Rio History: How’s Them Apples?

By STEVE HATHCOCK
Special to the PRESS

“Something under here,” Bill said as he moved the coil over a steaming pile of fresh manure. Holding my breath, I began shoveling.

Now let me start at the beginning. A few years back, my friend Bill Biecker called to tell me the sad story of a woman who lost her diamond studded bracelet while circling the arena of a riding stable about 5 miles north of McAllen. The woman, who is legally blind, could not remember whether she had been riding the horse or leading the animal from its stall when the bracelet was lost. The reward promised to be substantial and we decided to conduct the hunt on Sunday.

I arrived early with metal detector, and shovel in tow. Bill did not have a detector at that time so we decided to share mine. I’m still not sure exactly how it came about that Bill was doing the locating and I was doing the digging, but it had something to do with Bill saying that considering the kind of writing I do it is obvious that I have more experience shoveling this kind-a stuff than he.

“Hummm, must-a been reading it wrong,” Bill said as he fiddled with the controls. “Hey there’s something under here!”

Now where had I heard that before, I thought to myself as I resisted an urge to throttle my friend.

“Uh, Bill? I think it’s my turn to hunt.” We switched places and kept on hunting. After a while, we settled into a rhythm.
First I would hunt and Bill would dig, then we reversed places. At the end of half an hour we had located several underground pipes, an unidentifiable piece of metal, various coins, an old corroded bolt and the buckle end of a fancy dress belt of some kind. But no sign of a gold bracelet. About that time, the woman whose ranch we were hunting on suggested we try hunting in THE OTHER ARENA. After all, that was where the woman had ridden her horse! The sky started clouding up a bit and the wind blew in cold from the north.

“Well how do you like them apples?” I asked of no one in particular.

Bill and I had the same thought at the same time … another day, and another hunt. I’ll keep you posted.

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