Friday, October 14, 2011

Annual silver treasure hunt

For 30 years I have hosted a treasure hunt throughout the Greater Grand Rapids area. It's relatively simple, lots of fun and doesn't cost anyone a penny to participate. Winners of this un-ponsered event have taken home silver coins, bullion, heirloom items and other valuable and interesting items totaling almost $100,000 over that 30 years. I am pleased to have received requests for the information from every state in the union and over a dozen other countries including South Africa, England, Ukraine, Germany, Australia and more. The most pleasing aspect of the treasure hunt has been the amount of people who have been reminded of the ever present danger of an invisible, odorless gas that can easily sicken or kill anyone: Carbon Monoxide! The treasure hunt has accomplished it's purpose many times over. In the years when we could count the participants the people playing the game numbered well over 40, 000. Because of the very welcome media coverage that number could easily be greater than that but there is no way of counting them any more. Because of it, I have developed friendships that will last a lifetime and have hundreds of interesting, wonderful and often hilarious stories to tell. Maybe I'll write a book about them, who knows? As we enter into the 31st year the changes we have encountered during that time must be taken into consideration.

This year the game will start a little later than it has in the past. Except for one year the starting date was the first Tuesday of November. This time it will begin in the first week of January. The exact date will be announced soon. The end has always been determined by when the winner found the elusive medallion, not a specific time. The 31st treasure hunt will have a specific ending date or be when the medallion is found, whichever is first. There has always been one clue announced each month until it was solved. This time the clues will come more often. This will result in a faster paced game. Most years the exact nature of the treasure remained a mystery as a surprise to the winner. This year the treasure will be disclose at the same time as the original riddle. The rules have been updated a little to keep pace with the times. Those changes will be announced well before the game begins.

The treasure hunt remains family friendly. Some families that began the adventure 30 years ago are now playing with their grand kids. It is very satisfying to hear from hundreds of people who "Grew up" with the treasure hunt and have their own stories to tell about this annual tradition.

More information will follow as the starting time nears. For related information please check Meanwhile, have a wonderful fall and enjoy the Michigan colors.............Joe

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some people's idea of wisdom

A guy I used to work for was the owner of a fish fry. He fed me his own style of wisdom for almost three years when the customers were gone and it was time to clean up. Being raised to respect my elders I kept my mouth shut and listened. In his own words, he was fat, bald and not too pretty from an early age but those things didn't cramp his style one bit. If I followed his ideas I'd be happy and successful all of my living days. In many ways he proclaimed that it was his way or the wrong way, no in betweens. His idea of happiness, right or wrong was described this way:

If you can't comb your hair with a handkerchief it is too long.
Don't waste time on members of the opposite sex that don't idolize you. There are thousands that will.
Never do work yourself that you can pay someone else to do. It's easier being a boss and you can get more done.
When you want to sell something to someone it is better to make them laugh first because then they will pay you more.
Eat what you want when you are young, when you are old you will need extra weight to get over being sick.
Never skimp on quality. Always be the best. If you can't be the best at something, change the rules.
Don't waste effort on things you don't get paid for.
Save money when you are young and spend it when you are old.
Never, never say no when you are offered something free.
Don't borrow money except from a bank, never a person. A person will ask a favor in return when you least expect it. It's a law of nature.
Never call an older person by their first name until you are in your 30's.
Never pass gas around other people. If you do, be quiet about it, look at someone else and make a face.
Don't give money to charity until you have enough for yourself and your family. Charity begins at home.
If you help other people laugh every day you will also laugh and sleep better at night.
Don't hold a grudge.
Don't trust someone else's dog.
Don't trust a relative with your money or your wife.
Make money during the day, count it at night.
Never teach a child a swear word. You'll pay hell for it.
It's better to have a clean mind and dirty hands than vice versa.
It's good to listen to old guys advice but then you have to make your own way in life.
Don't blame your mistakes on anyone and accept the consequences.
Get to work early and leave late.

He was a pretty successful guy. But by and large I went on to find my own wisdom. The thing was, he took the time to tell me those things. Some made me laugh, some made me think, some I just plain don't understand to this day. Kind of like Trigonometry class. It was all part of growing up.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kids, aliens, werewolfs, vampires and cowboys

Listening to young kids and their logic can be an enlightening experience. As adults most of us have forgotten our youthful perceptions of reality. TV shows and fantasy films had a profound affect on our impressionable minds. Why, far into my adulthood I still entertained thoughts of riding the open range rounding up steers or capturing rustlers. Although perhaps the particulars of childhood ideas may have changed, the line between reality and fantasy is still as blurred as ever.

While discussing the upcoming Halloween activities with a couple neighborhood boys I found out a thing or two that I hadn't realized: Ghosts don't exist. It is ridiculous to even think that something can be made out of thin air. That only happens on TV. Zombies and aliens are real though. Zombies can pop up out of the ground or the side of a building. Aliens can hide inside someone Else's body or a dog or other animal. Aliens hide their spaceships in houses a lot and pretend to be regular people so they can spy. Werewolfs aren't really people. Werewolfs are actually dogs disguised as people in order to get people so they can eat them. Another thing, werewolfs sometimes just bite and chew people for fun. Centaurs live by the mountains only because anywhere else people want to fight with them too much and they don't really like to fight that much. They like to run more because of their horse feet. Vampires are scariest of all. Vampires fly at night looking for people to suck blood from. If a vampire sucks blood from your neck you turn into a vampire too. But, and listen carefully, if a vampire bites you anywhere else you can get away and not be a vampire. So make sure you put up your arm for them to bite and when it bites you hit it hard and run away. You'll be OK then and not a vampire too.

I was left with one more bit of juvenile wisdom: Cowboys can kill vampires, werewolfs and aliens with their 50/50 guns and sometimes they train centaurs to ride them. Cowboys can do almost anything and they protect us just like the Army. I guess some things only change a little.
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