Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Legend of Old Sourdough

Camping trips were always the one thing that kept me going when I was growing up. If things were not looking so good for me, or if I started losing hope, my mind would wander away to the campground and I’d begin to think about how I would explore the mountains and valleys in wide open spaces. Discover treasures that others had overlooked, leave my footprints on ground that no one had ever walked on. I could imagine walking along a dirt road and watching the other campers set up their campsites, seeing everyone happy and excited to begin their adventures. Now and then my Grandpa would show up right before we were ready to leave and let us know that he was going along. My father was never surprised when this would happen, sometimes I think they planned it all along, it didn’t really matter much. It sure made me happy knowing that Grandpa was going. He always had a way of making things seem more important than they ordinarily would. When we’d go out fishing the creek sometimes he would stop suddenly, hold his arm out and say, “Hold on, did you hear that? Oh boy you don’t want to miss that, it’s a bird right over there in that tree”. Even if I could care less about “that bird over there”, it somehow became the most important thing in the whole world, because Grandpa thought it was worth stopping for. My time would be spent asking Grandpa about anything and everything that would come into my mind, nothing was too far fetched, or out there for him. He always gave me answers to my questions, or sometimes just a smile and a nod of his head. Campfire time was always the time I couldn’t wait for. After supper when the sun was going down everyone helped to get the wood ready for the fire. Once the fire was going good we would all gather around, quietly waiting to hear those famous words from Grandpa, “Say, did I ever tell you about the legend of Old Sourdough?” Everyone would lean forward to hear the story that we all knew so well and had heard a hundred times, but it never seemed to grow old. This is his story, in his words:

“Well, I don’t know if I should be tell ‘in you about Old Sourdough, but I will. Ya see Sourdough don’t like people talk ‘in about him. If you feel something come up behind ya and grab ya, well it’s him and oh boy he’s gunna be mad. See, in 1849 there was this old miner named Sourdough. He’d wander around these parts look ‘in for gold. He didn’t have a friend in the whole world, sept fer his donkey named Biscuit. Old Sourdough had a long white beard, as white as the snow up there on the mountains. All the other old miners called him Sourdough cause he’d make Sourdough flapjacks ever morning for breakfast and feed some to his only best friend old Biscuit. Now listen here, Old Sourdough found himself a lot a gold, he hid it somewhere up in these mountains. Only thing is he forgot where he hid it. Some say he still wanders around these parts, with old Biscuit, search in for his lost gold to this day. If you’re ever out all alone when it’s gettin dark, and ya hear a whisper in the wind, well that’s Old Sourdough following ya, just hopein yer leadin him to his lost treasure”.

This story changed every time Grandpa told it. He would add a little something, or take a little something away. Either way my mind would fill with thoughts about the gold. Sometimes I’d go to sleep wondering if Old Sourdough would ever find his treasure, maybe he never lost it to begin with.

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