The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mine

By Carl "Skinny" Rowland © 1989

Issue: November, 1989

Now this feller walked up to my cabin,
all loaded down with gear,
and said he was prospecting,
just a few short miles from here.

He said he started out for gold,
but found a uranium claim,
and that if I would help him,
our shares would be the same.

Well I ain't much of a miner,
and this stuff is new to me,
but I thought it couldn't hurt none,
to walk up there and see.

So I told him I had chores to do,
and would follow when I could,
I'd come on up this evening,
when I'd milked and chopped the wood.

So he waved and headed up the creek,
and said he'd see me soon.
and I got busy with my chores,
it was already way past noon.

I knew it would be dark soon,
and I'd need to pack a light,
as I figured just to find him,
was going to take all night.

So I took the kerosene can,
and filled my hand held lamp,
then found a trail of empty beer cans,
that led off to his camp.

In the wee hours of the morning,
I finally found his tent,
the sun would soon be coming up,
I was nearly spent.

He said he'd been up all night too,
and I couldn't understand,
till I seen he had no Geiger counter,
and had to count them all by hand.

I asked him what it's good for,
this here uranium stuff,
and how many geigers to the ton,
before it would pay enough?

He said broadcasting stations,
really found them attractive,
they used it on their lazy help,
to make them radio active.

And they fill bombs up with this stuff,
then whoever it's dropped upon,
plumb forget about the war,
and go turn their radios on.

He said an outfit called "Civil Defense"
right here in our nation,
tell us that if we get hit,
to turn on a radio station.

This stuff is really worth a lot,
because to guard against their losses,
atomic plants have Geiger counters,
and even shake down all the bosses.

Well I could just begin to see,
how much this feller knew,
about this here uranium,
and just what it would do.

And as I stood and listened,
to everything he said,
visions of big money,
were pouring through my head.

So I decided to start mining,
I was going to make my pile,
I sold my land and cabin,
for this it was worthwhile.

Well it has been some years now,
since I made that big mistake,
and the fateful day the men in white,
caught my partner, "Crazy Jake."