My Father's Gold Fever

Into the wilderness we followed

My Father's Gold Fever

My father was a man of genuine character. He had a heart of gold and would give the shirt off his back to help someone in need.

He also had a temper that sometimes got the best of him. His pain from the past was like an anchor weighing him down.

My father had met my mother at the local hang out in San Jose, Ca. She was a waitress there. At first glance, she was swept away and fell in love with my father. He was a cool guy with his hot rod 57 Chevy, his black hair slicked back with a curl in front. A rebel ready to take on the world.

They entered dance competitions and could do the jitterbug so well, winning often. Soon they got married and had five children, and everything changed, the life that he once knew of teaching tap dancing and being a free spirit was now filled with the responsibility of being a young father of 20.

Under the water, I swam like a fish floating, drifting, stillness, no sound, just silence. Like a baby wrapped in a soft blanket, the water held me in its arms, comforting me.

From the shore, I could see my father working hard, his skin had darkened now from the summer sun. He had built a sluice box and was now testing it out. Pouring buckets of dirt into the box, as water would flow over the dirt, revealing gold nuggets. He worked hard, and used a long tool to pry open the bedrock, with a look of determination and a willingness to strike a vein of gold.

My sisters and brothers laying on the hot rocks getting warm in the sun's rays. I had become accustomed to the sound of the river piercing my ears. Just then, I heard my father yell from across the river, "Come, kids, let's see what we got!" Excited, we gathered around him as he began to swish the water from side to side gently in the pan. One by one, the gold nuggets would appear, and our eyes lit up! "A good day's work!" My father would say with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. He was a free man, untamed by society, and wanted nothing to do with the outside world, it was a rat race with greed and suffering, a never ending war. We were going to be the survivors, and stake a claim, build our home away from society.

The sun was starting to set in the sky, and my father knew when to head back to camp. My father's voice called again, "Let's load it up, kids!" We had to move quickly! Before we got caught after dark on the narrow deer trails and steep terrain.

We were like mountain goat's steady on our feet, following my father's every steps, keeping up with his pace. Making it back to camp hungry and tired, we warmed our selves by the fire as we settled in for the night. Telling stories and reminiscing about our day, sometimes dad played the harmonica, and when he did, we sometimes sang and danced with excitement along with the tune. It was another long day, and tomorrow would come early, as we would make our way back down the canyon to the river below.

With the sound of the wind blowing through the tall pines, and a coyote howling in a far off place, I gazed up into the starry night and knew God was watching over us; I could feel he was listening. Dear God, please show us the way, help us find a home, and strike a vein of gold. Watch over us and protect us, amen. Drifting off into a deep sleep.

fact or fiction
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Kathy Larson

Massage Therapist: Mother at a young age caring for my brothers: raised three children: Writer: Singer: gold miner. 

See all posts by Kathy Larson