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I forgot about my buried treasure

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By W.B. Evans

In their heyday, Long John Silver, Blackbeard and Jesse James stole plenty of money and jewels.

Bless Pete, somewhere out there are hundreds of old treasure maps with bloody directions scrawled on ’em as to where all those strong boxes are buried.

That’s how you keep secrets from prying, greedy eyes.

It seems foolish to bury good stuff, though, seeing how something always happens to prevent us from digging it up later.

Sometimes, well-meaning folks will fill boxes with current information and plant it in places they call cornerstones.

Then, a hundred years from now, they’ll crack the seal on that box to study on folks long dead and the old television programs they watched.

If they have a cornerstone hideaway for the new courthouse, I wonder if some of the contents will have folks in 2111 scratching their heads in amazement.

Maybe someone will toss in an out-of-state license plate to record the memory of those who worked on the local Taj Mahal.

I do hope there will be some mention of the Springs clock tower over on Gillsbrook Road. At the rate things are going, by that time, nobody will have any idea as to what a “Springs” was, much less a “lint head.”

OK, that’s enough of the mill talk. Trying to figure out who is in control and who is pouring the cement and running the lights to the new courthouse is just too hard. The only thing I know for sure is who is paying for it.

I prefer to look back when we – as adventuresome young pirates sailing the high seas or as marauding highwaymen – pretty much had everything well in hand.

And just like all your better buccaneers and bandits, I figured it was a good idea to leave some treasure behind.

That way, years from now, folks will know that “Pirate Bill” had  been sailing around these parts.

But that did have it’s limitations. There is honor among make-believe thieves and I didn’t want to break the law just to be remembered.

The first step was rounding up some good (but not too good) stuff to bury.

I started going through my treasures and managed to cull out a few things I wasn’t going to need in 2045.

I settled  on a worn-out cap pistol that wouldn’t shoot paper caps anymore, a tobacco sack full of Chinese checker marbles and a “Big Little Book” about Buck Rogers. Wanting to be as authentic as possible, I also tore loose a recent front page of The Lancaster News.

I placed ’em in an old tin black lunch box. That way they’ll last forever, I thought. Now, all I need is a good out-of-the-way place to bury this homemade treasure chest.

I settled on a spot under the big mulberry tree where I once had a sand pile. I headed to the plunder house to find a shovel and started digging to China.

About a foot down, that sand turned into red, rock hard Carolina clay, which slowed my digging to a crawl.

Finally with sweat streaming off my forehead and into the hole, I figured it was deep enough.

I placed an old brick on the bottom and lined the sides of the hole with enough bricks to make sure the lunch box would be protected forever.

I stuck the lunch box in the hole and positioned some wooden shingles over the top of it.

I covered my treasure with red clay, patted it flat and used a tree branch to sweep away any telltale signs that I had ever been there.

Naturally, I drew a map of the hiding place on the side of a large brown grocery bag, ran in the house, and promptly hid the map beneath  my mattress. You can never be too careful with a treasure map.

I had plenty of major cardboard construction projects to keep me occupied.

Very soon, grass covered the old sand pile, and frankly, I sorta forgot about my hidden treasure and the map.

Summer melted into fall followed by winter. When spring came calling, Mama hung the blankets on the clothesline to air and flipped the mattresses.

That’s when my treasure map fell on the floor.

All of a sudden 100 years had sailed by. I got the shovel out and started hunting for the treasure.

I found it all right, but I was disappointed. The hole was deep in rain water and the tin lunch box and bricks didn’t work out like I hoped.

The old cap pistol was caked in rust. The tobacco sack was sopping wet, but the marbles were as good as new.

The Lancaster News was a glob of mush. Buck and Wilma Deering hadn’t held up very well, either.  

My treasure was like Hitler’s Third Reich, it certainly didn’t last.

Let that be a lesson, don’t bury stuff if you want to use it later.