RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 3 . . Missing . . Part 5
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 5 of Chapter 3 . . . Missing. A new part will be posted every Thursday. New readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 3 . . . MISSING . . . Part 5
Dan had overheard Frank at the fishing hole several days earlier, trying to get another boy to join Tom and Frank on a two-day adventure to a waterfall. The time period coincided with Uncle Rufus leaving on a three-day horse-buying trip. Dan had made up his mind that he was going to take a break from all the horse training and chores.
Besides he always wanted to set eyes upon an actual waterfall; one of his Moms books had waterfall pictures and his Mom often talked about seeing a waterfall. It had been a while since Harry promised to find those missing books; Dan was reluctantly resigned to the fact that he would never see them again.
Tom set about describing the planned adventure to Dan; then got to the part, “We’ll leave early Thursday morning and return late Friday night.” That statement had Dan concerned; the days were different than those he overheard Frank taking about. Rufus was leaving early Wednesday morning and planned to return sometime on Friday.
Dan confessed to Tom, “I want to keep this trip secret from Rufus. With the days he is away, I can only go if we leave early Wednesday morning and returned late Thursday night.” Tom looked at Frank and replied, “I hope you two aren’t ganging up on me. Those were the days that you originally wanted; OK I’m willing to change. We’ll leave Wednesday and return Thursday.”
Wednesday morning Dan was up early as usual, doing his chores and taking care of the horses. Rufus gave Dan implicit instructions on which horses to train, then warned; “Don’t you even dare consider goofing off while I’m gone.” Then Rufus was on his way.
Dan put a few items, suggested by Tom, in a sack and waited for the boys. When they arrived, Tom handed Dan the large rimmed hat. This was a suggestion by Tom, so that noisy neighbors could not as easily identify Dan as they left the area; and end up purposely or accidentally reporting back to Rufus.
With not a care in the world, the three boys walked down the dusty dirt road towards Maytown; eventually breaking off on a road to the right in the direction of the river and Shocks Mills. Frank’s older brother had done this trek with some of his friends a few years ago; so the boys were essentially traveling based upon those stories. Heading downriver from the vicinity of Shocks Mills, they were on the lookout for a river ferry crossing.
Only a short distance further downriver the boys saw a ferryboat tied up on their side of the Susquehanna River. A sign announced this was the Vinegar Ferry. The ferryman had orders on what constituted a minimum-crossing toll; unfortunately the toll for the three boys did not meet the minimum. They choose to wait for additional passengers, rather than increase their fare to meet the minimum.
To pass the time, Dan told tales of his life in Spring Mills, loosing his family in a ferry accident and life with his uncle. He had shared bits and pieces with Tom in the past, but for some reason, now he was not holding anything back. Dan even opened up about Rufus never being satisfied with the long hours he put in training horses. He tried to tell his uncle several times that there were just too many horses and that they needed help. As an example Dan relayed the following incident to Tom and Frank.
One evening as Dan finished preparing the evening fish meal, he suggested to this uncle the need to hire an additional hand. The reaction of Rufus was to send Dan to bed without his supper. These were the fish that Dan had caught and prepared; yet the reaction of Rufus was “You’re just lazy. For that comment, go to bed without your supper.”
Go to Part 6