is sponsored by Bellingham Repertory Dance Company and Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater. The seven poems will be interpreted in dance while being read out loud in the popular annual event “Phrasings” April 1-3 2011. What an honor!

“Reunion and Back Again” by Scott Stodola
“Beachcombing” by Katelyn Hales
“World Cup” by Susan M. Schultz
“From Wire Fetters” by Katelyn Hales
“The Visitors” by Cathy Ross
“Taproot” by Carla Shafer
“Housekeeper” by Shannon Laws
****************
People of all types
Come and go to my hotel
The same room will house
Many different lives
Some stay for less than eight hours
Others for days
Each time I reset the room
Removing the evidence of a life
I know them now when they walk in
Not by name or by hometown
I know them by their stains
The marks left behind, that I clean
For you I’ll find wine rings
Dried on the tables
Some spills on the sheets
Bottles in the garbage
For you I’ll find diapers
Filling both waste baskets
Spit-up on the bed cover
A travel crib I’ll have to take down
For you I’ll find almost nothing
You made your bed before leaving
Your shower was too quick to dirty
Changing the sheets I’ll find a sock
I clean the room
The same room
Over and over
I clean you away
Washing the tub
Scrubbing off the ring
Removing the hair
Wiping down the mirror
Dusting the room
Making the bed
Vacuuming it all away
You are gone
***

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Poetry: Housekeeper

Housekeeper
People of all types
Come and go to my hotel
The same room will house
Many different lives
Some stay for less than eight hours
Others for days
Each time I reset the room
Removing the evidence of a life
I know them now when they walk in
Not by name or by hometown
I know them by their stains
The marks left behind, that I clean
For you I’ll find wine rings
Dried on the tables
Some spills on the sheets
Bottles in the garbage
For you I’ll find diapers
Filling both waste baskets
Spit-up on the bed cover
A travel crib I’ll have to take down
For you I’ll find almost nothing
You made your bed before leaving
Your shower was too quick to dirty
Changing the sheets I’ll find a sock
I clean the room
The same room
Over and over
I clean you away
Washing the tub
Scrubbing off the ring
Removing the hair
Wiping down the mirror
Dusting the room
Making the bed
Vacuuming it all away
You are gone

***