First, let me admit, I come from a pretty crazy family. Awesome, but crazy people.
I saw Uncle Bob not long ago and he reminded me of this story I’ve heard my dad tell multiple times through the years. Since it’s Kentucky Derby weekend, it’s a good time to bring it up.
Daddy was raised over around Norton, Virginia. Not in Norton proper, but up a holler to the west of town, at the end of a row of little homes, and across from a barn with a pretty good sized horse lot. He was born near the end of the Great Depression, so the family was struggling to get on their feet after that enormous event, and they continued to struggle. Just to put it mildly, money wasn’t something that had currency in this family. (Pun intended).
So, Daddy was sitting on the front porch of their house, when he was nine or ten years old, looking out over the horse lot in front of the barn across the road. As he stared off in that distance, he couldn’t help notice something shining in the field. Being a Wise County, Virginia young’un he wasn’t about to let this pass by without giving it a good investigation. After all, shiny isn’t something you expect coming from a field, especially one in front of a barn. So off he went.
When he got over there, he found the object of this shine was coming from nothing anymore important than your garden variety “horse biscuit.” Now. Do I need to explain that? Some of you aren’t from around here, so let me just say, a “horse biscuit” doesn’t belong on your table. It isn’t a Southern mountain delicacy. It’s the stuff that comes out of a horse’s back end, and while it can be used for fertilizer, it isn’t anything you want to be near most of the time.
But this day was different.
What was causing the gleam from the before-noted equine source? Apparently this horse had a rich appetite, for lo and behold, this meadow biscuit contained several shiny coins, including a quarter, and probably a dime or some nickels. All which, when obtained so freely from so readily available a source, caused dollar signs to appear in the eyes of the beholder, and my Daddy, in this young state of his, spent the rest of the day going from horse biscuit to horse biscuit throughout the neighbor’s field, inspecting each one in the event that another might have even more of this metal treasure contained within.
My Uncle said in his retelling “We spent the rest of the day looking for coins in that field.” Aha! It wasn’t just Daddy. At least one of his brothers was busy with him looking for that money.
So, this weekend, while you’re sipping your mint juleps and watching the horses run around the oval, don’t forget, there’s treasure found in odd places. Well, that’s not advice, just a statement.
Mammaw, pass the applebutter. My biscuit is dry.