Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding the gold

We overheard the counter guy at the surplus store quietly talking to another customer about a long protected secret concerning the Pikric Acid plant. Our ears perked up to listen. The counter guy looked both ways to make sure no one was listening, I guess he didn't see us, and then he told the other guy about how some gold bars had been buried by the United States government to protect it just in case the country was invaded. Now it seems that the government forgot about the gold somehow they said. Some other guy had just discovered a drawing of some hidden caves in between the smoke stacks and the small river just South of them. Those guys were going to there in a couple days to find and dig out the gold and they'd be rich forever. Jim and I were dumbfounded, we had actually been in the entrance to those caves! We didn't go too far in because they were pretty dark and stunk awful. We suddenly thought dark and stinky weren't so bad after all. We made plans for the next morning.

So around 8:00 am we were on our bikes riding across the hills and knolls on our way to the caves. I had a hatchet and Jim had a small army shovel his dad had left from being in a soldier. Each of us carried a flashlight and extra batteries too. The sun was already burning down hot on our backs, the grass was still wet from the dew of the night, causing us to slip and slide as we raced towards the cave opening. We stopped just down a hill behind a small grove of bushy trees that hid the cave entrance. No one else was around that we could see. We certainly didn't want to share our gold with anyone. We made sure our bikes were covered under low hanging branches and walked to the side of the hill where the opening was. We hesitated for a minute and just looked at each other. Wow! All we had to do was go inside and pick up that gold.

We bent down and entered the cave entrance, shining our flashlights ahead of us, water trickled down the side walls and settled in small pools in between the rocks, spider webs hung along every surface and across the opening, getting into our faces and feeling kind of creepy. Noises came from inside but they weren't scary though, we thought it was just the wind. The wind is always in caves, we knew that from movies and stories. The cave opening was small, only about two or three feet high but as we crawled further in the ceiling got higher and wider. The ceiling was pock marked with deep holes and cracks. We penetrated deeper and deeper, excited as we were the darkness was all encompassing except for the steady beams of our flashlights. We stopped and shone our lights around, checking out every square inch of the inside to make sure we didn't overlook any gold.

Over our right, about ten feet away the wall had broken away slightly and we could see the corner of what we thought was a steel box. The edge was shiny but the side was rusty. We had to climb over some large, slippery rocks to get to it. Halfway there an bright light filled the cave to almost daylight, blinding our eyes. A loud voice yelled out, "What are you kids doing in here?" "You gotta get out right now!" We started to say the we just wanted to get that steel box but the guy yelled even louder and said we had to leave right then. We couldn't play in there any more. He helped us get up, back through and out the entrance to the outside. He was nice enough but wouldn't listen to anything we had to say. We just had to leave. We got on or bikes and left. When we got to the edge of the trees we saw a huge tractor with a front loader on it with a another small caterpillar with a plow on the front. A bunch of guys were standing around, some had shovels. We went home, all those grown up guys would have made arguing useless. Later that day we rode our bikes about 20 miles to Green Lake and went swimming. No sense in wasting a good summer day without school.

The next morning,right after peddling papers and doing chores, without breakfast we headed out to the caves. They had been plowed over and covered with dirt! We figured those guys with the tractor and front loader must have dug up the caves and found the gold and got rich. We had been that close...................................Joe

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finding gold

I was almost rich once. I was as close as you are to the computer screen right now. Yeah, that close. It was enough gold to support me and my descendants in the lap of luxury for a decade of lifetimes to come. I missed it by just that much.

Being 12 years old was a wonderful time, especially during the summer when the world is more accessible because you don't have to go to school. Waking up at 4:00am, washing up, grabbing my bicycle, picking up and folding the morning papers and then delivering them to my customers took two and a half hours. Fixing a bowl of cereal or a couple slices of toast and eating them only ten more minutes, my chores another half hour and the rest of the day was all mine to do with what I wanted. One particularly bright and shiny Monday morning in June I met my buddy Jim down by the local neighborhood grocery store, Ben and Goldies to purchase supplies for the day's adventure: Lunch meat, a loaf of bread, worms, fishing line, bobbers and hooks took care of our basic needs. Jim bought a compass for a nickle. We knew every inch of where we were going but compasses are interesting anyways. We took off on our bikes going like sixty, we were on a mission, a mission to become rich beyond our wildest dreams.

About two and a half miles from where we lived was a wilderness area, (to us anyway) filled with the unknown. We had been there often but there was never enough time to explore it properly up to that point. It was the hills and fields surrounding the old Pikric acid plant that had been built to provide explosive chemicals for bombs during world war two. The legend had it that when the war ended they tore everything down except the two huge, towering, red brick smoke stacks for the smelting ovens. Bricks, cement, tiles and steel from the old building were bulldozed into the surrounding landscape. Jim and I along with several other friends had scoured the area many times before and found a lot of really cool stuff: An old army helmet, a bent up knife, some old pot, pans, bottles, wire, broken glass and what looked to be a rusty old pistol. All of which helped us to believe there was other great and valuable treasure to be found. This day, Jim and I were sure we were going to find it. The guy at the Army surplus store had let it slip about the gold when we were there buying rabbit traps.

I actually have to go right now. I'll finish this as soon as I can..............Joe
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