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July 2019 Vol. 15 No. 2

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Richard Grahn

Inside the Gold Mine

The wooden stairs are steep, only about ten of them but steep. At the foot is Grandma’s canning pantry complete with carefully sealed Mason jars filled with applesauce, jams, jellies, watermelon pickles, and other preserves. Mostly it’s fruit we picked. I like it when Grandma chooses me to fetch something from the shelves.

To the left is Grandpa’s workbench with an assortment of tools including a bench-grinder, a couple of rock tumblers and, my favorite, a handheld black light. We use it to view the fluorescent stones and minerals in his rock collection gathered on many trips across North America. Fluorite, calcite, and hyalite all dazzle in its subtle glow. Grandpa weaves stories of adventure in with his descriptions of the rocks.

Behind us is Grandma’s hand-cranked, wringer washing machine – so fancy. I enjoy wringing out the pants and shirts when the wash is finished. Lines hang from the ceiling near the furnace toward the back of the room. She tells me I’m an expert with clothespins.

These days I find myself spending more time in the basement. It’s quality time for me, springtime in my mind.

old songs
playing on the radio . . .
a pear blossom opens