Gold mine or Scooby Doo campground? You decide

Yesterday I panned for gold in Dahlonega in the heart of Lumpkin County. Really. I’d hoped this would be my joyful thing, but it felt a lot like washing dishes.

Here’s how it works: you lean over a large shallow pool of water, shaking a pan of dirt and water back and forth to make the gold sink to the bottom. Then you tip the pan so the water pours out, taking a minuscule portion of useless sand with it, leaving the gold behind. Repeat.

After 20 minutes, my back ached. Our guide helped me find 4 gold flakes, which I was then supposed to transfer to a little bottle. I managed to stick the flakes to my fingertips, but they disappeared before I could get them into the jar. I may have gotten some sand in there. Yay?

I had more fun visiting a scary old revival campground, where we went to take some family pictures, cause nothing says “family” better than empty ramshackle buildings.

The tree trunks were all painted with thick white bands; I don’t know why that made them spooky, but it did. A caretaker, driving slowly around the campground in a golf cart, kept an eye on us. His first drive-by made the whole thing feel a little Scooby Doo-ish: “And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for your meddling family!”

It got weird by his third or fourth drive-by.

We got some good family pictures but the place was creepy enough that it inspired the following 100 word challenge. This week’s prompt is “Wednesday.”

It’s Wednesday, I’m sure of it. It’s been a week. Wednesday.

That word, evoking the reassuringly mundane concerns of her life before this wretched place, calmed her shaking fingers as they worked the rope back and forth against the nail head. When he returned, she’d be gone.

Today she’d finally escape.


He wished customers at his register a good day, smiling, knowing today would be especially good for him. Wednesday. The thought of what waited for him beneath the cabin calmed him as he passed merchandise over the scanner.

Today he’d finally let himself do it.

Looks like today’s fun will come from a matinee: Big Miracle.

This entry was posted in Bring on the joy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Gold mine or Scooby Doo campground? You decide

  1. k8edid says:

    The photo is spooky….panning for gold sounds tedious…..and Wednesday is well written!!!

  2. That totally looks Scooby Doo-ish! Dimples loves panning for gold. But where we do it, there are a bunch of colored “gems” in the mix, so she feels likes she discovered something.

  3. I loved the Scooby-Doo analogy. I didn’t have a TV growing up – maybe my kids watched Scooby – so I’m not sure how I knew the exact notion of the creepy caretaker guy.

    Also, just want to add that your joy is spreading. Yesterday, I decided to take the long way to the gym (a 30 mile drive along the Pacific ocean) – it was a spectacular and joyful approach to a two hour spin and yoga class on Friday night.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Kate Kresse says:

    In AZ they paint the trunks of citrus trees white to protect them from the risk of sun scorch. Your 100 word challenge “Wednesday” story gave me goosebumps!!!

  5. Sally-Jayne says:

    I enjoyed reading about your panning for gold experience. It sounds such an exciting, almost romantic thing to do in theory – so sorry that it turned out to be so mundane.

    Your story Wednesday sent shivers down my spine.

  6. Him Up North says:

    A very sinister 100 words. Loved it.

  7. notquiteold says:

    You should consider submitting Wednesday to a short-short story contest.

  8. jfb57 says:

    I want to know what happens next! I have all sorts of ideas in my head but then that is the sign of a great piece of writing! Thank you!

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