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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Missed it by that much~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the coming months, we'll be running an occasional article about "the one that got away". Send me your short story and I'll post it here for all to enjoy (and commiserate with)

Here's the first in a hopefully long line of entertaining digging stories that we all can painfully relate to.


I was digging in an area that all of my research showed went back to the civil war era and I was the first one to sink a probe into the ground. After probing a pit I went down about 2' but, but I had my doubts.

I have been in old mining towns like this before. Civil war era Montana boom towns, towns that have NEVER been dug. And even though there were 10,000 people in 1863 and only 20 people in 1910, I find loaded 1910 FULLY LOADED pits, one after the other.

So ... there I was, digging about 2' down when all of a sudden out comes a broken crazy bubbly drippy top to a cabin type bitters bottle! Drakes, Kellys, American Life Bitters, were not uncommon in these early towns according to all the research and evidence that I had studied. So at 2' down I grab by hand tool and start raking through large pockets of fluffy seeds, china, pieces to lamp chimney and then my scratcher makes the sound I had dreamed about and joked about 100 times before, the sound of it going across an old glass wash board which, in an 1860's pit in Montana, translated to the flat side of a cabin bitters bottle. Sure enough, un-stinkin-believably, there it is! I am looking at the whole side of a cabin bitters lying right in the fluff.

I gently work around the neck facing me and feel the shoulder and top, it's all there! It is loose, just lying in the soft cushioned seeds and dry roots and as I slide it out towards me, a whole Drake's Plantation bitters appears right in my hands. It's the 1980's a Drakes cabin bitters from Montana is pretty similar to a Cassin's Bitters in California, to our young digging minds.

As I step back to take it all in and I am shaking with "buck fever", I slowly revolve it in my hands, seeing it in all of its glory and there, in the lower back panel is a gaping hole right in the middle of it. I still haven't healed from that wound!

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