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Behind Every Cloud is a Kindred Spirit (BECKS)I lost my grandfather when I was 17. I had a VERY difficult time getting over it. How could I still communicate with him? I loved him so much I didn't think I could live without him. I read everything I could get my hands on to do with the "afterlife" and that started it all...the love of Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal. I have been researching the paranormal for over 37 years!! It is my way of staying in touch with my grandfather. Being a Ghost Hunter is not always as exciting as it seems on TV. Many nights I have sat in the dark and not a thing happened. BUT it is those times you DO get that one voice, that one explainable picture or have an experience that sends chills down your back that makes it sooo worth it all!!! My purpose of this blog is not to make people believe in ghosts but maybe to open their minds just a little bit... I LOVE this crazy thing called Ghost Hunting. It is as much a part of me as breathing. I am just a girl that refuses to accept we can't still contact our loved ones after they die. My grandfather won't let me.



The Ranchman in Ponder, Texas

This is not my "normal" post about ghosts or ghost hunting but sometimes I just feel compelled to write about something "different" and this week I'm doing just that.

Sometimes when I am out looking for haunted locations I run across some place that has nothing to do with "ghost hunting" but has everything to do with an amazing experience and The Ranchman's Steakhouse in Ponder, Texas is just one of those places!!!  Is it haunted?  I don't know, but hopefully someday I will get to find out. :)  I can tell you this...as I sat in this place today having lunch for the first time, I could feel such energy around me, almost as if the spirits were saying "tell our story" or "you have to write about this place" so guess what?  That is exactly what I am going to do. :)

So lets talk about what makes this place so amazing!  First, Ponder, Texas is a small little country town and seems to take great pride in keeping its roots connected to the "Wild West" so to speak.  The store fronts look like an old western town where you would see "dusty old cowboys" riding down the street looking for water for their horses and a cold beer and bath for themselves.  Or maybe in a later time, the farmers and ranchers driving their "barely running" trucks into town to sell their crops or pick up a thing or two from the general store and who knew every person in town by their first name.

The Ranchman's structure was built in 1903 as a restaurant.  Soon, a barbershop was added where their grill is now.  Later, during the Great Depression, another family opened it as a hardware/general store.

Ponder was a thriving town in the 1930's with two grocery stores, a cotton gin, hotel, two gas stations and 1200 residents.  Cotton, wheat, peanuts and oats were the main agricultural products.  A wide center street was the norm in small farming towns to store excess grain until the next train.  Locals still park in the center of the street in Ponder today.  How do I know all this?  Well, not only can you have an awesome homecooked meal you can read The Ranchman's Gazette newspaper, which by chance, is also your Menu!  I loved this!!!!!!!!!

The inside of the restaurant has "picnic style" tables, so just like "back in the day", you are sitting very close to your neighbor.  The interior is all wood, with a cute little sit down bar right when you first walk in.  You can also see the kitchen in the background from the bar.  From the minute you open the door, your mind goes to a different place.....a place that has no electronics, no "business suites"(although I am sure people do come in suites sometimes).  All you notice is most of the people look like locals and are enjoying their lunch with a smile on their face "solving the worlds problems".

Now, Grace "Pete" Jackson opened Ranchman's for business on Thanksgiving Day, 1948.  She had so many customers at the lunch counter in her grocery store next door that she decided it would be a good idea to open a restaurant.  Pete pasted away at the young age of 94.  "The restaurant is a monument to her stamina", Dave said.  Dave Ross, who bought the Ranchman's in 1992, began cooking at the cafĂ© in 1973 as the weekend grill cook, butcher and baker, while attending the University of North Texas.  During this time, he helped Pete with the 50-seat addition in the back.

Ok.....are you ready for this??????  For some reason THE MINUTE I walked in this place I felt an automatic "connection".  Was it the place itself???????????  Was it the "spirits" that may not have shown their presence yet but where letting me know they were there?????????  What was it?????  Well you know how I am about SIGNS.....

So, as I am sitting there looking around at all the pictures on the walls of FAMOUS people that have actually eaten at The Ranchman's, I was also just glancing through the Ranchman's Menu/Gazette that has several "cool" facts and stories in it.  But there was one in  particular that caught my attention.  Are you ready???  There is an article about a shot out and Sam Bass that happened...…..WHERE???...Where else...but The Old Alton Bridge!!!  That's right the bridge that I give tours at!!!  I was aware of the things about Sam Bass and how he had a "hide out" near the bridge but I just thought it was awesome that they had a really nice article about the bridge in it.  Coincidence?  Is that why I felt SUCH A CONNECTION and interest in this amazing place before I ever sat down? Was I being drawn here because of the spirits and their connection to the bridge?

And what would a town be without a little scandal. LOL

Here's the deal.  There may not be any connection at all and what I felt was just the nostalgia of The Ranchman and it's connection to the past, or maybe..... just maybe , there's a reason I don't yet know, but whatever it was....I enjoyed my lunch very much and a moment in time that seemed to stand still.  :)  Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go finish my homemade chocolate pie.

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