When the Train Whistle Blows — Short, Spooky Story

When the Train Whistle Blows
By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Folks ‘round here say there’s a ghost that haunts the tracks running through the middle of Athens.

Do you believe them?

I do.

I seen her.

They say it’s the ghost of Perlie Gunn, waitin’ for her beau, Gilbert McCall.

And waitin’.

And waitin’.

Ever time you hear the train whistle on a dark, drizzling night.

1935 and Perlie was the purtiest gal of all at the ol’ wood school house. Just past her eighteenth birthday. Blue eyes and pert nose. Always wearing that blue flour-sack dress. A trip to town for her daddy to get something at that hardware store right over there.

Passed the ol’ Jefferson Street diner, where Gilbert McCall sat at his breakfast of sausage, eggs, and grits. Couldn’t recall ever seeing her before. Jumped right up from his table, fork and knife falling from his high-born hands. Left it to go meet the yeller-haired gal.


Was that little ol’ Perlie Gunn, all growed up?

Diner owner, Buzz Henshaw, just shook his head, wondering if McCall would remember to pay the check, but knowing the feller would fergit. There was no stopping true love.
Folks say Gilbert jogged after Perlie and they fell for each other like a fish for a worm, the minute their eyes met.

But Perlie stood no chance with a McCall.

Oh, no ma’me.

She was from the wrong side of the tracks.

Ol’ Judge McCall forbade their courtship, and her folks knew it would end bad. They knew a grimy-faced pig farmer’s daughter couldn’t land a high-falutin McCall.

But folks saw them two sneaking to meet for picnics or out and about Athens. They saw Gilbert, looking all moony-eyed, slipping out of the courthouse where he clerked that summer he was home from law school down in Tuscaloosa. They’d steal a kiss behind the drug store, when ol’ Judge was inside, fannin’ hisself from the summer heat.

Story goes that they were s’posed to meet down by the tracks at dusk. Run off an’ marry, they was, in McCall’s fine, red Ford coupe.

Something put Gilbert late. He heard that train come flying down them tracks and saw her standing and waitin’ on t’other side, her clothes in a beat up ol’ box. Musta slipped in them heels she borrowed from her Cousin Maylene. Ankle stuck fast in a gap twix the metal rail and wooden tie.

Train man near ripped the town apart with the sound of his brakes sliding towards Perlie. It was too late. They say that train drug her nigh forty feet afore Gilbert could blink a eye.
I heard tell Gilbert never went back to Tuscaloosa after that. Ended up somewheres over in Georgia. I never seen him since.

But I seen her walkin’.

Still wearing that blue flour sack dress.

Still looking for Gilbert after all these years.

On wet, foggy nights.

Walkin’ on the tracks when the train whistle blows.

Huntsville’s Little Five Points Chapel

Check out Huntsville’s Little Five Points Chapel!

The other day I went and photographed this pretty little chapel in Huntsville’s Five Points area. If you read Tuesday’s post, I said that Five Points is the area in Huntsville where several roads come together. The community came about in the years following World War II, when the suburbs became popular. I read that Five Points was the first suburb in Huntsville. Or one of the first. Now there are suburbs everywhere.

Perspective 1 of chapel

Huntsville is very unique to the state of Alabama. When many other cities in the state are rated low, some of the schools around Huntsville are rated high in the nation. I always say that you’re either an engineer or married to one around here. Education is a very strong value to us.

Five Points sign

Anyway, because of our city’s wealth, the little houses in Five Points are consistently sought out by people who want a smaller and historical home.

Perspective 2 of chapel

The little chapel looks well-kept and is as neat as a perfectly frosted white cupcake. I like its simple lines and how the steeple contrasts against the blue fall sky.

I’m still learning how to use my little Nikon DSLR, so I took several perspectives of the church.

And, by the way, I hope you’ll be at church tomorrow! 🙂

Perspective 3 of chapel


Perspective 4 of chapel

Is it Fall Yet?


Is it Fall yet?

White house in Five Points

The calendar says yes, and the temperatures are about 70 degrees in north Alabama…that’s about the norm for us!

But I didn’t exactly get the fall foliage I was going for when I went to take fall pictures this morning.

Everything but a few sweetgums and maples are still green as the grass.

The old Maple Hill Cemetery. You can see some of the Huntsville skyline over the trees.

Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy the photos I took. I went to Huntsville’s “Five Points” area and the historical district. Five Points is so “named for the 5-way intersection of Andrew Jackson, Pratt and Holmes.”  According to the Five Points Historical District Association website, it was the first suburb to our town. I’d say the homes look to be about 1400 square feet. It’s a trendy area with these cute, little ranch houses, and unique restaurants like Olde Towne Coffee House and Thai Garden. It also has some artsy little shops there as well.

I took the next set of pictures at one of the historical districts. I forget which district.

So I guess I’ll wait until mid-November to get you some really pretty fall photos. I didn’t even see that many pumpkins out, but I did see a few.

Okay, so let me know what you think about the photos!

Fall Time!

It’s a beautiful fall morning and I plan to get out there with my little Nikon d7000 and take bunches of photos for today’s post.

My computer has been stricken for the past month or so, but Lefty (my left-handed, left-brained hubby of 19 years) went in and bought us some more time with our machine by…Uh, I don’t know what he did.  I just know that it works just fine and isn’t slow as molasses now.

Anyway, I just wanted to send out a post letting you all know that I’m still around.  We also hosted a youth group devotional at our home on Sunday night.  So we’ve been cleaning our little Sweetgum House like crazy!!!

Ok, so I’m off to photograph.  Hopefully, I’ll have some pretty fall photos to post this afternoon.