June 2003 Story of the Month
Wore a Tuxedo
by Floss F.
When I was a 17 and recently married, my mother Sophie told me a story that she swore was true. It was a very intriguing narration that made a lasting impression on me. In 1930, my mother was 18 years old and lived in a remote northern community. The village of Camperville, Manitoba had a general store and a church. In those days, visitors made arduous journeys by horse drawn conveyances.
I lived there with my grandparents for six months in 1950 and not much had changed from my mothers day. My uncles still rode horseback or hitched a horse to a buckboard wagon. It was the main mode of transportation for most of the people living there. In fact, I dont recall seeing any vehicles, although there may have been one or more. Like in 1930, there were no streets or avenues. A main dirt road went from one end of the village to the other. Most of the houses were made of logs and lumber. Roadways were rutted wagon trails that snaked from one location in the woods to another.
My mothers story occurred on a cold winter night when everyone was asleep. The whole family was awakened by the keen howling and frenzied barking of their dogs. My grandparents, mother and her four brothers quickly got dressed and put on their footwear and rushed outside to see what the frantic commotion was all about. She said, "The dogs were acting like they were rabid, but they never went toward the man that was standing by our fence near the road. He was not wearing proper clothes. In the dead of winter with 30 and 40 below zero temperatures, he was wearing a black-tailed tuxedo and a white shirt. He stood there watching the dogs, then he looked at us.
"We walked toward him to see who he was and what he wanted, but he backed up to the dirt road. My brothers walked toward him. He watched them approach him and walked backward down the road. No matter how fast my brothers walked they could not get close to him. They trotted, ran and raced down the road after him, but all he did was walk backward one step at a time. No matter how fast they ran, he was out of their reach."
"Then what happened?" I asked her.
"Your uncles gave up and returned home. We never saw that man again, but we were frightened," she admitted. "I was glad I was not alone."
"Who do you think it was?" I asked her.
"The devil," she whispered. "Who else could walk backward and never be caught?"
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