As I Remember, Chapter 27

This entry is part 27 of 39 in the series Ted Bio


      It was shortly after this, that Helen and I decided to call it quits. I won’t go into any of the details, this is something that I don’t like to remember. I think that summer working outside taught her something. She decided to find herself a job and go to work. And this she did. She got a job working at the Ore Ida plant in Ontario Oregon. Several other women from this area worked there. They took turns driving. Helen joined up with them. She rented the Fisher place at Letha. Her and Joe and Sandy moved in there. And another thing, Helen quit drinking, also smoking and also started going to church. For this, I was glad and very thankful. I moved over to Boise and rented a small house and began to look around. I must figure out something to do.

      Early that next spring, I went into business for myself. I understood irrigation. I went into the lawn sprinkling business. I had been called many things. But this one, I tacked on to myself. THE RAIN MAKER. I would put in underground sprinkling systems. A lot of them completely automatic. I hired a young fellow with a strong back. I did all the selling and the supervising. We kept mighty busy. And I was making nothing but money.

      That summer I met Mary Bower. A pretty grass widow, who worked at Albertson’s big store at 16th and State. She was a checker. She had three children. A boy and a girl that had just recently married and a young boy about eight years old, Little Johnny. Mary was a great fisherman. Every weekend, we would take off for the mountains. We had lots of fun together.

      Dell had sold his new house in Boise and had built another. It was a nice place on Greenbriar. Dell and Lillian were also having family trouble. It always seemed to me that when you pass forty, this is a very dangerous age. I guess people just sort of get tired of each other. Wonder what it would be like to go to bed with someone else. There is an old saying, Life begins at forty. For sure, a new life for a lot of people. Including myself. I hadn’t wanted it that way but that was the way it turned out.

      Lately, brother Dell had shown a lot of prosperity. He had a big brand new Olds and had bought one for his new girlfriend, Shirley. It seemed like he had money to burn. One day he come to me. “Ted.” he said. “I got something going. And I want to let you in on it. We have always been partners.” Then he told me quite a yarn. There was supposed to be a ton of gold floating around somewhere. And it could be bought for about twenty dollars an ounce. Leaving a net profit of twelve dollars an ounce. I had heard this story many times. It was supposedly stolen gold. A lot of people were looking for it. A ton of gold was worth a lot of money. Even at thirty two and ounce, it was worth around a million dollars. I asked Dell. “And have you located the ton of gold?” He grinned and shook his head. “No, I haven’t located it yet. But I have been running down a lot of leads. I got some guys that will put up the money to buy it. After I get it located.” Then he went on. “I have followed every lead that I have heard of. I have been from Butte Montana, all of Idaho, Nevada and Utah. I haven’t located it yet but I did find something else.” “And what was that?” He grinned. “I found a couple of guys that have some gold for sale. It is a heavy concentrate mixed with other heavy material. These guys have very important positions in one of the big refineries and don’t want to sell it themselves.” His grin got bigger. “They say they might be accused of stealing it.” I laughed. “And how much have you got rid of already?” “About twenty thousand dollars worth. I get half.” Now I understood all this recent prosperity. “How much of it have they got left?” “I don’t know. They only give me so much at a time. They let me have it on consignment. But they say there is plenty more.” “And why are you telling me all this?” I asked. Then Dell told me his plan. “Gold is gold. And can only be traced by the impurities in it. This that they consign to me, can be traced back to where it come from by the other elements in the concentrate.” “So what do you do about that?” “Pan it down to where there is mostly gold left. Then mix in some black sand that is entirely different. Then it can’t be traced.” “Why are you telling me all this?” “Because.” he said. “To play it safe, I got to have a mine. A place that it could of come from. Make it sound real legal. Also pay income on the stuff. I don’t want to get the government after me. All you got to do, is oversee the mine and work it a bit. Pan the gold, get rid of most of the concentrate and add the new. I will do the rest. We split the profit. Do you want in?” Well right now, I think I have said enough about this. For most of the rest of this story, you can use your imagination. You will probably come up the right conclusions. Anyhow, for the next few years, I made quite a lot of money. I added a new title to my company, The Bench Dredge and Sprinkler Co. I took Dell in as a full partner.

      All of that upper Boise bench, was up for bids to install an underground sewer system. M.K. Co. Put in all the main lines. We did most of the hook-ups. We were real busy. Then Dell and Lillian got a divorce. Shortly after, Dell and Shirley were married. Now there was one sweet gal. One in a million, that is for sure.

      In the spring of 1960, we finished putting the sewer. Then Dell got a wild brainstorm and got in his car and headed for Central America. And didn’t stop until he was in the city of Managua Nicaragua. He was gone for over a month. Mary and I were still going together. She didn’t like standing behind a check stand all day and wanted something of her own. So after her trying a few other things, I built her a child care center just out of Vista. Also I painted her house real pretty. Then Dell come back from south of the border. Yes, about four thousand miles south. He had quite a story to tell. I will cut it as short as I can. It went like this”

      The new Pan American Highway, was just being completed through those Central American countries. A car could now be driven clear through to Panama. Since the beginning of our American history, those countries were noted for having lots of gold. The Spaniards had sent boat loads of it back to Spain. And now for the first time in history, these countries were being opened up to the machine age. Time for the gold dredge to go in. Those natives had only used gold pans and sluice boxes. Most of the gold was still for the taking.

      Dell was never one to start at the bottom. He went right to the Presidential Palace in Managua Nicaragua. To the Somoza family themselves. He told them he would like to bring down a gold dredge. They took him in like a long, lost brother. He was like one of the family.

      “The deal is all set up.” Del said. “You fly down there and find a good spot to set up a small dredge. I will have one built.” Then he grinned. “It will take a lot of money to get going. I will raise what I can.” So we would both be busy. I got a bottle of nerve tonic, got on a plane and took off. I was gone about six weeks. Six memorable weeks. But I had found a spot to set up the small suction dredge. I reported to Dell what I had found. He was all smiles. We bought a new motor home. A Sport King. A beautiful job mounted on a Chevy truck chassis. Down there, we would be the King of Sports. We called it, The Palace. Then we made more plans. We would find someone to go with me, and I would drive it down there. This would assure me of a nice place to live while I was south of the border. When the dredge was completed, Dell would come down and join me. It was being built in Portland Oregon. From there, it would be brought down by a steam ship line. Mary wanted to go along. She liked the pretty new motor home, and she loved to travel. She told me. “Take me with you. I can do all the cooking.” I didn’t think she would be happy down there. I told her no. “You give me something to work with, then pull out. If you really cared for me, you would take me along.” I should of known by now, pretty women don’t like to be left alone. I told her, if everything went well, I would either send for her or come and get her. I thought that it was for the best. We found a guy that wanted to go down with me. A young fellow from Nampa. His name was Chuck Saltz. We got all our medical shots, our passports and we were on our way.

      Several months later, when I returned home for a visit, I wrote my first story. I called it, THEY ALWAYS SMILE. I had kept a diary. From this, I wrote the story. I changed our names from Dewey to Parker. Mary to Maria. And our residence from Boise to Reno Nevada. I was advised to do this by an attorney. “You would be sticking your neck out.” he said. “If you don’t do this, you might get the thing published. You would be leaving yourself wide open.” I took his advice. At that time, I didn’t know one key from another on a typewriter. I got a professional typist to put the thing on paper. I never tried to get it published. Every once in a while, I dig out a copy and read it. It sure brings back a lot of memories. So basically, the story is all true. Taken from my diary. So that part of my life down there, I will not write about. I have already done that. Maybe in places, I did flower it up a bit. And in others, I toned it down. But the story itself, is true. So if you happen to have a copy of the yarn, it would fit right in here.

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