By: Jim Fitzpatrick

Local Farmer in Polkton Township writes for the Coopersville Observer.

Along Brandy Creek

By Jim Fitzpatrick


The Coopersville Observer  May 16, 2005- - No. 51

The kid was working on their produce farm for his Dad and Uncle Al that summer. Over the years he had spent a lot of time out there in the fields under the hot sun. Aside from trying to save up a few dollars to maybe go to college someday; he often let his mind wonder off to far away places as he worked. Mostly they were dream lands he had heard and read about; but, never been to. Early on in his childhood he had heard his Grandmother tell about an old man she knew that lived in South Dakota. The father of that fellow had supposedly buried a Mason jar full of money, in the front yard there on the cattle ranch.


As the summer went on; the sun seemed to get hotter and hotter, the rows of tomatoes and string beans appeared to grow longer and longer! Finally the kid had had enough. That story of the money in the Mason jar was gett'n to him real bad. It all seemed like a good excuse to do a little traveling. One morning before heading out to the fields, he stashed his sleeping bag in the brush along the railroad tracks. It wasn't too far from where the new Interstate 96 had just been put through. He had been studying the road maps lately. That double wide, doubled up set of new roads led right out to South Dakota where the old man lived.


About an hour before quitting time, the kid slipped out of the tomato patch, picked up his sleeping bag and headed for the new highway. He and his brother had hitch hiked to Coopersville a couple of years earlier. But, this cross country stuff was all new to him and a little scary too! Believe it or not, late into the night of the second day, he arrived in South Central South Dakota. The last ride dropped him off near a phone booth. A phone call, after waking old Bill from his sleep, was his introduction to the old fellow and brief explanation of leaving Michigan to come for a visit.


Over the next few days that man and boy became quite good friends out there on the prairie. The money in the Mason jar business was talked about on one occasion. Bill made it clear that he had grown tired of hearing about it. He had quit digging up the front yard in search of it, years ago. As it turned out for the kid, finding buried treasure didn't feel very magical anymore. He was sixteen years old, had now traveled to a far off part of the country; and, had made friends with a very interesting and unusual man "out west".
Finally, the kid grew up, putting a lot more miles "under his belt" along the way. Now he is back on that same Polkton Township farm; raising a family and growing corn and soybeans, right there where that tomato patch used to be.

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