Yosemite November 1, 2005
How many films in your lifetime can you honestly say made you laugh so hard you actually fell from or leaped up and down in your movie theater seat? A film you have seen many times and laugh just as hard?
I’m mostly minding my own business when fun things happen to me. Chuck and I were in Yosemite at day’s end in Fall 2005. We’d been hanging around at the bar/lounge sipping iced tea and munching on the Ahwahnee’s special mix of snacks and waiting for the sun to set. We then drove to Chuck’s pre-selected site to take sunset photographs. I amused myself examining a newly fallen redwood tree. 2005 was the year of the Spring flood which gave Yosemite the most spectacular fall colors I had ever seen in this park. As East Coasters in our youth we were spoiled with our Fall seasons. This Yosemite Fall easily compared with brilliant oranges, reds, yellows and greens. Breathtaking colors.
I could see Chuck about 100 yards away complete with tripod and a variety of cameras. I had my “Elph” in hand for snapshots in case something caught my eye. The tree stump was a good subject. It was at least 9 feet tall and very red from the fresh break. Circling the tree stump and snapping what I thought would be clever shots for email, I looked up and……
I was back in time to 1963 in a movie theater screaming with laughter and leaping up and down in my seat, totally uninhibited. Stunned, Awed, Laughter. The Big “W!! “Mad Mad Mad Mad World!”
I snapped a couple of shots with the Elph and found a rock to mark my spot. I ran to the Jeep for the Nikon and raced back to capture, yet again, a scene that would not be around for very long – a canopy of one tree leaning over another with Cathedral Rocks peaking through an opening and the newly fallen redwood at my feet.
While taking photos of this scene, I replayed the film’s funniest moments in my head leading to where I was standing. Right in front of the treasure. When I was finished shooting, I gathered my gear and a large stick. Back in 1963 again, I walked to the base of the trees under the canopy. I started to poke around the dirt with the stick. Bingo! Metal. “Chuck, Chuck…. Buried Treasure… Hurry, I called out!”
An old, rusty tin box that slid together one piece inside the other, finally opened to reveal a piece of folded paper. I recognized the logo on the aged sheet of Ahwahnee Hotel stationery. I carefully opened it. In black ink, it read only: “W.”