Leslie T. Richardson- Memories & Other Stories
Every boy dreams at some time of finding a gold mine. Well, I found one. Right in Caledonia, too.
When I was young there used to be a large barn at the back of our house. It was here when the customers for the tavern would tie up their horses, or the Southside folks, who were going by train to Hamilton would leave their carriage ponies and walk to the station, thus avoiding the toll across the bridge. The barn served nearly one hundred years and was in fairly good shape when it was taken down.
I do not know who bought the building, but I remember Reg. Hudspeth working on its destruction during one of the summers while he was a high school boy. I suspect that the building is part of another barn up in the west end of Seneca Township somewhere.
After the material is carted away, there is always the inevitable clean-up. This task fell to my brother and me.
We were always very observant of anything on the ground, especially old coins. One which we found dated back to 1834 and was a bank token, Bank of Upper Canada. It was worth one half pence. It was an antique even then. There were other goodies too, such as old beer and whiskey bottles of rare designs; a few old oak planks three feet wide and still in good shape for all their wear and tear, but nothing of startling value until I uncovered it.
There it was, all a glitter and sparkling. I had hit a large rock and part of it had chipped off showing more of the shiny stuff. I grabbed a piece and it crumbled in my hand, but my hand glowed too. It was real. It was gold. I dug frantically and lifted the large rock out of its buried space. I cleaned it carefully and carried it into the house, all eyes, eager for the praise which was bound to come from this discovery.
In the house the gold did not shine so brightly and I had to convince my mother that it was gold by coaxing her over to the window to show her my treasure. She seemed doubtful and being a practical woman she was cautious of anything so lucky as a gold mine on her own property. She did not discourage me nor was she very encouraging either.
Next, I tackled Dad, he took a quick glance at the rock and with a twinkle in his eye, agreed with me and told me to go see if there was any more. Eager beaver, me, went on the double and soon unearthed more of the precious stuff. I lined it up carefully and dug for more.
I do not know what was said between Mother and Dad, but when I brought the next lot in, Dad said to me, "Leave it in the back of the kitchen and let it dry out."
The next morning I looked at my golden rock and somehow it did not seem quite right. It had lost its sheen. In fact, it was a rusty colour. It still had an appeal to me, like an old Wintario ticket which nearly won, but did not. I realized that my gold was not gold, but was the same material that John Cabot had brought home by the boat load to Henry VII on his first trip to Canada. It was "Fool's Gold." I, too was fooled.