Here we were, asking the drunk standing outside in the pouring rain how to get to Redding. He gave me directions and, as an afterthought, he asked, “Why are you here?”
These four words changed our lives. I said we were here looking for land to buy for a kid’s camp. He immediately responded, “Go see —– he owns lots of forest land. He lives up that road you just passed. His house is the only one on the road.”
After traveling nearly 700 miles looking for a miracle and being there anyway, We drove away from the drunk and went searching for the house he described. So, on a pitch black night, in a rainstorm, on the words of a drunk, we went seeking without the slightest idea what we would find. Yet, we did find the house exactly where he said it would be. I Knocked on the door, and a lady greeted us. She heard my story and invited us in to wait for her husband.
About ½ hour later, he returned home. In every respect imaginable, he was a wilderness man with huge hands that swallowed mine as we shook. He heard me out as I explained what we were looking for, and he replied he had 80 aces right up the hill that might work for me.
“Do you ride a horse?” he asked. “We can see the land tomorrow. The road is an ancient dirt road that will be too muddy to drive with this rain.”
Lenette and I had obligations with the LA Board of Education, so I asked him if we could meet the following weekend. That next weekend it was still raining, but he had horses saddled and waiting for us, nevertheless. So, away we went across a large meadow, creek, and through a virgin forest to the meadow and woodlands that would eventually become camp. When I saw the meadow and surrounding forest, I almost cried because I just knew it was OUR land. The seller could tell from my behavior that I wanted to buy the property. Since now that the cat was out of the bag, it appeared I had done myself no favors. I had to assume the negotiations to follow would be very one-sided.
CONTINUED IN THE NEXT PAPER. SY