After three years of learning the shorthand of the dead…


Today is Good Friday and just like the Easter story… something else has arisen that defies logic. That being my curiosity and the undeniable fact that the universe is apparently not finished with me yet! Why?  Because the other night I finished with work and after a grueling week and weekend of back to back shows, long drives to and from the theatre and copious amounts of forensic homework… I arrived at home to something unexpected! Instead of reading my text books while my husband grilled on the deck to the backdrop of beautiful ripples on the lake… and I getting comfortable in shorts and sipping a glass of wine… I arrived home only long enough to get out of my car, take the dogs out and then get back into the car!

Now, I do not begrudge my husband for not wanting to cook occasionally… because in truth, it wasn’t really that. I think the boy had cabin fever and even though we have a lovely cabin… I got the hint! The man needed scenery other than what he stares at all day long! So, homework postponed and plans to become an intellectual slug…I made a deal. If I had to delay homework for a few hours and get back into a car after driving home for over an hour, it was going to be on my terms! Thai food!

Here’s where this gets really interesting!!

There is a wonderful Thai restaurant on the square in… (Are you ready?)…in downtown Covington, Georgia! A Thai restaurant that I have been dying to go to for over a year now. And since I have waited forever to go there… as somebody else’s choice has always superseded my own- I decided that would not be the case that night!  I was going to get what I wanted and so, armed with obligatory guilt… I told my husband that I would agree only if we went where I wanted. Happy to get out a bit, he agreed and I set my course for the restaurant of my choice. Once there, I ordered a White Zinfandel and perused the menu! Eventually he decided on the wonderful special of the night and I, my favorite…the Curried Masaman Shrimp soup and an order of Spring Roles.

Because it was still early, we enjoyed a bit of privacy … but not for long. Soon, one or two couples began to dot the tables besides us. The restaurant was not cheap, but we seldom splurge these days and so with progressive jazz in the background, I decided to just enjoy the ambience and skimp on pennies somewhere else later in the week.

Appetizers done, we sat and chatted about the day’s events and then I watched as a young couple sat at the table right beside us. They were a lovely family… two young athletic parents and two precocious youngsters. A boy and a girl, ages approximately 9 and 6 respectively. Why is this a matter of curiosity? You will see… just bear with me.

 She ordered white wine, he a beer… the kids some sort of cola. As we ate, I remarked at how cute the kids were… but that I would not have thought to take my girls to such an expensive restaurant when they were that young. After all, there were no Chicken McNuggets or French fries anywhere on the menu to be had. Not even a grilled cheese sandwich or a plate of macaroni and cheese. I decided they were not only cultured souls, but brave as well! Riveted, I sat and listened for their choices as the waitress stood with pen and pad in hand to take their orders.

“No…” said the mother; it would be a few more minutes before they could decide. Vindicated, I chuckled to myself and smiled at my husband- kids were kids and I remained curious as to what they would be able to order that the two imps would actually eat.

In between my vindication and the next round of drinks…I overheard the little girl ask her mother a question which almost shot a shrimp from my mouth to the opposite wall. Ready???

“Who is the Grim Reaper?’ she asked her mother.

I half choked and croaked at my husband… “Maybe she should ask me that question!”

Her mother was a bit startled. “Why do you ask?”

 The child remained constant. “I saw it in a cartoon. Who is he?”

“Well…” the mother began tentatively. “The Grim Reaper is the guy in the hooded cloak… you can’t see his face usually and he has that blade thing on a long stick…but he’s the guy that shows up just before somebody dies.”

“Is he the guy that kills them?”

“No… he’s just the ghost like thing in a hood you see before somebody dies. Did somebody die in the cartoon?”

“Yes…” the child said.

The waitress interrupted their conversation and so taken aback by the impromptu epiphany… I missed their orders. Obviously not the important issue here!

Now, I am not saying that all this didn’t give me great pause, because even after the other night- I still freak a bit when this stuff happens. I took the hint, but was uncertain as to how I was supposed to apply the information to my current standings in this case. Why would she have asked about something so random… or was it? And what is it about that particular family unit that rang so familiar??? A girl, age 6… a boy, age 9?

As we finished our meal and paid the bill; I commented to my husband that the Grim Reaper question was just a little too coincidental for my comfort level. What are the odds that anyone sits in a restaurant in Covington, Ga. and a child the same age as Julie and a boy the same age as her brother asks about the Grim Reaper?


 We left the restaurant- which by the way was excellent- and headed towards the Mustang. When we got to the stop-walk, we paused and waited for the light. Just as it turned from red to green, a car went passed us and well… you know me! I read the tag for a numerological sign. The tag read, 1111.

Good numbers to be sure- basically saying pay attention!

Now all this you say seems to be just a big bag of hokey-pokey fluff… but is it?

Today I talked with R about a few things that have been flopping back and forth in my brain like a half dead Mackerel. Charley gave me the TIC-TAC-TOE sign the other day when asked something about my 4th in flannel. He gave the sign and I immediately found positive energy there. Positive- but not inclusive! Why?

TIC-TAC-TOE only gives you three in a row. There is no diagram or graph that allows for 4 in a row- unless of course you are playing BINGO… which Charley was not. So…back to the drawing board!

This is where you need to sit down…I’ll wait. (PAUSE) Sitting? Comfy? GOOD!

Among many things today, which as always are pertinent to the case and my dogged determination to get things right; another image was presented…

Black Roses.

You do the math. What are the odds? Strangers discussing the Grim Reaper as a ghost who comes as the harbinger of death and then the image of black roses?

Now, I may be going out on a huge limb here, but…after three years of learning the shorthand of the dead…and I could be wrong…but, I think somebody needs to confess and they need to reach out and do it fast!

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