Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Friday, December 21, 2007

More Gold, Please

"As every thread of gold is valuable, so is every moment of time."
-John Mason

My friend and surrogate grandmother used to take groups of children on adventures and teach them how to pan gold in the Mother Lode country, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Particularly she treated children from Chernobyl to this experience of a lifetime and she got great joy from watching them sift for gold. As reward she would pass out tiny packets of Fool's Gold to the children every time one of them completed a panning task. The gold might have been worthless to anybody else but to these children it was a most amazing treasure.
One little boy was overly active in panning for gold and he returned, it seemed, every few minutes for a new prize of gold. "I have finished again," he would say proudly, and my friend would give him yet another pouch of Fool's Gold.
He did his work so quickly, in fact, that she soon was beginning to run out of gold and she was concerned that the other children might not get any at all.
One last time he returned, and again he asked for gold.
"Morrre gold, please," this small person requested, looking earnestly up at the good-hearted giver of precious metals.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I can't give you any more. There won't be enough for the other children."
"No morrre gold?"
"No, I am very sorry."
There was just a very slight pause, then:
"Morrre gold, please."
"I don't have any more gold for you. You worked hard and got a lot but I don't have any more for you."
By now the boy was looking very confused indeed.
"But I do not underrrstand," he said softly.
"What's that?"
"You have lots of gold. You arrre Grrrandmotherrr Lode!"
That was years ago now but I am certain my friend is still laughing. She was roaring with laughter about it when I saw her last and she told me that story for the umpteenth time. Between the mystery of trimming a Christmas tree, and panning for gold in the Mother Lode, we innocents do keep her happily entertained. And I am glad.

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