Treasure Found

One of our neighbors had a barn with a small coral. He kept several horses, and for a dime he would allow us to ride three laps around the coral! This was one of our greatest joys! Every dime we could hoard ended up buying those rides. For ten minutes, we were Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, or Tex Ritter! The best source of income for us came from redeeming used pop bottles at Pangles’ Grocery: 2¢ for regular bottles, 5¢ for the big ones.

While exploring the forest behind us one day, we came across an old medal bed frame. This was the bonanza. Mike, Don & I drug it back to our house and hid it behind the tool shed until we could turn it into cash. The longer it sat there the greater its value became.

A couple times a month an old man in a pick-up truck would drive slowly down our street yelling, “Rags and old iron for sale! Rags and old iron for sale!” Actually, I don’t remember anyone ever buying anything from him, but frequently people would sell him old pieces of metal. Our eyes widened, as we drug our treasure to the street. He attached it to his hand-held scales, lifted it off the ground, and announced, “Earned yourself a dime, boys. Earned yourself a dime, boys.”

As a young entrepreneur, I later made money weaving potholders on a little loom and selling them door to door. I also got into a venture selling greeting cards to neighbors and relatives. I earned enough to buy a Marlin, single shot 22 rifle. I mostly shot at tin cans.

Actually, I did have a chance, the one time my dad took me out hunting with him. I rounded a curve and a rabbit sat ten feet in front of me — an easy shot. In my excitement, instead undoing the safety, I clicked the bolt, ejecting my single bullet onto the ground. The rabbit just glared, then calmly wandered off shaking his head.

About ten minutes later, Dad called out, “There’s one coming your way.” Sure enough; it ran straight at me. I aimed and quickly pulled the trigger, missing it as it ran three feet past me. Not even close. I never told anyone about my dismal failure, nor did I ever again go hunting.

As I recall, my gun was ruined when my brother Don left it outside on the ground and it became covered in rust.