Grandpa knows best
by Harmony Hodges
“To the lake!” Cooter said.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming,” Lyle said as he adjusted the oversized backpack. “When was this
thing made? 1954?”
“Oh quit yer complainin,” Cooter said as he took in a deep breath of morning September air.
“I’d carry it, but you’re taller.”
They walked along the path in their boy scout uniforms with the sun gleaming on the badges
they had earned so far.
“Take that map out again,” Cooter said.
“You…mean…the…huge…slice…of tree?” Lyle said as he heaved the pack off of his
shoulders and let it slam to the gravel below.
“It’s only as thick as a dish plate,” Cooter said.
“Yeah, well it feels like a stump.”
Cooter unzipped the pack, took out the slice of tree that Grandpa had drawn on so carefully
yet ever so covertly so no one could tell the tree lines were really the map to a secret treasure.
“The map says twist here. Yes, we did that, around there, yes… but now we’re supposed to
turn here, turn to the right. See Lyle? The treasure, the white dot, is down there,” Cooter said. He
pointed. Lyle looked over the ravine at the thicket of douglas fir and red cedar.
“You’re kidding,” he said, shaking his head. “Got any gorp? There’s none in this pack.”
“I’m not kidding,” Cooter said, incredulous. “We’re almost there, come on.” Lyle, unfazed,
found one of the popcorn balls in the pack that Grandpa had made for the troop.
“Yum,” he said. “Okay, let’s go.” Cooter quickly helped him put the pack on and they took a
step onto the ridge. Pebbles cascaded down the hill.
“See? It’s not too bad, come on!” Cooter said.
They carefully took a few more steps. Dry crunchy tinder snapped under their feet. Lyle
put the last bite of popcorn ball in his mouth when all of a sudden he lost his footing and went
tumbling head first down the hill.
“Lyle!” Cooter shrieked. But Lyle had only tumbled fifty feet and he was safely pressed
against a fallen nurse log. Ants were crawling everywhere.
“Forget it,” Lyle said. “Dumbest idea ever.” He stood up, shook the ants off, and began to
climb back up but Cooter grabbed at him, pulling on the pack.
“You can’t go! We’re so close!” he said.
Lyle turned and said, “I don’t give a flippin frog about that treasure. There is NO treasure.
That map is written on a flippin tree slice! Don’t you know by now Grandpa was foolin us?”
Cooter plopped his bottom down into the dirt. His face turned pale. He was crestfallen, like
when the bath water turns cold.
Lyle, now at the top of the hill and covered in ant bites, whipped off the oversized pack
and threw it down to Cooter. “Take it to the treasure yourself!” he said, scratching frantically.
Cooter tried to catch the pack, but it slipped through his fingers and tumbled even further down
“Nooo…” Cooter screamed. He looked at the back pack then looked up at Lyle - now out of
sight. He looked again at the backpack. He felt a cold shudder as he thought about breaking the
two-person-buddy-rule, so he scampered up the hill and ran to catch up with Lyle.
Meanwhile, the back pack came to a halt in a pine cone filled bramble, but the map fell out. It
rolled even further down the hill like a demented wheel leaving a trail of popcorn dust dancing
in the air. Finally it ricocheted off of a large gray stone and fell over peacefully. The stone,
sitting by itself fifty feet from the lake, had a large capitol letter “T” drawn on it with two fat
I live in Portland Oregon.
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