I’ve heard my mom talk before about how my grandfather came down with “gold fever.” Sometime in the 1960s I’m assuming. The family owned an irownworks down in Southern California at the time and he had them forge some homemade tools. He had a highbanker and sluice he’d assembled himself and he’d take off, alone or with friends I don’t know, to the foothills and riverbeds of Northern California to dig up his fortune.
Maybe I’m wrong, but when I hear my mom talk about it I get the impression that his “gold fever” was more than recreation, and that he may have sought his riches to the detriment of the family. OK maybe not in an capering old-timer from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre way, but surely in a drag-your-family-around-and-make-them-work-the-pans kinda way. I didn’t quite catch resentment in her memories, but maybe hinted accusations of overzealous folly on Grandpa’s part.
As I kid, I remember the gold pans and equipment hung on the walls of my grandparents’ cabin as decoration. Obviously the pastime was important to him, and I recall the couple decent size nuggets he had to show for his passion.
I wonder if my nuggets will be worth it? What mountains and rivers will my daughter recall as drawing me away or dominating my time? On the other hand, Grandpa took his family along with him at least part of the time… and that means something too.
There was a thought here that didn’t quite come out. I tried. Goodnight.