Davey and I slept in and woke up by Billy tickling our feet. Davey and I tickled his feet until he wiggled out from under the covers.
I made the boys bacon and eggs for breakfast. John stopped by with the lawn tractor and asked if I was able to get those things for him yesterday. Davey finished his breakfast first so I asked him to get the things out of the camper for John. Billy helped me wash the breakfast dishes. Davey came back to ask if it was okay to help John around the resort. I told him that Billy and I will take the camper down to the cabin and he could catch up with us down there for lunch. Davey gave me a hug and ran out the door.
I piggybacked Billy down to the camper and drove it to the lane. We changed into our coveralls and headed up to get the tractor. I wanted to widen the entrance so I could back the camper off the resort road. Billy sat on my lap to help work the controls as we dug into the side of the mountain. We parked the camper in the lane, drove the tractor up to the cabin, and started clearing the brush around the cabin.
Davey and John rode up the lane on the lawn tractor and said it was time for lunch. We piled into the trailer and Davey drove us down the lane to the camper. I asked John if he needed any dirt to fill in any areas around the resort. He said there were a few low areas where water pools after a rain. I told him that I wanted to widen the whole lane up to the cabin and he was welcome to as much dirt as he wanted.
After lunch, we filled the trailer with dirt using the backhoe part of the tractor. Davey and John drove it up to the resort. They spent the entire afternoon driving up and down the resort road bringing dirt up to the resort. Billy and I clear most of the brush around the cabin. We transplanted the trees we kept from the lane by dinnertime. The boys and I decided to go for a swim before dinner.
John came up to the pool and called me to the side.
"Betty called and said Diane was drained from the chemo. Her friends had to head back to Prince Rupert so Betty will stay with Diane at her friend's house. They will do a follow-up visit with the doctor Monday morning and then head back here by suppertime. Diane will call you tonight around 10 pm."
"Thanks for the update, John. Would you like to join me and the boys for dinner?"
"Sure, can you cook?" John chuckled.
After dinner, the four of us watched one of Davey's DVDs that was given to him in Banff. The boys hugged John after the movie as he stood up to leave.
Diane called after the movie and spoke to each boy. She listened to them tell about all the work they did on the cabin and what they planned to do tomorrow. When it was my turn, I took the cordless phone outside. She sounded weak from the chemo. I told her how much I loved her and how I think about her all the time. She told me that she went to the lawyer's office and signed the papers for me to adopt Billy and give him my last name. She said the lawyer would bring them to the courthouse on Monday. She said the lawyer would courier the final papers to the resort on Thursday, just in time for Davey's birthday.
When I came back in, Davey was at his laptop to upload the pictures from his camera. Billy wanted to play fight with me on the couch.
After Billy finally wore himself out, I went to set out some milk and cookies for the boys before they headed off to bed. Davey asked me if he could make me a drink. He giggled and promised not to make it as strong as the first one. I tucked the boys into bed after they brushed their teeth. I told them I wanted to stay up for a little while. Davey looked worried and asked me if I was okay. I gave him an extra warm hug. I told him I was feeling good and thanked him for worrying. I kissed each boy's forehead, told them I loved them and said I would come to bed in a little while.
I went downstairs and sat on the veranda with the drink Davey made for me. It was another clear night with all the stars out. My thoughts were with Diane. I have sought to find someone that would love and accept me for me; someone that would look at the true me on the inside and want to get to know that person. Diane is so wonderful. She is so sweet, caring and compassionate. She makes me feel so special just by looking into my eyes. I am so thankful that I found her and so grateful that she is my wife. Even though we are apart right now, when I close my eyes, I can still feel her love.
I finally stood up and went inside. I had a quick shower and then crawled into bed.
The next morning, after our morning playtime and breakfast, we headed to the camper. We drove down to the lane to the cabin. Billy took his gardening tools up to the cabin. He wanted to clean up the area around the stone hot tub. He raked all the leaves and pine needles away from the base of the tub. He then skimmed off the leaves floating in the tub.
Davey took his tools into the cabin. He wanted to start in the kitchen. He started by sweeping the floor. Then he carefully took off all the cupboard doors. He laid them out on the floor. He took each door outside along with the battery sander and carefully removed only the weather-beaten layer.
I took the tractor and began widening the laneway. There was good topsoil, so I piled it off to the side of the cabin. I was sure we could use most of it for a lawn and gardens around the property.
By lunchtime, Billy had the hot tub area cleared, Davey had all the cabinet doors off and sanded and I had the lane widened from top to bottom. John came driving up the lane. He brought us sandwiches and juice for lunch. We ate around the hot tub and admired the great job Billy had done. Billy asked if we could eventually build a wooden platform around the tub. We thought that was a great idea.
Davey took us into the kitchen after lunch to show us the cabinet doors. John suggested a clear varnish to protect the freshly sanded wood. He had some up at the workshop. Davey rode up with John on the tractor to get the varnish. Billy and I started on clearing the area right up against the cabin. John helped Davey varnish the cabinet doors.
I carefully drove the camper up and parked it next to the cabin. We placed the newly varnish doors in the storage areas under the camper. We rode back up to the resort cabin with John in the trailer on the back of the little tractor. John invited us for supper in the lodge. We went to the cabin to change and wash up.
As we walked through the resort for dinner, I could not help but notice that there were not a lot of tourists around for a mid-summer Saturday night. During dinner, John told us that the resort is not drawing the tourists like it used to because the hot springs are not as popular as they were in the past. The Banff Springs are more well known. The springs up here only catered to the people in Edmonton. He said that selling me the cabin would help them keep the resort open for one more year. After that, he will have to downsize and maybe sell a few of the smaller cabins if more tourists did not come back.
As the boys and I walked back to the cabin, I tried to think of ways to bring new life into the resort. With Diane's condition, the boys and restoring the cabin, my emotional and financial resources were at my upper limit. I decided that bringing new life into the resort would have to be a winter project.
Davey went to his laptop to work his pictures. Billy pulled up a chair to watch his big brother. I went to my laptop to check my e-mails.
"Daddy, can we go for a swim before bed?" Billy asked.
"That sounds like a good idea but no skinny dipping." I chuckled at Davey.
"How did you know I was going to ask you that?" He laughed
We changed into our swimsuits and headed for the pool. I tickled the boys and threw them around for about an hour. Then they decided to float around on a couple of pool toys. I relaxed on the lawn chair. A few minutes later, I noticed that the boys were asleep on their floating toys. Billy was the closest to the edge so I decided to tickle his feet first to wake him up. We each tickled one of Davey's feet. Davey wiggled around so much that he slipped off the toy and into the pool. Billy rolled around on the pool's edge laughing at Davey. Davey grabbed him and pulled him back into the pool. I told the boys it was time to head back to the cabin and get ready for bed.
As the boys changed out of their swimsuits, I set out the milk and cookies. As they sat down, I went to change out of my swim trunks. I came back to the table and Davey had made me another drink like last night. I decided to go to bed at the same time as the boys.
I woke up first and decided to tickle wake up Billy first. I lightly wiggle my fingers along his belly until he giggled himself awake. I told him to go quietly on the other side of Davey. I raised both of Davey's arms and let Billy lightly tickle Davey's armpits. Davey tried to pretend he was still asleep until I joined in and tickled his armpits at the same time. Then he roared with laughter.
During breakfast, I asked the boys if they wanted to go on a treasure hunt. They both eagerly said they would. I told them I had a metal detector in the camper. I thought it would be fun to see if we could find any buried treasure up at the old cabin. I had not dug up the land surrounding the cabin with the tractor so I figured we might find some metal objects there.
The boys met John in front of the lodge and told him that they were going treasure hunting up at the cabin. John wished them luck and said he would join us up there in a couple of hours.
I asked Billy to get out his gardening tools to dig up all the treasure we were going to find. I showed the boys how to use the metal detector. I told Davey to go first. When he found something, Billy would dig it up. Then Billy would use the detector and he would dig up what Billy finds. Davey found some iron pellets that might have been used in an old musket and a ring. Billy found some old tool heads and a small gold chain. Both boys found a few old coins.
We took a break for lunch in the camper. When John came in, the boys showed him all the treasures that they dug up. John suggested the boys get a bucket and using the mineral water from the hot spring to clean up the treasures. I told them they could use the soft scrubbing brush under the sink and some dish soap.
After lunch, the boys went back to treasure hunting while John and I sat in the camper and talked. About an hour later, Billy came running into the camper.
"Daddy, Grandpa John come quick and sees what we found," Billy said very excitedly.
We went to the back of the cabin and found Davey digging in a deep hole.
"Look, Daddy, it looks like a door that leads under the cabin," Davey said as he dug as fast as he could. John and I were both stunned.
We thought the cabin did not have a basement. Over the years, the rain and spring melting must have washed the soil into the hole that went under the house. The boys found the top of the metal door. Billy jumped in and helped Davey dig. Halfway down the door, they found an old padlock. Davey jumped up and ran into the cabin. He came back with a few old keys that he found while exploring the cabin the first time. The lock was pretty rusted. John said he had some heavy-duty penetrating oil back at the resort. Davey went with him.
Billy and I used some of the hot spring water to clean the lock and remover the dirt as best we could. I went into the camper and grabbed the compressed air can that I use to blow the dirt from the computer keyboards. Billy blew the dirt from inside the padlock. I used the backhoe bucket to finish digging out the rest of the dirt in from of the door while we waited for John and Davey to get back. There were stone steps leading to the door so I shovelled them clear by hand. Billy used a rake and the metal detector on the dirt piles I scooped out.
It took some time but we were all surprised that the penetrating oil actually worked on a lock that had probably not been opened in over 75 years. Billy ran and grabbed the spotlight from the camper.
"This is really like Indiana John entering a tomb, eh Daddy?"
"It sure is Davey."
There were a few more steps leading deeper under the cabin. I stood on the bottom step while the boys and John stood behind me. I shone the flood light around. It looked like a cold storage area with shelves and dozens of old glass preserving jars. There were some hurricane lanterns hanging and John lit the ones that still had oil in them. In the far corner, there were some old books on one of the shelves. There was even an old saddlebag with papers inside beside the books.
Billy grabbed one of the jars to look at it. I told him that the stuff inside had definitely gone bad and not to open it in the room because it probably smelt bad. He asked if he could open it outside. I told him he could but not to try tasting it. Davey came down with the metal detector and started exploring. We heard glass break outside to I ran to see if Billy cut himself.
"I'm Sorry Daddy, when I opened it, it smelt like rotten eggs and I accidentally dropped it."
"I'm not worried about the jar, Son, did you cut yourself?"
"No, I'm okay, Daddy."
As we looked at the broken glass, Billy noticed some shiny coins that were mixed with the preserves in the jar. There were a few silver, copper and even gold coins. We dumped some water on them before we picked them up. I called for John.
"I'm not sure, Doug but I think these are real gold, silver and copper coins."
"Like I said, I'm not sure but I think so."
"Billy, bring me a shovel quick," Davey yelled from the basement.
John and I watched Billy dig up what looked like an old metal strong box. I was too heavy for the boys to lift so John and I carried outside. John uses some of the penetrating oil on the lock and Davey tried another one of the keys he found. It was filled with copper coins just as Billy discovered hidden in the jar.
"I have three more keys, I wonder if there are three more boxes like this one buried under there?" Davey said.
The boys ran back down. Billy asked if he could use the detector neck. Davey said 'sure.' John and I just sat and stared at the copper coins. A few minutes later, the boys yelled that they found another strong box. We opened it and found it full of more silver coins. Since the last two boxes were found in the far corners, Davey took the detector and look in the corner beside the entrance. Sure enough, he found the third box. It was a lot lighter than the last two. We thought it might be empty. When we opened it, we found it filled with old bills in every denomination: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100-dollar bills. Billy did not bother with the detector. He just started digging in the last corner and, sure enough, he found the last box with the gold coins in it.
The boys jumped around and yelled that we are rich. John and I just looked at each other in total shock and disbelief.
"Half of this belongs to you, John," I said to him.
"No Doug, you bought the property. It belongs to you, Diane and the boys."
"Well if that's the case, we can give you half." I winked and chuckled.
"That's very kind, Doug but I would not feel right accepting it."
"Then would you feel right if I used some of this to buy into the resort and part owner?" I winked.
"Why would you want to buy into the resort? I told you that business has been dropping off. It would be like buying into a white elephant."
"John, you've gotten to know me. I am impulsive. I go on my gut feelings. My gut feelings tell me that we can bring back the tourists to the resort now that we have the capital to do it."
"Well, I'll talk it over with Betty."
"Okay. Now, what are we going to do with all these boxes right now? I don't feel safe leaving them up here." I said in a worried tone.
"Let's hide them in the camper and drive the camper back to the cabin. Grandpa John, could we park the camper beside our cabin to keep the boxes extra safe?" Davey suggested.
"Well…since your daddy is almost part owner in the resort I guess he can part the camper anywhere he wants." John chuckled.
"Boys, you cannot tell anyone what we found here today, until we figure out what to do with the bills and coins. We don't want anyone to steal it from us." The boys agreed to keep it a secret.
The sun was just starting to set over the mountain. I let the boys take one coin from each box to look at and play with. I gave John a few from each box and I took a few. We locked up the boxes and put them in the camper. I put the boxes under the queen size bed in the back of the camper. I redesigned the underneath of the bed so there was a hidden center section in the middle. We blew out the lanterns, locked the door to the basement of the cabin and I parked the tractor over the stairs to the door for added security.
After we parted the camper beside the resort cabin like Davey suggested, we went inside. Davey went straight to his laptop to see if he could find rare coins on the Internet. Billy sat beside him. John and I just sat down and wondered what to do next.
"There is an old antique dealer in Jasper, maybe we should see him tomorrow or invite him up here," John suggested.
"Can he be trusted?" I asked
"Hank was an active member of my church for years. He knows all the rumours and legends of Jasper Park. We do not have to tell him we found four boxes. We can just show him a few to see if he knows anything about the coins."
"That sounds like a good starting point."
"Good, I'll call him now"
I reminded the boys not to tell about the boxes. For now, we will only say we found a few coins just to see how much they are worth but we will not tell anyone exactly where we found them. The boys agreed.
"Hank is on his way, he'll be here in about an hour. I told him I would meet him at the lodge."
We decided to cook the frozen pizza while John told us about Hank. He was 85 years old and lived in Jasper all his life. Hank was the third generation in his family raised in the park. His great-grandparents came west just after they were married. His grandfather and his father were also born in Jasper. His wife died a couple of years ago. He is happy running his little antique shop in town and telling stories of the park to anyone that is interested. It was remarkable how accurate and detailed his memory was.
After we ate, we met Hank at the lodge. He was carrying a couple of coin books under his arm. Billy started tugging on my arm and pointing to the cover of one of the books. It was a picture of the gold coin. I nodded but put my finger to my lips to tell him not to say anything. We sat around a table and the boys took out their coins. Billy made a point to ask Hank if the coin in his hand was the same as the one on the cover. Hank was impressed at Billy's quick observation.
Hank told us about an old hermit trapper named Ted Baker that lived in the mountains around Jasper around the turn of the 19th century. No one knew exactly where Ted lived. He would come into town about every three months trade a couple of furs and buy some supplies. He would pay for them with either one of these gold coins or a couple of copper or silver coins. He never said where he found them. He never really talked to anyone at all while he was in town. He just picked up his supplies, ate dinner at the diner, had a couple of drinks at the saloon and then wandered off into the night. A few curious people tried to follow Ted be he disappeared about 15 miles west of Jasper.
The last couple of years, Ted would buy a lot of building supplies like lumber and windows and haul them away on a wagon. Hank says the last time he remembers seeing old Ted was when he was a young boy around 1930.
After Ted stopped coming into town, there was a story about these gold coins that came out of Vancouver. In the early 1800s, there was an extremely wealthy family. They sold all their possessions, boarded a ship and headed to Alaska. The ship ran aground in a storm somewhere near Prince Rupert. The family died and no gold was found in the shipwreck. When people heard that a few gold coins were circulating around in Jasper, people started coming to the town by wagon trains. The hotel was full and people were camping on the outside of town. They knew old Ted headed west out of town. Therefore, people searched the mountains west of Jasper to as far as Prince George and Prince Rupert. No one ever found old Ted, his cabin or the gold coins. Eventually, people in the town figured old Ted just stumbled on a few gold coins. After all, Ted dressed in old tattered clothes and looked like a drifter. It remains a mystery to this day, as to what happened to the family's main wealth.
"What would happen if the family's wealth was ever found?" John asked casually.
"Oh, I don't know. There would probably be a media circus where ever the coins turned up but it would die down after a while." Hank chuckled.
"Would the person have to give up the coins to living relatives?" John continued
"Nope, the family did not pass on any living relatives so whoever found the coins could keep them or sell them and become extremely wealthy themselves."
"How much is that coin worth?" Billy asked
"It's worth quite a bit, Billy. You see it is a large coin and made out of solid gold. In addition, the legend of the coin increases its value. Collectors have paid $15,000 on average for a single coin. You have a very valuable coin there Billy," Hank said.
We all were stunned. Even John did not know what to say, and the boys were speechless.
"Hank, can you keep a secret?" I finally asked. The boys gasped. John smiled and nodded.
"Let me guess, you found old Ted's cabin and the treasure." He chuckled.
"As a matter of fact, we did just today," I said.
"You're kidding, where?"
"It's up on the mountain, on the left side of the resort road," I said.
"I know that old cabin you are talking about. I explored there many times as a young man. Never found any treasure. Besides, old Ted headed west, not east out of Jasper." Hank said
"Hank, if you were sitting on a huge amount of gold coins, would you lead people directly to your home?" John laughed
"I guess you're right. Old Ted headed west in the night and then double back through the mountains. Where was it hidden up at that cabin?"
"Buried in the basement," Billy piped up with excitement not that the secret was out.
"I never knew there was a basement in that old cabin," Hank said.
"Neither did us, until we started exploring around today with a metal detector," Davey said.
The boys told Hank the whole story about how they found the cabin and I bought it from John. Billy started telling about the metal detecting this morning and showed Hank the coins and jewelry they found. Davey told Hank about the steel door buried at the back of the cabin. That was how they found the basement. Billy said how he accidentally dropped a jar and broke it. He said they found a few coins mixed in with the bad fruit. Davey told how he used the detector to find the first strongbox full of copper coins. He pulled a copper coin out of his pocket to hand Hank. Billy said he found the box with silver coins. Davey found the box with old bills and Billy found the box with the gold coins. Hank asked where the boxes are now. The boys looked at me and asked if it was okay to tell about the camper. I nodded. They said the boxes are hidden in the camper next to our cabin. They asked Hank if he wanted to go see.
As we walked to the cabin, I asked Hank what we should do with the treasure we found. I explained that I did not really want to be apart of a media circus. I told him that I wanted to relocate here and help John build the resort. I did not want people coming up to the cabin at all times of the day and night as we restore it and after we move in. Hank understood completely. He shared with us how the famous gold rushes disrupted the local residents. He said he knew a coin dealer that could quietly sell the coins. He advised us to sell the coins gradually so as not to arouse much curiosity. He said we could do it much like old Ted did.
Hank's suggestion main a lot of sense. At $15,000 per gold coin, we could sell a few dozen each year. We would be financially set for life. The boys could continue to sell them when they were adults.
Hank pointed out that, if there is a huge amount of coins, the collector's value might go down as the market becomes saturated with the coins. We would not lose the gold value because gold we always be a strong and secure commodity.
When we showed Hank the four large strong boxes, he was shocked at the size of them. He was even more shocked to find them completely full of coins. He said we could easily sell a few coins at a time and sell the whole lots next year if we wanted too. He asked if we knew how many coins were in each box. I told him we just put them in the camper without counting them because it started to get dark outside.
Hank estimated that there must be at least 5,000 coins in each box. That would work out to 75 MILLION DOLLARS just in gold coins. The commodity price for Silver is roughly twice the price of Gold. The commodity price for Copper is roughly half the price of Gold. A rough estimate for the three coin boxes works out to $262.5 MILLION DOLLARS!
John joked that we wished he were still a minister. His next sermon would be directed at me on the topic of tithing. Hank and I laughed.
I took out five coins from each box and handed them to Hank. I did the same for John. They asked me why I gave them the coins. I told them to consider them a 'Thank You' gift for their advice, support and encouragement. Hank said that there was over $260,000 in his hand. He tried to hand them back saying he could not accept it. John tried to say the same thing. I turned to both of them and said that I insist that they keep the coins. The boys agreed with me. I told John and Hank that it was three against two and majority rules.
We locked up the boxes, hid them back under the bed and went outside. The boys started to yawn. John looked at his watch and realized it was past midnight. I told Hank that he insisted he spends the night with him in the main lodge. The boys also wanted him to stay so they could show him the cabin tomorrow morning. Hank agreed to spend the night. The boys hugged the men and I shook their hands. We agreed to meet for breakfast in the lodge at 9:30 am.
The boys had a quick shower. After my inspection, they had their evening milk and cookies while I had my shower. Davey made my evening drink while I was cleaning up. We finished our evening treats and went to bed.
$262,500,000.00 - Not bad for a day's work. Won't Diane and Betty be surprised when they get home? At least now Doug can afford whatever treatments Diane might need. Old Ted seemed like quite a character. I wonder if there are any more surprises in or around the cabin.
I hope Diane gets some of her energy back and can be 'normal' for Davey's Birthday. It is going to be very emotional when she has to tell the boys about her condition. I think we all better go stock up in the tissues, or maybe a beach towel or two would work.
Keep reading and enjoy.
Well, now that was a big surprise the rustic old cabin turned out to be a real treasure. :) I loved the way the new family and friends pitched in and got the work done and continued to bond and strengthen their family ties.
I also hope that Diane can recover for Davey's Birthday.
Where is the next chapter?
The Story Lover