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One of the things that happens at GPAA shows and ALL such goldshows is this: the "dreaded slow time." You know how it is, right?? We pay our money to stand there, on hard concrete for 3 days, and pray that THIS is the show where folks walk by and throw money at us while we watch our stuff fly off the table/shelves/racks--as if by Liz Montgomery "Betwitched" nose-twitching magic--flying out the door as it were, home with the happy goldbugs, leaving us breathless and wishing we'd brought more to sell. "Alas...if we'd only known," we sigh, day-dreaming of riches, too, but as "vendors."

I've learned to LOVE the slow times...as an exhibitor, there is a kind of "bro/sis"terhood formed with the other dealers all there hopin' the same hopes and dreamin' the same dreams.  The slow times offer US a chance to "mill around" and visit with each other.  That time is how we learn stuff IF we're willing to listen and not make a sales pitch to another dealer. That already successful Victorville show was one such show, where I scored big...a second time. Here's what happened.

One of the things a sharp exhibitor looks for as we scan the passing throngs [or clusters of three's and four's] in front of our rented-for-the- weekend real-estate, is the occasional bewhiskered, baggy pants, plaid-shirted, rather rumpled looking male (or female) who wanders through. Ayup, complete with dirty felt hat!  WHAT a treat to really get a chance to visit with one of THOSE old timers I'm here to tell ya'!!!

It was one of those "slow times" and I spotted above described sourdough—male type-- already passing by my booth, hat jammed down around his ears. He only mumbled a grunted acknowledgement to my cheery howdy. His sharp eyes took in--in about 3 seconds without breaking stride--my entire gold recycling "above ground mining resources" display with with copies of Thrift Store Prospecting complete "how-to" kit, containing manual, 6 pages of list  with gold tester and samples baggie and my claim of abundant, cheap 24K gold available for under $20 per oz cost.  I had set up there to in Victorville to discuss or sell to my boothe visitors my kit promoting the notion of  above ground, discovery and recovery of "already refined once gold." I always display my some of my personally recycled gold buttons as well.

The display didn't slow him down any; he paid it no mind.  The old miner hurried on to see what else or WHO else was at that gold show.  Although I was disappointed he didn't stop, he was so remarkable in appearance, I resolved to keep track of him if I could spot him, between visiting with the public stopping to see me and learn at my table.

It was quiet in the low ceiling exhibit hall at Victorville's fairground complex, and I could clearly hear SOMEONE animatedly story-telling two aisles over.  {When I heard those voices so plainly in the nearly empty show, I stepped to the back of my booth, and parted my "official GPAA gold, broadcloth exhibitor booth curtains," plumb curious about who I was eavesdropping on.  

HEHEHEH...I was RIGHT!!]...it WAS the ole sourdough just gettin' warmed up to his subject. I hurriedly turned the visiting public over to my publisher and scooted over to eavesdrop...in the flesh!

Sure enough, he had about 4 other guy dealers standing around with their arms folded across their chests, kinda half listening, judging from the looks on their faces--half wondering where they were going to eat that night in town. But, NOT ME!! I was standing at the fringe, and never took my eyes off his grungy face, week-old stubble and all. He was telling the most astonishing tale about him and 2 of his other buddies scrapping out jet engine cowlings just for the silver.

I'd never heard of such a thing. And here's his account:
Seems his best friend dropped by his mining claims campsite one evening and asked him if he had a few hours to go check out something the next day. Looking for an excuse to take a break because he was frustrated working some low-grade ore, he said yes, and turned in early. The next morning his buddy showed up and took him to a storage unit on the outskirts of town and popped open the door. In the dimly lit unit he spotted this huge HUGE metal circle thing. At least that was all he could tell without closer examination. He and his buddy went inside, his buddy closing the door firmly behind him, and securing the latch from inside to prevent interruptions.. Flipping on a cigarette lighter for light, he motioned for the old sourdough to come take a closer look. Puzzled but piqued, he stepped up and began to run his hands over the machined shape of this gigantic circle of metal. Not reckoning out anything new than what he already had seen when he stepped through the doorway, he looked at his friend and asked him what the heck he was looking at.

His friend replied, "A jet turbine cowling. I've been told some of them are covered with silver but I don't know how to tell. That's why I asked YOU to come see it."

The old sourdough looked at his friend's face in the flickering lighter's erie glow, casting weird shadows across the bridge of his friend's nose. He didn't know if he was having his leg pulled or not. But he saw his friend was deadly serious. He ran his hands across the metal s'more and replied, "Yeah, I know how to tell, but I didn't bring any of my acids with me."

His buddy replied, "Oh, that's all right, I've got a hacksaw in here somewhere. Let's just hack out a few slivers, if you'll hold this here lighter and we'll take the scraps back to your place so you can test 'em for me."

The old duffer agreed and held the lighter while his friend sawed away with steady sure strokes of a retired machinist who was comfortable with the ancient handsaw in his hands. About 10 minutes later, the shards were loose and the two men made their way to the doorway and stepped out into the blinding sunlight.

Taking a few minutes to get used to daylight again, the buddy spoke up. "If you tell me this is made out of silver or has silver on it, I know where there are about 3 dozen more and we can have them all for $200 ...the whole lot!  And I'll cut you in!"

The sourdough telling the story, stopped to chuckle a bit and noticed I'd joined the circle of guys he was talking to, taking this all in. Clearing his throat and smoothing out his plaid shirt-front with both grimy hands, he continued after checking one more time to make sure I was still listenin'....[like where was I gonna go???]

He said, "Well, bottom-line boys, those scraps, they was COVERED in pure silver. I was shocked to see how much came off in my tests of those shards!!! I weighed them pieces before testing and weighed 'em after and did a quick figurin' in my head. I figgered we had several thousand ounces we could split if my buddy would get the other cowlings. So, he cut me in. I told him we'd have to use something quicker than his old hacksaw, tho' if we was gonna get done in MY lifetime." The men and I all laughed with the old miner, who was obviously warming to both his tale and being the center of attention.

He continued, "It took 5 of us almost 2 weeks to get all the silver off those things. Darned near killed us all off, but we done it!  And I was right about there being several thousand ounces of silver we got to split.  Trouble is, I never learned the make and model of them cowlings we was workin' on so that I could go find me s'more. But it sure was fun, working that hard. And that was back when silver brought more than a stinkin' $5 an oz, too!


Me?  I'd be happy knowing if which end I was looking for when hunting for one of those darned cowlings. Maybe you'll be the one to solve THAT mystery. Then, let ME know --by private email, of course-- if y'do, okay?

....I PROMISE to split it with you!

Megan Rose, Author
copyright 2002
one time use permission granted by my publisher, Pen Press, PO BOX 232, Durkee OR 97905,
exclusive distributor for Megan's complete line of
THREE recycling how to kits:
Thrift Store Prospecting -GOLD-kit
PLATINUM Recycling Made Easy -Platinum-Kit
Catalytic Converters: the NEW Cash for Plat Biz Model--Kit
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