File Under T for Treasure

Today’s guest post comes from Anna.

My father was a saver of paper and a filer of almost anything that could fit into a manila folder: tax documents, old report cards, receipts for car repairs, meeting minutes for committees that may have disbanded by the time the paper was in a file. I shudder a bit at how much paper I might find when it come times to clean out the house – though the task will be made somewhat easier knowing that each sheet will be in a properly labeled folder and filed alphabetically. Among all of these papers and files, my mother recently found a file that was, I’m sure, labeled “Vacations.” In it there was treasure: handwritten and typed letters from the owners of Castle Creek Camp in South Dakota.


Castle Creek was a former gold mining camp, nestled in the Black Hills outside of Hill City. The “unmodern” cabins (as one letter describes) rented for as little as $7 per day or $40 for the week, linens and dishes included, running water in or nearby the cabins, “modern” shower facilities were separate and there were outhouses for, well, outhousing. At least some of the cabins may well have been original to the place when it was a mining camp and they came with names like “Linger Long” (our cabin of choice) and “Tumble Inn.” The eponymous Castle Creek meandered through the camp and one letter shares that, “panning for gold is a lot of fun and we even find some once in a while” (shoes recommended as there are sharp rocks in the creek).

castlecreek (1)

Our family vacationed at Castle Creek for several summers, going back each year to Linger Long. Along with the creek, where gold might be found, treasure could be had when you heard the whistle of the 1880 Train. Part of the train’s track ran along the far edge of the camp. When the train whistle blew, any kids in camp learned to stop what they were doing and run to the tracks and wait: the man in the caboose kept Tootsie Rolls with him and would throw them out to us by the fistful. A handful of Tootsie Rolls went nicely with an ice cold Orange Crush procured for a nickel from the pop machine that lived by the owner’s house. The machine was one of those red, rounded corner affairs that held a single row of glass bottles behind a tall slim door: open the door, put in your nickel to unlock the options and pull on the neck to free the bright orange, sweet goodness of a Crush.


The other attraction, at least for me, was the resident donkey, Goldie. She had run of the place and roamed more freely than even the owner’s family dog. Goldie would come visit me in the mornings and eat sugar cubes out of my hand while I sat on the porch railing at our cabin. Since I wasn’t quite big enough to keep up with my brother and the owner’s two boys (nor did I have much in common with them – a red, white and blue guitar “just like Buck Owens” was not really a draw for me), Goldie was my friend at Castle Creek; my gentle, big eared companion. I looked forward to seeing her each summer as much as my brother looked forward to adventures with the boys.

Remember that 1880 Train? It did one other thing. It ran into Goldie. The last year we went to Castle Creek we found out that Goldie had been killed, run into by the train, while she was trying to get her foal off the tracks. I befriended the foal as well, but she wasn’t quite Goldie – in it for the sugar, not the companionship. Castle Creek wasn’t quite the same for me without Goldie. The Orange Crush was still cold, the Tootsie Rolls still flew out of the caboose, but I didn’t have Goldie. She was my real treasure at the mining camp. Treasure remembered and rediscovered again with a map provided in a letter saved by my father.

What treasure would you mark with a map?

43 thoughts on “File Under T for Treasure”

  1. Schmaltzy answer surely expected from me. My treasure is asleep in her bed right now. I’m”up north” and will be off trail today. Everybody have a great day 😊. Wonderful piece Anna.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. First thing that comes to mind is the treasure I just left behind in Colorado. In 1967-68 I lived in a small log cabin at the foot of Mt Elbert near Leadville. I was teaching second grade in the school twenty-five miles away. The cabin was one of several available to rent during the summer with the owners living across the road in a building that once was a stage coach stop on the way to Aspen. They ran their own generator a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. My water came from the creek behind the cabin which is named Water Wheel. At 10,000 feet or so above sea level, the stars are close and numerous. The sun in the morning hits the peaks across the valley.

    Last Saturday and Sunday I stayed in a nearby cabin (Water Wheel was reserved). It was a sweet reminder of the pleasure of that year and that time and that place. Of course, the water now comes from a deep well (and treated as per public health requirements) , and electricity is available 24/7. But the cell service and internet are intermittent and sketchy. Still a treasure….

    Thank you, Anna, for your post and the opportunity to remember and appreciate again.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well, the big box elder in the back yard comes to mind, and technically it’s already on any Google Map that exists of our neighborhood. It’s a mere shadow of its former self, but is still to me magnificent. Hmmm, maybe a blog post…
    Will think of others later.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When I was a tike, I spent some time thinking it was “Linger Log” like a Lincoln Log mashup name (Lincoln Logs being a favored toy of mine, it made sense to me…and probably no one else). Linger Long really was a good name for the place.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Anna.

    I’ve been thinking lately how it is that yet another summer will go by without a vacation.

    The days of $40/wk for someplace to rest your head are long gone (not sure you can find a scrap of designated ground for that much per night anymore), as is the expectation that a trip away from home for a week is something surely everyone does.

    I do remember a lovely cold soda out of one of those machines. Myself, I always thought strawberry Crush was quite exotic.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Daughter and I are squeaking in a short one next week – midweek deal at one of the Gull Lake resorts. Definitely not $7 a day…but it doesn’t feel like summer without a few days on the edge of a lake outside of the Minneapolis chain.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What wonderful memories, Anna. I can imagine that it would have been pretty devastating to lose Goldie like that. Cute photos.

    I’ve been lucky. I have been able to revisit Stubbekøbing and all the treasures from my childhood that it holds. Yesterday’s blog brought to mind the tiny chapel at the boarding school, and that’s one spot I’d love to see again.

    Another, while I’m in that neck of the woods, is the bell tower of the Catholic church adjacent to the convent. One of my responsibilities – one that I loved – was ringing the evening Angelus with the church bell. I’d be excused from homework class, and walked through the rectory garden to the church. There, I’d climb the stairs to the bell tower. Once I was standing on the small wooden platform above which the big bell was suspended, I’d grab the rope.

    First the triple stroke, repeated three times, with a pause between each set for a Hail Mary. This was followed by several minutes of full out tolling of the bell. Then I’d return to the homework class.

    Looking back, there are a couple of things that strike me (no pun intended). One, the trust the nuns showed med by sending me off each evening unsupervised, and, two, that I was never afraid to venture out alone in the dark. Must have figured that God was looking after me.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. I was reminded last night how much I treasure our Welsh Terrier. We were walking her, on leash at about 8:00pm, when a large German Shepherd mix ran out of a back yard and attacked her. Husband pulled the Shepherd off her, and the owner ran out and grabbed her dog. I noticed that our dog’s left front leg was twisted unnaturally sideways as she walked. It looked as though her leg was broken at the wrist. I called the vet and she told us to bring her in. It was only a dislocation that corrected itself soon after we got to the vet’s office. She has a very serious heart murmur that precludes any anesthesia, so we would have had to put her down if it had required any invasive care. After a shot of pain killer, Maggie was ready to start chasing the vet office resident cats. She has pain pills now for the next week and she is back to her silly terrier self. Her leg still is a little bowed, as though some ligaments are stretched, but she doesn’t seem to be in any pain.

    To the shepherd’s credit, it didn’t attack husband and allowed him to hold her off our dog. I phoned the police this morning and filed a complaint about it, though, as that dog needs to be in a securely fenced yard.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Well, I’m realizing one of our treasures is the computer, which is now “in the shop” for a few days, after we were unable to connect to our email this morning. This is unfortunate as I had some half-baked blog posts to work on this weekend. I’m at the library now… see some of you tomorrow at (hopefully) the Falls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She told me she wants a rematch tonight just to show that 75 lb dog what might she has in her 14 lb frame. i told her that she is staying home today, and that when we walk tomorrow, we are going the other direction.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Recently a friend visited with her 10 month old Chihuahua/Terrier pup. That little (tiny!) dog proceeded to attack my seven-year-old English Mastiff. My dog never did get the upper hand though they eventually started playing “catch me if you can.” Hildegard, the Mastiff, never did catch the little one.


        1. One of my wire haired dachshunds would do that, and usually got away with it. Except for once with a neighbor’s husky; he called her bluff. She showed him some respect after that, but still didn’t seem to get the concept that it wasn’t smart for such a small dog to antagonize much bigger ones. Don’t know if it was a Napoleon complex or what, but Franny was a piece of work when she wanted to be. But most of the time, she was a lover.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Am lolling around at friend’s cabin today. Just came off the pontoon where we had wine and cheese while we puttered around. Another treasure – friends who invite you to their place on the lake!! Aaaahhhh…

    Liked by 5 people

  9. HI-

    We were cleaning at a local theater today and putting a fair amount of furniture out for a ‘Boulevard Sale’.
    A guy came by as Kelly was putting a chair out there and said his mother always said ‘Never get rid of chairs; you have as many friends as you have chairs’.
    That’s a nice thought but, we kept the sale going. We hoped he’d come back for the chairs for HIS friends.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Our family vacations when I was young usually consisted of trips from our home in Michigan back to Wisconsin to visit my Grandparents. I especially liked visiting the home of my Dad’s parents in Phillips, a small town in Northern Wisconsin.

    Their house contained my Grandmother’s collections of all kinds of things including all the craft projects she made to display at the county fair. She had a big collection of house plants in the large window in the kitchen. There was a big wood burning cook stove in the kitchen. My Grandfather had a shop setup in the garage where he made things out of wood including furniture.

    Behind my Grandparent’s house was a very large vegetable garden and on one side of the house there was a large flower garden. They had a setup made from metal barrels in the yard that was used for smoking fish. Also my Grandfather had a walk in cooler that he had constructed in the basement. A big part of those visits to my Grandparents was the meals they served that might include fish that my Grandfather caught or venison.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Excellent post and wonderful pictures. They really evoke the feel and the smell of summer.

    Goldie made me think of many animals I bonded with over the years who belonged to someone else. Sometimes the owners just moved away and I never knew what happened to their pet.

    For a long time I went for walks around Cherokee Park and passed a fenced yard that had a gate across the driveway. There was a Sheltie in the yard that would greet me by dancing on its hind legs and running in circles, and coming to the gate to be petted. Never knew if the dog died, or the owners moved. But I still sort of miss that dog when I pass by. I think it’s been at least fifteen years, so the dog has undoubtedly passed on by now.

    I’m glad Goldie was able to save her foal. Perhaps she has descendents somewhere, making friends with summer travelers.


    1. Son is always greeted by a cat when he and his wife take walks through a particular neighborhood. The cat is very well cared for and has a rather handsome red collar. It seems to wait for son and races across the yard to greet him and get a scritch.


      1. My neighbor has a black and white cat named buddy. Buddy is a good name for him because he is everyones buddy. He always approaches anyone he comes across as he circles the neighborhood and invites them to pet him. You have to be a little careful if he is around when you are getting into your car or entering your house. He might get into your car or enter your house if you give him the opening to do this.


  12. I once found my cat Sammy, before he was my cat, snoozing on the front seat of my car on a day when I had left the windows rolled down. He liked to make himself at home.


  13. I know of two places which hold special meanings to me, are not sacred, but evoke peace and surcease of pain. One is what I call the deer stand. I have not been there for 52 years, which maybe makes it better. My second novel is, at least for the moment, called “The Deer Stand.” The other is any place along the Superior Hiking Trail, which I now only walk in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. OT. Noon and we need to make decision about BBC today. I checked three weather sites and 2 of the 3 say rain before 2 p.m. I say we think fondly of our 1st meeting while we sit inside where it’s dry. Thoughts???


  15. Good morning, baboons. Mighty quiet here this AM. I thought I saw that a blog was “scheduled” for today, yet it’s not showing up here, so I sent Dale a message.

    Sorry I didn’t make it to BBC yesterday. Had intended to, but got side tracked.


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