If what you are after is in fact sought after as you would seek hidden treasure, then you’ll find it, loosely translates an ancient proverb.
But what if the treasure finds you?
On their special day, July 7, a tribute to our son, his wonderful family, his dear sweet wife who found him twelve years ago, and all those, like the rest of our grown children – and me – who can say the same thing: that the treasure found us.
One day as a dad I set out with our very young children on an adventure and in the process what we all discovered to our delight and uncovered literally in the ground was gold.
Ok, not real gold, but close enough if you’re a youngster on a treasure hunt.
We lived on an island where most certainly at one time or other pirates had buried treasure along with the obligatory skull-and-crossbones (map) and ‘X’ (ground).
At least the pirates had if I had anything to say about it.
We had just finished reading “Blackbeard’s Ghost” to our kids and in keeping with the nefarious nature of this ne’re-do-well, I filled a small chest with the sort of things pirates of the smaller sort would treasure – gold coins (foil-covered chocolate), and various and sundry trinkets and baubles.
Then I buried it. On the very edge of a cliff (small embankment), only accessible (ladder) by the very adventuresome, the exact spot was remarkably – after these many centuries (morning hours) – visible, complete with a large X scraped into the soil at the base of the gnarly old dead oak that frowned over it all.
On a dark and stormy night (warm sunny afternoon) with near-uncontrollable excitement the treasure-hunters, eyes wide with wonder, watched spell-bound as I unrolled my discovery of an edge-charred, yellowed-and-sweat-stained parchment (sheet of 8×11 paper).
It was a map. And not just any old map either. Clearly evident dead center, scrawled with gunpowder, were Blackbeard’s real-name initials themselves – “E.T.” With this astoundingly incredible find in one hand and shovel in the other, our son raced down the beach following the clues connected by the dotted lines, his more timid sisters trailing behind.
After explaining that the parallel lines with the hatch marks on the map were not in fact railroad tracks (that those came much later), I suggested to the impatient little gold-seekers that they should scout about for something similar. That’s when they found the rickety ladder-like contraption hidden in plain sight against the bank.
With sisters holding, and a “are-you-sure-this-is-safe?” whisper from their ignored-mother, the bit-braver brother made his way to the top, and sure enough below the old oak tree there was the X, still, etched into the soil.
The dirt began to fly.
To this day I’ll never forget what happened next.
“Nothin’ here dad!”
“Son, if you were a pirate do you think you would have dug a shallow pit?”
After heaving a couple more half-shovel-fulls down toward his sisters below, the young treasure-hunter stopped again.
“Nothin’ here dad!”
“Maybe so. Let’s go home.”
Just what he needed to hear.
With the very next thrust of the blade there was the unmistakable resounding thud of shovel against wood.
Without even verifying the treasure chest had been discovered, our son lifted both hands high overhead, clenched fist with one, shovel silhouetted against the sky in the other and beneath the gnarly old oak tree the air was rent with a young pirate’s shout that was at the same time both a cry to raise the dead and an exultant confirmation that what had been sought had been found.
“Somethin’ here dad!”
It’s not true that dead men tell no tales. We do after all leave a legacy. And if there’s no date yet after the dash on our tombstone, what an adventure we can have, what stories one day we’ll tell of the treasures we’ve found, and the treasures that have found us.
Like our son – and hopefully you when it’s your anniversary: “Somethin’ here dad!”
(Photo by his sister and our daughter Christina Klas who travelled to the other side of the world to film their portrait, and those of their three little pirates. She does this by the way if you need an excellent photographer!)