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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Schilaty

A Mystery, a Ghost, and a Foiled Plan

One of the super bummers of living in Arizona is that my friends don’t have the chance to get to know my parents. It’s a real shame. So for Father’s day here’s a little story about my parents to help you get to know them (and especially how silly my dad is). I learned this story while I was home two weeks ago.

A few years ago someone started leaving flowers on my paternal grandma’s grave. My aunt asked all the relatives she could think of if they were doing it and no one confessed or had any idea. My parents and my aunt and uncle are all retired and they have a lot of time on their hands to solve this sort of mystery. So with Memorial Day coming up my dad decided to catch the phantom do-gooder. He and my mom went to Cabela’s and bought a spy camera, the kind that takes pictures whenever there is movement. They explained to the salesman at Cabela’s what they were doing and the salesman said, “This is first time I’ve seen someone buy one of these cameras to catch someone doing something good.” My dad, however, had his own mischievous plans.

My dad decided to mess with my aunt and uncle by playing off of the confusion surrounding the flowers. My uncle installed the camera in a tree near my grandma’s grave a week before Memorial Day and a few days later my parents went to the cemetery attempting to play a trick. My dad put on a coonskin cap and a bandana over his face so he wouldn’t be recognized. In one hand he held a hatchet (I really have no idea why) and in the other a single flower. Then he walked up to grave, probably giggling on the inside, and placed a flower on the grave. The motion activated camera recorded his movements and he couldn’t wait to hear my aunt tell him that some strange, mysterious man was responsible for the flowers.

It was a clever trick, but it didn’t quite work. You see, my mom went with my dad to the cemetery, but she didn’t understand how the camera worked. While my dad was putting on his costume back at the car she walked over the grave, without my dad noticing, and took some pictures of the graves with her phone. She didn’t realize that walking in front of the camera meant that her picture would be taken. So when my aunt and uncle looked at the video later they saw my mom taking pictures immediately followed by the peculiar man who, instead of being mysterious, was very obviously my dad being a trickster. My aunt called my dad and said jokingly, “Just one flower, you cheapskate?” His plan had been accidently foiled by my mom, but he wanted to have a little more fun.

 A few days later he went back dressed in white with a sheet over him pretending to be a ghost. This time he had no intention of fooling anybody, he was just having fun. However, when he got there he saw fresh flowers and a cleaned off grave. The do-gooder had been there! Also, my aunt had written a note for the do-gooder that she left on the grave. It thanked the person for their service and asked the person who they were. When my dad got there the note was gone. He called my aunt and uncle to tell them to come check out the camera. They were a little annoyed because they thought he was just playing another trick on them, which, to be fair, is exactly what had happened. But in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” fashion he was also telling the truth.

When my aunt and uncle watched the video they were pretty annoyed when they saw my dad as a ghost. He had made them drive all the way out the cemetery just to see him pretend to be a ghost. Then they went back a little ways and got some great pictures of the woman who has been leaving the flowers. There are pictures of her leaving flowers and cleaning the graves. And there’s even a picture of her with my aunt’s note in her pocket, but she never contacted my aunt to confess that she was the do-gooder. She’s some distant cousin who we’re related to through my great-grandparents. I’d never heard of her. What’s crazy is that my parents got to the cemetery just two hours after her. If they had gotten there a little earlier they would have caught her in the act.

These are the kinds of antics my parents get involved in. This is what happens when four retired people have a lot of time on their hands and a baffling mystery to solve. Fun fact: If you look closely at the grave marker it says "Schlilaty" which is how my last name was spelled before my grandpa and one of his brothers decided to drop the first "L." 96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

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