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When floods bring unexpected riches
Thank you for enjoying my first article in the Valley Record. From time to time, you’ll find in its pages a story I’ve written that could be true... or could it?
I wrote the basics for this tale during a writing exercise with SnoValleyWrites, a group of writers — some published, some practicing, some just with an urge to purge some demons by creating.
I hope you enjoy this tale of what could happen to a Valley couple.
Just another floody day
How long have you lived in the Valley? Have you ever experienced one of the seemingly annual Snoqualmie River floods?
“Oh well,” I thought, as I shoveled pounds of mud and assorted crud deposited during the recent flood. The river can be a stern taskmaster.
Sometimes, I wonder how my wife Wanda and I have put up with this for so many years. But then I think about a sunshiny morning, with a faint mist rising from the river. There is a family of elk across the river looking back at me. Or, in late summer, I could be cursing out those darn blackberry thorns as I pick another plump berry, and fill up my third or fourth bucket.
My thoughts were abruptly interrupted by Wanda.
“Ooh, look,” my wife said, as I kept shoveling things out. “There’s a teapot. I wonder whose it was?”
“It’s ours now,” I said.
My wife gingerly picked it from the goop still covering our hardwood floors. Curiosity killed the cat, and Wanda wasn’t far behind. I watched as she pried, pulled and levered the top off.
All this lollygagging wasn’t getting the mud shoveled out.
As I returned to the task at hand, I caught a gasp from Wanda and glanced over just in time to see a stunned expression on her face, as her jaw dropped nearly to the mud-covered floor.
She stood in stunned silence, until I broke the quiet by asking, “What’s inside, a million bucks?”
“Well,” she stuttered, “could be.”
With that, she upended the teapot onto the kitchen table, and you should have seen the rolls of cash, $100 bills all bound up in large wads, cascading down like a rain of green gifts from above.
The last thing to fall from the pot was an aged slip of paper with a brief scrawling of “D.B. Cooper,” written in nearly faded script.
I touched the cash. Then I fondled the cash. Then, I felt like diving into the cash.
“Grab your parasol, lady,” I told my wife. “Wrap up the things you really want to keep, and let’s get out of this mud hole.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Well, woman, we just came into more money than either or both of us together could make in a lifetime, and we’re leaving the annual goop troop — the poop patrol, the flood blood, the cleanie meanies, the annual manuals. We’re moving out of the Valley, away from the alley. The river can have this house and land, we’re going to gay Paris.”
Then, I had a realization.
“Wanda, this money is ours,” I said. “No one knows about it. So be real careful. It’d be just like the police to hear about it and come down and arrest us and put us behind bars, and send all this beautiful cash off to an evidence room or whatever they call it at that fancy new police station up on the Ridge. So we’ve gotta be real careful, so careful that we just act like nothing is different.”
So we went back to scraping out the muck and trying to salvage whatever we could. Later that day, we found a little nest of bones, spread over our backyard veggie plot. Still pretty soggy out there, too.
Now, I’m not a squeamish type of guy or a CSI person. But finding those bones made me shiver. They sure looked like they were human. I was pretty sure the legend of D.B. Cooper had finally been put to rest. I was satisfied, and I bet ol’ D.B. was, too.
As for Wanda and I, we haven’t changed much. We decided to open a college account for our three grandkids. Very quietly, we bought a few houses on the Ridge. It’s been three years since that flood, and every year, we’ve gone to Mexico or Hawaii for the winter.
And guess what? Every year, we actually look forward to the flood season. Who knows? Maybe D.B. has a few more bucks stashed away, just waiting for some more high water.
• Bob Edwards is a member of the SnoValleyWrites writers’ group. He lives in North Bend.