The Twin Peaks House is a GEM . . . Except For The Two Dead Bodies.
Chapter 5 – Give Me the Sage and Stand Back
We took possession of 310 Twin Peaks Boulevard on Halloween night, 1995. As a boy from South Jersey, the only thing that, uh, spooked me might have been the oncoming rainy season and a kitchen wall that had dry-rotted from an incessant leak.
Our Marin County friend, Deborah Collins, had something more astral planar in mind.
“You have to sage the house,” she declared after arriving to check the place out on our first morning as owners.
“I am not sage-ing a house,” I replied. "Whatever that means."
“You have to.”
“Is that somewhere in California state property law?” I asked.
“Don’t be silly.”
“Silly? Of course. One of my best friends is going to light an herbal torch and shepherd it around my house in an effort to what? Decrease the likelihood of my adjustable rate mortgage heading north? You’re right. I’m being silly.”
“You’re such a cynic.”
“That too. Can we get this started?”
“Don’t be silly. We have to wait until it’s dark.”
“And why is that?”
I turned to my patient wife, Lee.
“Can we move back to New York now?”
Darkness did arrive and if 310 Twin Peaks Boulevard had an intimidating aspect during the day, it only got worse with the sunset as the house leaned forward on the hillside more acutely. A combination of burned out walkway lights, a yellow front porch bulb, and an empty interior only helped with the threat.
One other historical coincidence.
John, the property's temporary caretaker, God bless him, had cleared out . . . his stuff. There were still just enough remnants from the previous ownership to initiate a call to Sunset Scavenger and start the trash pick-up service earlier than our move dates of the last weekend in November. We still occupied our first home over on 28th Street, and would remain there until the Thanksgiving Holiday. Our buyer planned on moving in on December 7th.
I wish I was making that up given that the new owner was a young, Japanese woman.
“Too bad we couldn’t get Judy to move in during August.”
“August?” Asked Deborah.
Lee cast a hairy eyeball in my direction.
“Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” explained Lee.
“Yes, of course,” I said. “Then we move in to Twin Peaks on Armistice Day.”
“That’s World War I, dear.”
“I didn’t want to wait until Spring.”
Deborah exhaled and pulled out a paper bag from Andronico’s. It contained several stalks, or sprigs, of sage, dried out for the past week or so. She took sliver of bamboo, also dried, and tied up the bunch. I had our fireplace lighter from our other house and flicked it.
“Not yet,” said Deborah.
“Is there a ritual, or something? A chant? Are we in the proper attire?”
I laughed, but stopped when I looked at Deborah. Her skin had gone white as a, ahem, ghost.
Lee looked a little queasy as well.
“I’m not sure I can do this,” said Deborah.
“Me neither,” said Lee.
“Okay, you numbskulls, are you kidding? This was your idea. Actually it was both of your idea, if that’s a real sentence.”
“The house is so dark, and cold,” said Deborah.
“Yes, I don’t think the caretaker did a whole ton of caretaking. Doesn’t appear he had the slightest idea of how to turn a lightbulb in a socket.”
A floorboard creaked.
“What a cliché,” I said.
Deborah made a move for the front door.
“Give me the sage, Deborah.”
She handed it over. I lit it.
“As I said, this was your idea. We are saging this house.”
And we did. Every single room. The sage went out once in a while, but with the fireplace lighter on hand, that issue was remedied. We finished and I think the happiest of the three of us was Deborah Collins.
310 Twin Peaks Boulevard had been cleared of the tragic events of the previous owner with the use of poultry seasoning.
Yes, I didn't believe it either.
Chapter 6 – I Guess the Sage Worked
We lived, worked, loved, and raised four-legged children for the next 22 years (Sarah, our erstwhile adopted daughter doesn’t count.). There were no more strange paranormal coincidences. No one capped themselves on the premises. Things, save for a clumsy golden retriever named Harpo, did not go bump in the night.
Yes, Ozzie and Harriet were back, and except for the meth lab next door, the couple that insisted on feeding the raccoons, and the patio leak that took eight years to fix, 310 Twin Peaks Boulevard acquitted itself quite nicely in terms of domestic bliss.
And then we moved.