|NOTE: This photo is not my Uncle Dick, but it easily could have been|
Uncle Dick was a WWII decorated hero and a silver miner. After he returned from the (sometimes hands on) defeat of the Nazis in Germany, he resumed his everyday life amongst the rugged hunters, fisherman and all-around-out-doorsmen of Saw Tooth Mountain graced Southern Idaho. His grandparents, the Turners (legally changed from Jackson), my great-grandparents, had been amongst the early pioneers to the Wood River Valley, Blaine County and his father, my grandfather, Arch Beardsley, was a engineer in the mining industry (Gold in Utah and Silver in southern Idaho). My Uncle Dick was a single man, a strong man, a carpenter, a horseman, a serious, yet friendly, silent type of fellow who promised himself he would never again leave Idaho after returning from the war in Europe. He kept that promise.
Tommy and I dressed for the trip down into the depths of the Minnie Moore Mine by wearing helmets with lamps on them (see photo above). No doubt our hats were a little large, but, I don't remember that part. What I do remember most was that we were lowered down in a bucket, just like in the movies, miners descending into the ground with cables clanging...down, down, down, we went. We were mostly looking up and seeing the sun lit hole in the Earth become smaller and smaller until we arrived at the first station underground...thud. We three climbed out of the bucket and took a small railroad like train with cars with bins. Bins that would later haul out the ore from the other end of the line...the far end of the transport line where the miners were currently digging the vein. I remember being nervous and I whistled. Uncle Dick quickly told me that ¨miners don´t whistle or sing¨ underground, it´s dangerous. Dead quiet resumed as our tractor driven train moved along. We traveled to end of the line where a bright focused light appeared and so did a handful of miners digging the ground. Picks flailing, shovels digging, some water gushing and generator purring too -- we had arrived at the end of the line of the Minnie Moore Mine, Bellevue, Idaho, United States of America.
Last night I dreamt it was time for me to become a miner. It seemed, in my dream, to be a perfect time for exploration again (in the highlands of Guatemala)...vamos a ver.
Will the wonders of being a human being never cease?
Not until I reach the end of the line where, no doubt, there will be a new vein to explore.
Thanks be to God and to Uncle Dick Beardsley for giving/sharing life and for the many kindnesses freely gifted me.