The back seat of all our busses, was reserved for two armed guards. Two soldiers with machine guns. Whenever we passed from one country to another, we would change guards. A new pair from the country we were entering would move in. The others get out. These soldiers not only protected our passengers, but also speeded up the process of passing from one country to another.
For instance; You could get on one of our busses in Guatemala and go clear through to Panama without bothering to get visas for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua or Costa Rica. Getting permits from all these countries, took a lot of time. We could never of accomplished this without the help of the Nicaraguan government.
Then Bill Gardner went home and I was all alone in that big house. I got mighty lonesome. Always my mind was drifting back to my family at home. I sure missed my kids. I would dream about them. I wondered about Joe. How was he coming along with the big telescope that Dell and I had bought him. How was his hand? He had blown the fingers off the right one while trying to put some device up into orbit. And sweet, little Sandy. By now, she would be quite grown up..
By now, I felt like everything was under control. We had ticket offices in all the big towns or cities that we passed through and of course, the main one was in Managua. A fellow by the name of Brown, one of the Somoza bunch, was in charge. He also ran the travel agency. We now had plenty of drivers and some to spare. I decided I would go home for a while. I dropped Del a card and got in the station wagon and took off. In about two weeks, I was back in Idaho.
There was some bad news. Dad had passed away a few months ago. But there was good news. I had a good visit with my kids. Also, my many friends. It sure seemed good to get back. Somehow or other, that country down there had lost a lot of its charm.
Brother Bob was now in bad shape. The M.S. had taken it’s toll. In a few years, he would join sister Jennie. He and Mother were living together in the Bollinger place. Ray had bought a half interest in the Bollinger place. And of course, Mother owned a half interest in the whole thing.
I guess Ray planned on owning everything. Somehow or other, he would get it. This is how he got half interest in the Bollinger place. He made a deal with brother Bob. It went something like this. They would look after each other until one of them died. When this happened, the remaining one would take over. It seems like everyone that has this terrible disease never gives up. Right to the last minute, they think that they will get well. Someone will find a cure… And Bob was no different.
I had rented an apartment in Boise. I stayed there for a while, doing nothing but loaf. Then one day, Dell and Shirley come home. Boy was I glad to see them. We had a lot to talk about. They still had their house in Boise. I moved in with them.
I reported to him about the bus business. Then it was his turn. The gold mine had fizzled out. So he had got busy on the plantation. Had staked out several ten acre plots and headed for the states. Armed with a bunch of pictures, he would sell them for winter homes to the rich who liked to go south for the winter. But he had almost got into trouble. Selling land is not like selling shares in a mining claim. He found out… This land would have to be appraised and approved by whatever state it would be sold in. If he didn’t do this, he could end up in jail. So for the moment, everything was at a standstill. For a while we didn’t do anything.
Things were happening in my family. Sandy married her long-time boyfriend, Lynn Bunch. They made a lovely couple. Joe had been sent on a Mormon mission to England.
I guess Dell still had the gold fever. A guy by the name of Frank Shinn, a real estate dealer in Boise, had a mining claim up by the old mining town of Pearl. He had driven a tunnel back into that mountain. Instead of finding quartz, he had run into a mixture of minerals that contained fine free gold. It would not even need to be crushed.
So once again, Del had a machine built for recovering gold. He mounted it at the base of that mountain. There was plenty of water in the creek below. A pump was installed and was piped up to the machine. The top of the hill was covered with overburden. It would have to be removed. He rented a big bulldozer and went to work. Not only would he remove the overburden, but also make a deep cut. This way, he would know exactly what was in that mountain. He and Shirley had bought a trailer and moved it close to where he was working. There was just the two of them there.
Mary and I were once more going together. We were having a ball. We would go up to the mine once in a while and take a look. Somehow or other, I didn’t like the set up. I didn’t want anything to do with it. I had just about had my fill of gold mining. Then one morning, I was still staying at Dell’s house, the telephone rang. It was a friend calling from the hospital in Emmett. He said I had better come over. Dell had been badly hurt and wanted me. In minutes, I was on my way.
Here is what happened. That deep cut across that hillside, had slid in. Covering him and the tractor with dirt and rocks. He had been trapped in there for several hours before Shirley finally found him. She ran for help. His body was badly crushed. I think that almost every bone was broken. Either Shirley or myself was at his bedside until he passed away. That was a couple of days later.
This morning, Aug. 27, 1982, as I sit here alone in my trailer in Prescott, Arizona, I try and put all this down on paper with my typewriter…
There is a lot more I could say, but I must quit for now. My eyes are so blinded with the tears, that I can no longer see.
He was one hell of a man!