Dad is reading the newspaper at the kitchen table when he bursts out, “Hey a ghost was seen at Donner Pass.”
“What ghost?” Confused I ask, “What and where is Donner Pass?”
Dad looks over at me, “Donner Pass is in the mountains about three hours south of here and the Donner Party disaster was a historic wagon train headed west that got caught in a blizzard and most of the pioneers died.
Dad reads me the article. “Mrs. Eleanor Waldo of Phantom Hill, Texas, told her story. She said she and her husband were stopped at the overlook rest area, sitting at a picnic table when she saw it.
“’It was a ghost all right. It looked like a thick cloud of smoke with a head. But it was a woman with a stone face and a broad smile. She hovered right in front of me, staring at me.’
“The ghost asked me, ’Would you like to come to dinner?’
“I followed it up the mountain as it kept saying, ’Come with me, I would love to have you for dinner.’
“Interrupting Mrs. Waldo I asked, ’Wait a minute, the ghost said I would love to have you for dinner?’
“Mrs. Waldo looked surprised at the way I phrased my question as she replied, ’Oh you don’t think she meant I am the dinner do you? Oh my, maybe she did.’
“Mrs. Waldo squealed, and continued with her story, ’I followed it up the mountain and when we started down the other side, I saw an old rusted-out car with a skeleton sitting at the steering wheel, driving.’
“’As I got closer and closer to the car, a great gust of wind blew right through me and kicked up so much sand, I had to close my eyes. When I opened my eyes I gasped, the skeleton was gone.’
“She said she heard her husband calling her to come back. When he caught up to her she told him about the ghost.’
“He exclaimed with frustration in his voice, ’that’s nonsense Elle, it’s the heat. It’s one hundred and nine degrees. You didn’t see anything.’
“She told her husband to hush up, then sat in the old nineteen thirty-five Buick for a while. ‘It’s a nineteen thirty-five Buick. My family had one of these when I was a child.’
“Mrs. Waldo continued her story saying, ’I checked out every nook and cranny of that car. My husband and I checked the car from its headlights to the taillights. Under one of the seats we found an old empty bottle of whiskey.’
“She said that she was feeling around under the dashboard and found that hidden compartment she and her sister had stored stuff in when they were kids. In the compartment were chips, poker chips, lots of poker chips.
“Her husband counted them up. There was twenty thousand dollars.
“’Twenty thousand dollars!’ he said again and again.
“Mrs. Waldo cried out, ’Can you believe it?’
“The newspaper reporter called the casino manager and asked how much the twenty thousand dollars in poker chips are worth?
“The casino spokesperson said, ’The chips are worth twenty thousand dollars at our casino.’”