Jebediah Cremp and his best friend Billy head to Boy Scout Island for a night of camping. However, the camping trip quickly turns into a treasure trove of adventure.
“Do you see what I do, Jeb?” Billy asked, excitedly.
Earlier that day, Billy and I had decided to spend the night at Boy Scout Island, one of our favorite places to camp. We left my house that afternoon, starting on our two hour hike through the woods. We were pretty near half way there, just past Mr. Isaacson’s dairy farm, when we saw it.
We were in the deepest and oldest part of the woods with big old oak trees towering above us, blocking out the sunshine. It was here that something caught Billy’s eye and he stopped dead in his tracks, so fast that I ran right smack dab into him! Being as how we were both a bit top heavy with our big hiking packs and all, we toppled over and there we lay on our backs like a couple of turtles, with our legs beating the air.
Back on our feet, Billy pointed out what looked like a couple old buildings that were covered in vines. Had it not been for a big old oak tree holding one of them up, it sure as anything would’ve fallen over like an old hound dog sittin’ on its hind legs.
Laying our heavy packs aside, we crept closer to the buildings. It was a boy’s dream to find an old deserted building site and explore it.
“How old do you think these are?” questioned Billy.
“Must’ve been sittin’ here a looong time,” I said, adding “look, all the windows are knocked out and the roof has big holes in it!”
We started exploring everything. It was great! Until — Billy fell through the ground! Well at least that’s what it looked like. We were just walking around the building and VOMPF, he fell into the ground up to his armpits!
“Ahhhhh, help Jeb, help me!” he yelled. He sounded just like his little brother Jake does sometimes when he gets scared.
I grabbed hold of him and pulled with all my might and out he popped. It’s a good thing I had been helping Dad cut fire wood lately, otherwise I’m not sure I woulda’ been strong enough.
We sat there a minute or two, sorta laughin’ and sorta scared. What if it had been deeper? What if it had been filled with water or even worse snakes!?
Well, it wasn’t, and when we went over to investigate, we discovered Billy had fallen through some type of cellar door that had been covered up by years of leaves, sticks, and dirt. We always carry our army shovels and pick axes on our belts, and we sure did need them this time. Let me tell you, it took awhile to clear off all that junk and bust up that old door.
Next we grabbed our flashlights and rope and for the first time in a coon’s age, well, maybe three coon’s ages, we lit up that old cellar with the bright white beams from our flashlights. Now we could see it was some sort of shelter and it looked like it was chock-full of things. Tying our rope around a big tree we let ourselves down into the shelter, making sure we were going to be able to get back out. It was cold and damp and smelled like my grandma’s cellar, but it was amazing! As our flashlights lit up the room, we could see all sorts of stuff— canned food, clothing, some type of masks with like two cans on each side. The stuff was old, but sorta brand new because it was all still in its packaging.
Way in back tucked into a corner, we found a metal box. We struggled to open it using our picks and all our might until—-SNAP! The lid popped up so suddenly we both flat fell down on top of it…kinda like when you’re playin’ tug of war with your big brother and he lets go of the rope. WUMF! You’re down! Well, when we got back on our feet we shined our flashlights down at the box and just stood there and stared! I’ll bet our faces looked the same as when we saw Johnny Simms kiss Andrea Tuttle behind the school last year. We had to rub our eyes to believe what we were seeing. There, right before our very eyes, was scads of money—about half coins and the rest packages of paper bills. It was more money than I’d ever seen in my whole life, I can tell you that!
“Wowzers, Jeb,” yelled Billy, “You think it’s real?”
There was no doubt in my mind! Already my brain was spinning—racing in circles—thinking of all the cool stuff I could buy. It was like when you open your birthday cards and the money falls out of them; although my mind was racing around things even bigger and better because there was more money in this box than in 100 birthday cards!
Then Billy asked me a question that stopped my dreamin’ and actually startled me.
“Whose do you think it is?”
Why did he have to go and ask that question? I was having so much fun dreaming and now I had to face the reality that this wasn’t our money. No, sir’ee. We had only found it. I remembered the time my older brother, Ronnie, found a wallet under the bleachers at a football game. It was full of money and plastic cards. I heard a couple of his buddies tell him to keep the money, but he knew better. He showed it to Mom and Dad and they suggested he give it to the game announcers. Turns out Mr. Jeffreys, the grocer, had lost it and was mighty grateful for having it returned.
“What are we gonna do, Billy?” I asked.
We talked about that and decided that we would just set up camp out here at the old building site for the night and head back into town come morning to tell our parents about our discovery.
The best thing to do, we decided, was to bury the box for now; so we became pirates burying our treasure. We even used a stick from our campfire that was black on the end and drew a map on a piece of fabric we found in the cellar. Pirates! With our own treasure map!
Late that night, lying by the fire, we were making up stories about who used to live here and what they were gonna’ do with all the money and stuff in the cellar. Billy made up a whopper of a story about a gang of thugs who used this as their hideout, stashin’ their thievin’ money down in the cellar and how every once in a while, late at night when nobody was awake and the moon was full, they’d come back to check on their loot. I looked up in the sky and wouldn’t you know it, YEP, a full moon! Gulp! Between you and me, it was too scary being that we were all alone. So, I had to think of something else to do.
“Maybe we should just be quiet for awhile and listen to God’s radio.”
“Dad always says that being quiet and listenin’ to nature is like listenin’ to God’s radio.”
We were quiet for a few minutes and could hear the fire cracklin’, crickets chirpin’, a bull frog croakin’, and an owl and a coyote hootin’ and howlin’ off in the distance. Billy couldn’t keep quiet very long though, which is why he was always getting his name on the board in school.
We must have drifted off to sleep because all of a sudden it was morning. We were in such a hurry to get goin’ that we skipped breakfast and packed up everything. We’d never be in such a hurry that we’d leave a fire burnin’ though, so we spread out the ashes and used up our water dousin’ them.
We left the treasure safely buried, and with the treasure map tucked safely in my shirt pocket, headed back to town.
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