Sanford “Sandy” Boswell was born and raised in eastern North Carolina in the area where “Seeking Blackbeard’s Treasure” is set. With undergraduate (UNC-CH, 1967) and graduate (ECU, 1969) degrees in business, he began a career in higher education, during which he also earned an EdD degree (1992) from NCSU. He and his wife, Donna, have two adult children, and he has been organist at Brookwood Baptist Church in Jacksonville, NC since 1982. His interest in writing was sparked when UNC’s Writer in Residence, C. Hugh Holman, spoke to his freshman English class, but the necessity of earning a living forced him to put writing on hold until after his retirement. He is a member of ACFW.
PART II...go here to catch PART I
In the years before they left home, Danny and Caroline Dixon continued their search for Blackbeard’s treasure, digging randomly in the area of the clues they found. But they always came up empty-handed.
After college, they both married and raised their children, but they kept the memory of the treasure hunt alive, discussing it whenever they talked with each other.
Danny chanced upon the secret of the location more than forty years after their first quest. One Friday evening, he and his wife watched a television program in which an old woman buried her deceased husband close to their cabin. Another character asked her, “Why didn’t you bury him under that tree on the hill, where he asked to be buried?”
“I’m a tired, old woman,” she replied, “and I didn’t have anybody to help me. But even if I’d had help, I’d still have buried him in the same spot.”
“Because it’s so much easier on me when I want to visit his grave.”
Danny made no immediate connection between the movie and the treasure, but his mind connected all the dots as he slept. Around 3:00 a.m., he sat up in bed. “That’s it!”
“That’s what?” his startled wife asked.
“Remember when I told you about my family’s treasure hunt when I was a kid?”
“Yes. You’ve told me many times.”
“Well, that movie we watched last night made me realize where the treasure’s buried.”
“Right beside the old cabin! Ebenezer was old and alone like the widow in the movie, so he’d have kept the treasure close by! I’m sure the fourth bottle led right back to the starting point!” Danny slept no more that night. First thing in the morning, he called Caroline.
“I know where it is!”
“Where?” She didn’t have to ask what he was talking about.
“Right beside the cabin . . . under the iron stake, where we started!”
“You still have your metal detector?”
“Sure do. Pick you up in an hour?”
“Okay . . . unless you can get here sooner!”
Their route to their old home took them through a small town where a traffic light stopped them behind a convertible with its top down. When the light turned green, the convertible didn’t move, so Danny tapped his horn. The car still didn’t move, so he gave a longer blast. Instead of moving her car, the driver turned and yelled, “Keep your pants on! Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”
Caroline held back her brother. His road rage wanted to confront the woman. Still fuming when they finally resumed speed outside of town, he said, “I hope that wasn’t an omen of how our day will be.”
“So do I.”
They were nearing their destination when Caroline asked, “Did you tell our tenants that we’re coming today?”
“Yes. I called them just before I came to pick you up.”
“You didn’t tell them why we’re coming, did you?”
“I told them it’s to inspect the property. That right’s written into the lease, and we’ve done it before.”
“Today’s Saturday. Will they be home?”
“I doubt it. They said they’d be out most of the day.”
“Do you remember all the time we spent planning what we were going to do with the treasure when we found it?”
“Sure do. Those were some of the happiest days of my life.”
“Mine, too. Before you found ol’ Ebenezer’s directions to the treasure, we were a pretty dysfunctional family.”
“We weren’t that bad, were we?”
“We didn’t communicate much. We’d watch TV during dinner, and then we’d go into the living room and watch more TV until bedtime . . . unless we had homework to do.”
“I recall that your homework helped solve one of the clues.”
“That’s true, but it was when we first started searching for the treasure that we got into the habit of talking with one another at dinner. I don’t recall that we ever watched TV at meals after that. Dinner became our family time. That’s why I never let my kids watch while we were eating.”
“My wife and I weren’t as strict. If something special was on, we’d let the kids watch.”
Danny stopped in the same spot they had parked on that cold Sunday when their dad solved the last part of the hardest clue. Armed with a shovel, metal detector, and bush axe, they rushed around the house and crossed the field. “Think you can find it again?” Caroline asked when they reached the tree line.
“I certainly hope so! When I was a kid, I knew these woods like the back of my hand. I think I’ll remember.”
They reached the end of their property in a few minutes and stepped onto the land owned by the same timber company that had owned it when they were kids. It looked different because the trees had been harvested about ten years earlier, but the trails were the same. They walked about thirty minutes before Danny declared, “We’re getting close to the old log cabin now—only about a hundred yards more.”
“Shhh! I think I hear voices!” Caroline whispered.
They crept ahead in silence, and when they reached a ditch that was too wide for them to jump, Danny suggested, “Let’s cut some saplings and make a bridge.”
“No! Follow me!”
With Caroline leading, they paralleled the ditch while peeking through the underbrush. She grabbed his arm. “I hear voices again!” Seconds later, their hearts fell when they spied two children playing in the backyard of a house in a sprawling rural subdivision.
They moped back to the car. Danny reached for the handle. “Oh, well! Easy come, easy go!”
“Do you think the developer found the treasure?”
“My guess would be that if anyone found it, it was probably a bulldozer operator or someone laying pipes or electric lines.”
“Or, it might still be buried.”
Danny brightened. “Yes, it might! We have to find out! Can you get off work for a few days?”
“Not next week, but I can take off the following week.”
“Perfect. Here’s what we’ll do . . .”
They drove to the subdivision and made a list of the names and numbers on the rural mail boxes, and during the following week, Caroline used her computer to create official looking notices from “Buried Cable Mapping Services.” Meanwhile, Danny bought an additional metal detector, marking paint, uniforms, and had magnetic signs made for his car. They mailed the notices to the subdivision’s residents, indicating that they would be mapping underground utilities during the next week.
Bright and early on the day specified in the letters, they parked near the spot where Danny thought the treasure was buried and began their search. So far, they’d only found junk and underground utilities, but Caroline’s metal detector pinged again. Maybe this time . . .