Placed DateApr 5 2008
LocationClovis, CA
Planted By$TEINBECK & CHERI$H    
Found By 8 Bare Feet
Last Found Jun 7 2009
Hike Distance?



(To find Old Town Clovis- from freeway 168 take the Bullard exit and head east. Bullard becomes Fifth Street. At the intersection of Fifth and Clovis head North. At the corner of Clovis and Fourth you will find the Tarpey Depot. The clue to finding the box is in the story below.)

written by $TEINBECK

_____A train whistle sounded and startled him from sleep. Yet, the train had passed through his town years ago and the tracks uprooted. What remained of the small railway town of Clovis, California was merely a display, much like what you might find in a museum; maintaining its “once was” decorum. The people of the town no longer hoped on the coming of the train, and in place of the tracks a bike and walking trail filled their void.
_____Awake and curious, he unburied himself from his bedding and searched the world outside his bedroom window. The streets ran still and the quiet of the night settled the dew on the grass. The glow of the street lamp below revealed white moths darting in and out of night, and fallen orange blossom petals lying in contrast upon the black asphalt road.
_____This evening was pleasing to the old man despite his unrest. He had not taken the pleasure of an evening in well over a decade. There was always a schedule to follow. Even after his wife’s death he steadied his course. “Early to bed, John,” she would say, “and awake with God.”
_____He glanced at the clock and then to his wife’s empty bedside. He contemplated a pipe and an evening stroll. It was about a quarter to two. The bars would be closing soon and the desire for an Irish coffee settled his decision.
_____“I’m having trouble sleeping, Dear.” the old man explained to his wife’s empty half of bed. “I think I’ll have a walk to clear my mind.” She wouldn’t have minded.
The old man slipped on a pair of jeans, cowboy boots, and, in addition to a v-neck undershirt, his old Navy pea coat. With a pipe in hand, he was ready for shore leave.
_____Outside, a cool breeze deepened the calm of night and amplified any sound or stir. From town, music spilled out of the bars and carried down his street. He could hear women laughing and men talking loudly. From his porch he stepped out onto 4th Street and peered down its lane into Old Town Clovis. The town was well lit and seemed inviting. He tight packed his pipe with a vanilla flavored, black cavendish tobacco, and with a wooden match set it alight. The sweet smoke filled the air and the old man was ready for his coffee.
_____As he set into town, he listened to his footsteps echo in the street and alley ways. His mind wandered along his path. He walked past the Baptist church where he enjoyed his first kiss and was later married, the alley way where his kids played basket ball after school, and the bench next to the Veteran’s Memorial Hall where his wife told him she had cancer. He stopped and lowered his pipe. He missed her.
______It had been a little over a year since she had passed. She was a wonderful companion for well over fifty years. John raised his pipe and clenched it between his teeth. She hated his pipe smoking even though she had bought his pipe for him. He said it was a practice of distinction that reminded him of his Navy days. She would say that it could cause cancer and premature death. The irony chilled him.
_____The old man felt more alone than ever before. However, he did not want the crowds. He no longer wanted coffee. Nor did he desire the music and laughter. He wanted rest and peace.
_____He continued walking; not into town, but through it. He crossed Clovis Avenue to the Tarpey Train Depot. He found a seat upon the wooden steps of the depot and set his pipe down. Beside the depot stood a large granite monolith that explained the historical significance of the Clovis train station. The old man thought it resembled a headstone. A memorial to the “once was”.
_____It was after two o’clock and too late to be walking. As he stood the pipe fell between the slats of the bottom step. The old man stopped a moment as if to turn to retrieve the pipe, but instead hurried home and did not slow to reminisce. Upon entering his home, he slipped out of his boots, jeans, and pea coat and into his bed. “Early to bed, John,” he said, “and awake with God.” Somewhere in the distance a train whistle sounded as he settled into sleep.