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I’m a big Indiana Jones fan. Old “Indy” is always running across some forgotten treasure that’s long been abandoned.
I recall when I did the same thing.
Some men were stringing barbed wire fence along a piece of bottom land next to the creek.
Mama had a lunch for them and I was left alone to wander (and wonder). “Keep out of trouble,” she said.
Now this briarpatch I was about to explore had some interesting characteristics.
Overgrown with black jack sedum and pine trees, the land rose up higher from the flat bottoms. The sun was climbing towards high noon and the foliage made my walk considerably more comfortable.
Suddenly, I stumbled into a spring which was almost covered in old leaves and wild ferns.
Using a walking stick fashioned from an old limb, I uncovered some long hidden stones, which seemed to form a place to cool water or milk.
My brain was working overtime from my find and I saw myself as an archaeologist. I would return, clean up the whole area and bring that spring back to its heydays.
The whole thing put me to thinking; I started wondering about the folks who had laid the stones and used the spring as a water source.
Scratching though the leaves, I soon came upon what appeared to be a rock stairway of sorts leading up the hill.
Hot dog. There was more work to be done at a later time. Excitement was consuming me. I couldn't wait to unearth my next surprise.
Up ahead was a row of hedge bushes and some long lost elephant ears growing around a rock foundation.
Shucks, I had discovered an old abandoned home site.
Poking around, I turned over a rusty metal bucket handle.
Howard Carter didn’t have nothing on me: I found an out-of-place horseshoe, two old bottles and bits of broken pottery strewn all around.
Why, here’s an old leather strap wrapped around a large board.
I don’t have any idea what the settlers used it for, but it looks real important. Of course, any form of printed matter had long since withered away.
My discovery was not turning out too wonderful unless I used some of my imagination to fill in the blanks.
So be it.
I envisioned a country home resting on a slight incline with a good spring down below supplying their needs for water to cool the milk.
The woman of the house planted hedges and Elephant Ears around the front of the house. Her husband hunted, grew row crops and sat on their porch where he fashioned this leather thingamajig to use around the farm.
Then, as all great archaeologists do, I wondered why and how this family of long ago had vanished into thin air. Based on what I had found, I figured that Indians had attacked the settlers who lived here and burned their cabin like they do in the cowboy movies at the Imperial Theater.
When I got back to the fence line, I asked those fellas all kinds of questions. Mama, who was the smartest woman I knew, couldn’t answer them, either.
Unlike King Tut’s tomb, my great discovery was shoved aside until another time. Sadly, that time never returned.
In the upcoming years, the old farm changed hands several times. Land was cleared and farmed several times and trees were replanted on it, too.
I’m sure any remnants of the old spring and home place have been swept away.
You know, it’s been said by folks smarter than me (not many) that the only constant in life is change.
But change can be sorta sad.
Today, I see the neighborhood I live in gradually being changed from residential to commercial.
Neighbors have passed away and I, too, am getting older.
In a matter of time, our homeplace will probably disappear under the wrecker’s ball.
But I left a clue behind for some other young explorer to unearth. It seemed to be the right thing to do.
One day, a future Indiana Jones will be poking around in thick undergrowth out back trying to figure out if the first Americans did us in, too.
He’ll stumble across this square, faded white, somewhat rusty thing in the middle of a kudzu patch.
It may take him a while to figure out that it’s a discarded, broken down 20th century washing machine.
What young Indy will never know is the washer suddenly died one cold, wet Monday morning while rinsing a tub full of diapers.
My bride and the mother of our second-born called me at work that day wondering what to do.
It was an easy fix. I just stopped at Sears & Roebuck, loaded up a new washer and headed home.
That just goes to show one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Young Indiana will figure that out one day all on his own.