The prompt for the day is the word Treasure. Here is what this word bring to mind:
Farm boys must often create their own pastime. Age and frolic are often inversely proportional. That is, until one has earned a driving license. One of our mainstay distractions was fishing. Combining that with camping was even better. And if we could get our hands on a farm tractor. Need I say more?.
Jim and I were both fourteen when we planned an overnight fishing trip at the river. The place we had in mind was only two miles from his house. So talking his father into the use of his Ford tractor was not impossible. The tractor we were loaned had a rear scoop attached to the 3-point hydraulic hitch, convenient that was for stowing our paraphernalia – tent, sleeping bags, fire wood, fishing gear, food, and a coffee pot.
The lengthening shadows of Saturday evening were upon us by the time we had our stuff together.
“Gasoline is expensive, you know,” he father said. “The tank is full and I don’t expect to add more a gallon to top it off in the morning. You get my drift?”
“No sweat, Dad,” Jim promised as he hit the starter button. With him at the wheel and me perched on the fender we were on our way.
After building a fire. Then we went to the river bank to make mud for coating our potatoes. When the coals were ready we buried the spuds and then kicked back to enjoy our night out. Forget fishing.
Jim always talked money. Finding someone’s lost treasure was all he ever thought about. The evening in question was no exception. While we were reclined back on one elbow he noticed three trees that seemed strangely placed. Two formed a base and the third formed a pointer, like an arrowhead.
“You know Jesse James and the Dalton Gang spent a lot of time in this area during the Border War,” Jim said. I wonder where they stashed the money they robbed?” he added.
Of course I had no answer for that. So I listened. He went on and on, always coming back to those three trees.
“I bet there’s a sack of money buried there just waiting to be dug up, and that tree is pointing to where it is. All we have to do is dig it up,” he said. The longer he talked the more sure he became. “Let’s dig it up,” he finally said,” forgetting the potatoes, forgetting the fire, forgetting the fishing. Forgetting everything but that treasure.
Starting the tractor, he drove to a place where he was sure there was the depression that indicated a hole had been filled in. “It’s like a grave sinking in,” he shouted above the roar of the tractor engine. and then he started digging.
It must have been near midnight when the gas gauge told him it was time to stop digging. I went to sleep. He put in a fitful night, wondering what he was going to tell his dad about the eighteen gallons of gasoline he’d burned. He finally decided we could head home early and he’d fill the tractor before his dad was awake. The eighteen gallon shortage wouldn’t be noticed until Barns Heating and Oil filled the bulk gas tank.
His plan might have worked if the tractor hadn’t run out of gas a mile short of the house. By the time we hiked in and carried a can of gas down the road and then drove back to the house the cat was out of the bag, so to speak.
The tractor was not available next time.