Johnny, my youngest son, (a student at Oregon State University) eager to try out his new gold pans,invited me to go gold panning with him today. Excited about gold panning since I was a young child when I experienced my first and only gold panning at Knot's Berry farm in California, I answered, "Yes!". I remembered the thrill of finding the gold flakes in the metal pan at Knot's Berry farm. Even as a child I suspected the gold flakes were planted there for everyone to find, and wondered if they were real. Real gold or not, I love the memory of finding it and the time I spent with my family that day at the amusement park! I leaned towards the gold being real and for many years kept the glass vile with the tiny gold flakes at the bottom.
Johnny and I were out the door, walking to the Callapooia River across the street from our house in 5 minutes. Buck, the river loving dog, lead the way.
First Johnny filled a strainer with rocks and sand, which eliminated the bigger rocks, leaving the little stuff for us to take to rinse in the river with the gold pans. After a few pan fulls of gravel and sand, we learned how to reduce the gravel down to the fine black sand that sparkled in the sunshine. We didn't see any gold flakes today, but look forward to giving it another couple of hundred tries.
Life is full of gold panning experiences, some producing gold and some the experience and lessons learned. I would say that today was a golden experience, the real treasure; the time spent with my son.