Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mysteries and Maybe Treasure

Today was full of mysteries. This morning, John went to Brown Farm to move the round bales off the field, and later I took Maggie and Hubert for a run along the creek. (The dogs run; I don’t.)

After they had run themselves out and soaked in the creek, we went to the old Smith home place to visit some cousins. Eventually the talk turned to graveyards. Cousin Mike told me there is a large graveyard on Brown Farm, but all the stones were stolen by moonshiners many decades ago. The flat tombstones made handy supports for the distillation equipment. Apparently there were—are!—a lot of graves now lying unmarked. He also said that some stones had been stolen from the old Smith cemetery—where our great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents are buried. This was the first I’ve heard of a cemetery on Brown Farm, much less of tombstones taken from there. Strange to think that we Smiths apparently have a long-standing tradition of having our tombstones stolen.

Years ago, I’d noticed a spreading patch of myrtle on one of the hillsides at Brown Farm. Since myrtle is a typical ground cover for graveyards, I’d looked for some stones but hadn’t seen any. Maybe this is where the graveyard is. For now, it’s a mystery.

When I returned home with the dogs, I noticed that my horses must have had company while I’d been away. The tell-tale horse manure on the grass outside their paddock certainly wasn’t theirs.

No way my mares could have done this.

Since two piles of poop had been deposited, might two equines have visited?

This pile is even farther from the fence.

If so, who were these critters? It’s a mystery.

Less than an hour later, things got even weirder. An elderly gentleman rang our doorbell. He explained that he was a dowser and had passed Smith Farm and “felt” something buried in the woods.

What's in these woods?

He wanted to go look around. John—having had enough problems with trespassers and vandals in the past—none too politely refused the request. I, however, decided to pursue the matter and invited Mr. Harrison to follow me to the farm. I’m always on the lookout for a good story, and I already know some folks with interesting, er, abilities. So, I was open to a weird experience.

He told me about how he’d aways been interested in treasure hunting, but he’d been doing this for about 30 years. He’d done searches in New Mexico and was interested in Bedford County’s Beale treasure. (His idea about the Beale treasure is that after Beale died, his associates dug up the treasure and transported it to Colombia.)

At the farm, Mr. Harrison took his rods and pointed them. The rods moved. I watched his hands to see if he might be turning them, but I couldn’t detect that he was. The rods seemed to swing of their own accord.

He said that something big was buried in the woods, and it had been there for 150 years. He wouldn’t tell me exactly where unless he could have access to it. I don’t care to have my woods dug up, so I declined.

Whatever—if anything—is buried under my woods will remain a mystery. My woods are enough of a treasure for me just the way they are.

People ask me where I get all my weird ideas for stories. Well, sometimes the ideas come and get me.


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