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The Carpenter Creek Digging (standard:Suspense, 1024 words)
Author: Roger Gene RitcheyAdded: Sep 15 2008Views/Reads: 3140/1605Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Kids explore an unearthed box.


The slip made another undetectable pass through the very large hole in
the ground.  So slow was the progress that each trip was virtually 
immeasurable, even to the trained eye.  It was a stretch to observe 
discernable change even after ten trips. 

The slip was pulled behind a tractor with one adroit man riding the
device and controlling each shaved sliver of earth removed.  The slip 
device worked similar to peeling an apple, only the future hole was one 
humongous apple.  This dirt was not giving it up easily, especially the 
clay part.  The miniscule amount of shaved dirt was dumped onto a 
slowly growing mound nearby. 

I was only eleven years old but my thoughts flashed back to what little
I knew of the Egyptians.  This plodding progress was probably their 
everyday norm.  No whips were cracking, but blisters were still being 
made and broken.  There were at least six men slaving away on this 
backbreaking, gut-straining project, plus us kids.  Of course, kids 
didn't count for much, our main job was staying out of the way, and 
it's surprising how hard that is to learn. 

My Dad, two uncles and three hired men were working on the basement
excavation of my youngest uncle's new home.  The men and, occassionally 
we kids, were picking and shoveling out the corners of this thirty by 
forty foot pit that maybe, just maybe, someday would be ten feet deep.  
This was during the spring of the year when the soil was presumably 
more kind to our Herculean efforts.  The bright, shiny shovels were 
sharpened at least once a day.  And, the shovels' home at night was a 
bucket of used motor oil to prevent rust, probably an old Oregon trick 
learned by necessity. 

Efforts put forth by my cousin and me were undeniably feeble and
borderling worthless.  Carpenter Creek was just fifty feet away and the 
slowly growing dirt mound was a magnet for us Tom Sawyer wannabees. 

There had been a very old house owned by a pioneer family on the site
and it was now a cold pile of ashes.  This torching was only after 
complete searches by you know who. 

On and on the work went, day after day.  And, these were not eight hour
days, not even ten measly hour stints.  Our usual was twelve hours with 
animal chores on each end. 

Finally, we kids had a mound we could really get running down.  Playing
king of the mountain was the living end, especially when neighboring 
kids ventured into our domain. 

The men were straightening the back south wall when it happened.  The
end of a large box slowly appeared.  It was a good five feet deep and 
still looked pretty sturdy with only a few bugs doing their thing. 

All work came to a stop!  At first there was a lot of excited jabbering
with us youngsters joining right in, because our imaginations could fly 
with anybody's.  But my dad and oldest uncle were not saying much.  It 
took a lot to get them excited! 

My cousin and I were pretty sure it wasn't pirate's treasure, but then
how did you know?  So, cooler heads then ours were weighing in about 
the possiblity of "it" being a coffin.  Well now, we'd always wanted to 
dig one up. 

What to do?  Maybe talk with the pioneer family about their
recollections, or we could open the end and pull the body bones out to 
be reburied in a safer place.  It was already proven:  digging was one 
of our family's long suits.  But, we kids wailed, "What about all the 
gold or silver probably in there?"  It was a mental logjam for the 
adults, which my cousin and I could not figure.  No one was ever going 
to have a better chance to find an honest to God treasure. 

So, we kids decided to sneak down into the pit at night and take the end
off the box. 

The first thing that went wrong was a skunk falling into the excavation.
 My younger, slower cousin got mixed up with the wrong end of him 

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