Across the road from my grandmother’s house, way back inside the woods, stood the remains of someone else’s grandmothers house.

My cousin Duane and I spent several days searching through the old place, the summer after my sixth grade year. We gathered jars and bottle caps and license plates. We never considered the possibility that the whole place could collapse, which it did before we returned the following Thanksgiving. We also were unafraid of the well and what was left of the windmill tower.

Every part of the old house and yard was searched. We checked kitchen cabinets and hall closets, crawled under sagging porches, dug holes, went up a tree in the side yard and got inside an attic vent, and pulled bricks from inside the crumbling chimney.

What we wanted, was some kind of treasure, like old coins or secret letters or arrowheads and old army helmets. That’s what treasure meant to us then.

Later on, he became a marine and I joined the fire department. Thats what happens to boys who read too many Arthur Conan Doyle books and wait too long to learn about doubt.

Doubt is it’s own teacher. So many things I was certain of then, seem cloudy and complicated thirty something years later.


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