Now this here is a true story, I swear.
When I was a young’un, I heard Uncle Ben talkin’ about a sinkhole somewhere on the mountain we always played on. Accordin’ to him, this here sinkhole swallowed up one of Papaw’s cows way back before I was ever even thought about.
Ya see, back in them days my Papaw farmed that part of the mountain and used it as pasture land for his milk cows. Accordin’ to my mom and uncles they sowed out field corn over there for winter feedin’ for the hogs, cows and mule they had.
Well, I was sittin’ ’round listenin’ to my uncles talk, we was havin’ some kind of family reunion, and I loved nothin’ more than to sit and listen to my elders talk about the old days, back when they was young’uns.
They was remeberin’ how hard it was to work that land over there on the side of that mountain and Uncle Ben asked Uncle JT if he remembered that milk cow that fell in that sinkhole up yonder.
Uncle JT thought for a minute and then said he did remember and they commenced to talkin’ about it. Accordin’ to them, there is a sinkhole somewhere over on that mountain, in the general area of where they always planted their corn.
I was a might interested in this new story I had never heard before, so I was listenin’ real close ’cause I didn’t want to miss anything.
To hear Uncle Ben tell it, that poor ‘ole milk cow fell into this big sinkhole that had formed above an old mine. He said they worked and worked, tryin’ to get that cow up and out of that hole, but never did, so they just left it to die. There just wasn’t anything else for them to do, it was too deep and they figured the cow was almost dead by now anyhow.
Well, that story got my young interest perked right up and I asked Uncle Ben where exactly was this sinkhole. It took a good 15-minute conversation between him and Uncle JT as to the exact whereabouts this sinkhole was located.
After they thought about it for a minute, and before I could get out the door, both of ’em was on me like white on rice about stayin’ away from there, it was dangerous and if I was to fall in they wouldn’t be able to get me back out.
Naturally my mind imagined me sittin’ in this big, deep hole with nothin’ but a cow skeleton for company, so I promised I would stay away from it. I didn’t add “if I found it” I would stay away from it.
It didn’t take me long to find my buddies and when I told them what I had heard, well, they was of the same mind as me. We was gonna find that sinkhole come hell or high water.
Now I knew the approximate whereabouts of this sinkhole, but not exactly, ’cause Uncle Ben and Uncle JT never could come to a certain conclusion about the exact spot. That left it up to us to find it.
If you’ll remember, I’ve told ya that we played on that mountain all the time, we was on practically every inch of it at one time or ‘nother and we never saw any sinkhole or anything that even resembled one. That didn’t mean it wasn’t there though, so off we went.
Folks, I’m tellin’ you, we searched and searched for that sinkhole for days and never did find it, and I mean ALL day for days. We figgered that it musta’ fell in on itself or somethin’ so we finally gave up. For a while.
A few months later I asked Uncle Ben about that sinkhole again, and he swore they was tellin’ the truth about it. When I told him me and my buddies had looked and looked but couldn’t find it, he got mad at first, ’cause he had told me to stay away from it. I reckoned I had done what he told me ’cause I never did see it.
When winter came creepin’ around and snow was on the ground, we decided to give it one more look-see, thinkin’ that maybe we’d see a dip in the snow or somethin’, so off we go, trompin’ up hill in a good 10 inches of snow.
After a few cold hours we decided to give it up and go get warm somewhere and maybe we’d look for it again next summer, ’cause, it just had to be there somewhere.
Needless to say, we never found it. Oh, we looked for it from time to time as the years rolled by, but the excitement had just drained right out of it by then, and we had more important things to do.
Every so often I’ll bring it up to one of my buddies in a reminicin’ sorta’ way. We laugh about it and wonder why we ever looked so hard for that sinkhole. But quietly in our minds we go back to that first day, in search of the unknown and we smile, knowing that somewhere up there, there is a big, deep, dark hole with a cow skeleton at the bottom.