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In The Debris
IN THE DEBRIS
It had rained non-stop that second week of June. This meant bad news for my grandparents who live right on the Pine River. The river, after the rain, was now feet from their house and the tackle room, as well as the rest of their property were underwater. After the flood went down it was a mess, so my grandfather asked if my sister and I would come over and help.
I was amazed at the sight if the yard and trails that my sister and I always played on. Garbage and even furniture covered the grounds. I sighed “let’s get cleanin’.” My grandpa told my sister and I to take the trail from the house down to the fishing hole by the bridge. We held trash bags and gradually made our way picking up bits of everything. I didn’t mind helping. I found the whole deal a bit interesting, and my sister was too young to care.
We were quickly filling up the bags when I reached down and picked up an old, rusty bottle. I went to throw it in the bag just as I… “Wait, what is that?” I yelled to my younger sister, “Becca come here!” She skipped across to my side of the trail.
“There’s a paper inside,” she said.
“I know, what’d ya think I wanted to show ya?” I replied sarcastically. I reached my small, 10 year old fingers into the bottle and pulled out a worn out, rolled up paper. We unrolled it. Our eyes and smiles grew wide as we looked from the paper to each other, knowing perhaps what this was. We excitedly ran and jumped back up the trail to the house searching for anyone. They had to see this. We yelled down by the picnic table, “Grandpa!”
“Yes?” We both jumped as he mysteriously showed up behind us.
“Wow, there you are. Look what I found.” I lifted the paper right up to his nose.
“WE found it, WE found it,” my sister stated not wanting to be left out. I ignored her.
“Where did you get this?”
We each grabbed one of his hands and scurried down to show him the exact spot. He glanced at the bottle in my hand. “You two know what this is?” We smiled and nodded.
“Is it really, is it really?” My sister wined and pulled at the old man’s shirt.
“Well, why wouldn’t it be? So ya gonna find it?”
I couldn’t believe it. All those stories my grandpa told my sister and I were coming true. “Yup,” he’d say. “They’d hang out on that bridge up there, real quiet like. Then when the ladies would ride under in the boats they’d swoop down and steal their jewels and valuables before they’d even know they were there.” The stories of the old river pirates always brought excitement to a quiet day of fishing with grandpa. Now all if it was coming to life.
Old house pipe once used now broken was written below a picture of the old house and property. I recognized the place instantly and went searching. We found the spot.
“What now?” My sister asked.
“Go get a shovel from the old tackle room,” I ordered her still staring at the spot. I guess I was afraid that if I didn’t keep my eye on the ground it would disappear before I got to discover what was underneath.
I dug and dug some more. My sister sat and pulled grass, getting tired but not wanting to miss if I pulled anything out of the now immense hole. I was about to give up when… thud! My shovel hit something. My sister jumped up and we got down on our knees to dig with our hands. It was some sort of box wrapped in an animal hide and tied with twine. I was instantly amazed. We needed a knife to cut the twine and had to hammer of clay. The roots we had to pull off it assured me the chest had been there awhile. I was dying to know what was inside. When we opened the box we found a ton of worn jewelry and “knick knacks.” My sister and I split what we liked. It was so exciting.
I would open and then re-open the chest again and again for days just to admire the old treasures another time. One day, as I went through my ritual again, I was looking at some coins. I tossed around the penny and happened to look at the year; 2006.
I called out my grandpa when I went to visit. He told me how they had planted it the spring before. My grandma slapped my grandpa at the stupidity of putting a penny in there without checking the date. I thought it was funny how I outsmarted them. They asked me if I was disappointed. “No,” I told them. “It was just fun.”
I never told my sister of the incident. I couldn’t let her lose the imagined magic. When I think of those stories, that day, I become more and more thankful for my grandpa, and how much he instilled that spirit in my sister and I our whole lives. Sure, the river pirates weren’t real, but in a way to me they were; in my heart. My grandpa’s stories of pirates, dancing gnomes, chupacobras, or whatever made me believe that anything was possible. The day I found that penny I was brought back to reality, something many kids need once in a while. But maybe as we grow older it’s just as important to sometimes be brought back into that world of imagination where anything can happen.