Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Six…



Compensations for being quiet

Last evening, when I had an idle moment, I walked around our pond and sat on a rock by the waterfalls. I do that whenever I can because opportunity doesn’t like to be kept waiting. The serenities of nature were all around, and they prompted me to pause and reflect.


Here’s a toast to the art of forgetting
That friend of the fast dimming past.
Gone down with the sun that is setting,
The sordid has vanished at last.
Remembering beauty untarnished,
The joy and glamour enhanced.
Reviewing the years with laughter and tears,
In the twilight I ponder entranced.
John Young-Hunter


An orange dragonfly rested on a water iris. He was very still – just looking. Another landed beside him (or her), and a third, and then a fourth. They were perfectly aligned, as if in a pew. Where was my camera?

I’ve often wondered how insects of the same species recognize each other. They can’t see themselves so how do they know they’re chumming with others of the same kin? Yes, I know, it’s instinct. But because they all look exactly alike how can one identify his brothers from the others?


Then some damselflies arrived, both red and blue. They bobbed about for a while, but soon were gone with little more than casual disinterest. Maybe they had a beef. Perhaps they didn’t like what their cousins were doing on the water iris leaf?


A chair is posted at a favored spot beside the pond. My fishing rod is kept there too, constantly at the ready. A dragonfly likes to rest there also. He always looks so composed. Evidently blue dragonflies are not likewise so disposed.



Then suddenly, amid a muffled whirr of sound, a resident hummingbird joined our company and checked me out, and the dragonfly too. She likes to dart back and forth, and hover.


This must be her nest. It was just there, lying on the ground. There were no eggs or shells anywhere around. Hmmm.


Three esteemed inhabitants on the pond are Angelo, Barney, and Tail End Charlie, so named because of a birth defected left leg that slows him to half a normal waddling gait. How did such an imperfection occur, and when? A friend told me it was either a freak of nature, or something his mother ate. Okay then.


They were 3” tall when I purchased them at the San Marcos Feed Store. The clerk said, “You can’t take just one; they come in sets,” like he knew. I didn’t think three bucks each was too much to pay for the cute little pets. Do you?

Several times a day the farm ducks come up on the grass and quack, which means they’re ready for their cracked corn snack.


The hungry threesome likes to wander up and down a little streamlet that flows into the pond, looking for things to grub. Crawfish, being lower on the food chain, are mostly too late in hiding, as are some of the water bugs.


Both peppermint and spearmint plants grow in great abundance at the waterfall, blocking most of the splashing water from our view. The blossoms on top of the mint attract bees from all around the neighborhood. I think they like the purple hue.

One of our tall cottonwood trees was maimed by a lightning strike and lost a big limb. I saw the whole thing. I was just standing there at our kitchen window watching. So now when there’s thunder, Peggy and I and little Tesuque, run for cover.

Peggy’s grandmother once told me that just a millisecond before lightning hits, the hair on the back of my neck will stand up. It’s a static electricity phenomenon, she claimed. When that happens lightning is about to hit nearby with a jolt. But if I jump really high, maybe it will hit the ground while I’m still in the air, thus saving me from the fiery bolt.


Of course I don’t know if that’s true. She also said you shouldn’t plant a weeping willow tree because when it gets big enough to cover your grave, you’ll die. However, Peggy and I have such a giant willow that we planted as a seedling in 1988, and we’re still vertical. Makes me suspicious of grandmotherly wisdom.

Nothing but good can happen when I’m still and observing wildlife in its natural landscape. To describe it almost wears me out of words. In nature’s quietness I can steal away to places where all my dreams come real, at least for a little while, that’s the way I feel. f

Digital StillCamera





click image to view video

click image to view video


Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Five…




The Bullet comes home – after sixty-five years on the road

My first car was a black, 60 hp, 1935 Plymouth Tudor sedan. It was not the deluxe model so it didn’t have a sun visor or windshield wiper on the passenger side.

Dodge Challenger Race Car 055

It was eleven years old when I purchased it in Atlanta, Georgia for $250. A thick book and a pillow were placed on the seat so I could see over the dash.

Dodge Challenger Race Car 046

I drove only at night so the police couldn’t see I was only 15. The 1,200 miles to my home in
Temple, Texas passed slowly at a top speed of 55 mph, but it was love at first sight for me. During the day I curled up on the back seat and dreamed about my beautiful Plymouth.

Dodge Challenger Race Car 066

It had no safety glass in the windows, no air conditioner or radio, no power steering or power brakes, & no power windows or turn signals. I stuck my arm out when I wanted to turn; straight out meant left and straight up meant right. I felt like I was bragging every time I signaled a turn. But I could lever the windshield up when I wanted ventilation.

35PJ_DelmarDrag_NJCarTour_LightHouse2012 303

Peggy named my wonderful car “The Bullet” because she said it was shot. Out of respect, we never used that term when we were within earshot of the car.


When we were in high school, in the late 40s, I’d take Peggy home for lunch, and thirty minutes later, pick her up again. We always had a few minutes to sit in the Bullet, listening to Eddy Arnold on the portable radio while waiting for the bell to ring. Gas was 11 cents and I often pulled into a station and bought two gallons for a quarter, and saved the three cents change for next time.

When Peggy and I wanted to go out on a date, like for a burger and a movie at the Arcadia Theatre, I’d pawn my two-dollar bill with Peggy’s mother. I was always able to buy it out of hock by babysitting or mowing the neighbor’s lawn. I still have that two dollar bill, but it looks a little wallet worn. I am trying to decide where to leave it when I’m gone. Can’t be just anyplace.


When I went to Yellowstone for the summer of 1950, Peggy drove the Bullet for three months. That fall three eventful things happened, Peggy started school at the U of Houston, I joined the Air Force, and my mother did something terrible with The Bullet. When I came home on my first leave, the car was just gone, and no one was willing to talk about it. I went into mourning.

35PJ_DelmarDrag_NJCarTour_LightHouse2012 305

The story is told in my book Too Far to Walk, that I’d give $250 again if anyone could find The Bullet for me. I felt outside of the hope that comes with possibility. When I mentioned it to my friend Richard Blake, who is a serious car nut and has 9 garages all in a row, he went to work. Richard is the world’s leading authority on the sun, and is a retired solar physicist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

It took some long months for Richard to find The Bullet’s twin brother. It was in Maryland and he successfully talked the owner into selling. With one email I came out of mourning after sixty-five years. All of a sudden, instead of feeling old, I felt like I’d ripened. It’s wonderful to refresh the memory of a friend long past.

35PJ_DelmarDrag_NJCarTour_LightHouse2012 294

For many years Dr. Blake has been one of my heroes, but now I will give him a gold star to put on his bathroom mirror.

Eat your heart out, Mr. Rolls Royce.



Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Four…



Dear Forrest,

I first heard of you while talking in passing to a work colleague about their personal interest.  While at first this was a way for me to network, the passion behind this story was admirable at the very least.  As time moved on, this person helped me through a difficult period of my life.

I come from a very dysfunctional background starting from birth.   The last 3 years has been shocking and tragic for me and my 7 year old son.  At the time William  introduced me to you, I was questioning me as a person and a mother.  My life has always been drama filled and chaotic and as 40 was fast approaching I felt I really needed to find my happiness for my own sanity.

See I come from a very long line of addiction.  I never got on the drug train but alcohol was my crutch.  William hasn’t had alcohol in 25 years so he quickly became a sounding board for me.  The last 6 months of 2014 I was drinking more than I ever had.  I was spiraling out of control in anger, regret, and pity.  Making the decision to change my behavior was at times painful and a reality I never had to deal with.  I masked realities for a long time.

I haven’t had a drink since December 22.  Since this time, I’ve learned to appreciate what is really important in life.  I’m learning to work to live, instead of living to work.  I understand there is no book on the perfect parent and societies label that we should be super heroes is an expectation no one can achieve.  I have learned that I am important, and no one should take my weaknesses to make me feel small or not significant.  I’m learning that I may not have received a royal flush in life but a pair of 2’s is just as good if you play it right.

George introduced me to The Thrill of Chase.  I got to know you, William and myself.  Your story has allowed me to open my mind to what the value of me is.  Through your story I have fallen in love with William – and he has since moved from Louisiana to Missouri so that we can be together as life partners – my husband.  Forrest I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life and I must thank you for your part in that.

Today, William  and I will leave Missouri and start our adventure.  Over two weeks we will explore Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and end in New Mexico.  While I think the hunt is an added bonus to keep us looking for the prize, the thrill of spending quality time and appreciating the beauty, history and what God has left for us is truly the value for me.  J

I know you get thousands of requests but it would be nice to meet you while we are in New Mexico.  This trip will be one of my legacies.

I’m expecting we will leave the New Mexico on August 14 or 15 to head back to Missouri.      We have no laid plans except where we want to hunt, and for the first four days in Wyoming and then Montana.  I must add we are tent camping this entire time!    My cell phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx or you can respond to this email if this is an option.

Thank you again Forrest.  I hope one day I can tell you this in person.



Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Three…


JULY 2015

Dear Forrest,

Hello! I hope it is alright that I call you by your first name. I just wanted to convey how important your words and stories have been to me these last few weeks and offer thanks. I would venture to guess most emails you receive are in regards to the treasure; questions about the poem, its clues, people wanting more information, etc; that is not this email.

I purchased your book, “The Thrill of the Chase”, June 15th after hearing about it from my parents, who they themselves were leaving to search for the treasure in New Mexico that week. Something about a real life treasure hunt made a tiny spark in my mind and soul. Perhaps it was the kindling of memories of making treasure maps with my cousins and running through the “jungle” (fruit orchards), swinging on “vines” (ropes we hung) to cross “rivers” (irrigation for the trees) to evade imaginary adversaries also in search of our treasure. Perhaps it was the notation that I like to think I am clever and like to solve a puzzle just to know I can. Or the fame in being the first to do so. Or the thoughts of what I could do with the money; pay off school loans, travel, I could go horse back riding through the Scottish highlands, see the pyramids of Egypt, safari in Africa, see all the beautiful art and architecture in Italy, go repelling into caves, so many places to see and things to do!! Whatever the reason, I purchased the book.

I have to say your book saved my life.

I had at the time, well I still am, going through a divorce from my high school sweetheart. It had only been the first few weeks when I purchased the book and I have to say the hardest few weeks thus far. I have not handled it well. We were married 10 years. Which I think is an accomplishment for people my age nowadays, especially with the challenges we had to face with multiple deployments. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I had failed. I had an array of feelings at any one time but the majority was anger and sadness. All the unmet expectations that I had, that we had, for the marriage gone, the life I had dreamed, gone. So here I am at 30 starting over. How? I’ve really don’t know how to date having gotten married at 19. All the doubts came flooding in, that I am not good enough, not worthy of love or happiness, that I will be alone forever, etc everything seemed pointless and I quickly went to a dark place.

But it was your book that offered relief from that dark place. I could read the book and imagine  making a goal or plan to go look for the treasure. Make a plan to go on a trip with my family, at the very least we have a great time camping and seeing a part of the U.S. we’ve never been before. Talking with my parents about our theories has been probably the most time we have spent talking with each other in a long time. So as a mere distraction your book saved me but there is more to it than just distraction.

I will probably not be able to verbalize just how much this part of the book meant to me at the time because some weeks have passed, but the last two pages of your chapter ‘My War for Me’ resonated with me. It is true that in a hundred years no one will know I even existed, but that doesn’t matter now does it? Because it “really doesn’t matter who we are if we are someone to ourselves”. The beauty that exists in me is there whether anyone sees it or not; the beauty and value in every living thing exists whether we recognize that value or not. I think I realized I didn’t want to waste my turn either. When I read this in the middle of the night I cried and held my hand to the page as if this action somehow connected me to you, to the universe, to every person who has felt the same. It was funny that later on you mentioned about touching art, and how not being allowed to touch the art, to be separated from it in some way was impersonal. I agree. I think that’s way I want to travel so much, to be present in a place with history, to stand where others have stood and to look around and see what they saw, smell what they smelled, hear what they heard, (though these things can change) but I would love to go to Deadwood and just be in a place where Wild Bill lived, hike the John Muir trail and imagine what it must have been like for him seeing Yosemite essentially untouched by man, to stand in the Sistine Chapel and look up and imagine how Michelangelo felt when he did the same. That can’t be experienced by reading a book or looking at a picture.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. You probably never thought your book would save a suicidal divorcee, but it did.

Have a good night,



Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Two…


JUNE 2015


What About You?

65638Whitey Ford won 236 games pitching for the NY Yankees. I once asked what made him better than most other baseball pitchers. He said, “I could always throw a strike when I needed one.” What a great response!

Having been shot down twice during the Vietnam War, and surviving both times, I can now look back and say, “Yeah, I too threw a couple of strikes when I needed them.”

a_byron_iByron Nelson, as a professional golfer, won 18 tournaments in 1945, and 11 were consecutive. When he came into my gallery I asked him a similar question. “What separates a good golfer from a great one?” His answer also was interesting. “A good golfer can hit a great shot from the fairway, but a great golfer can hit a good shot from heather.” Wow! And yeah, I made a great stroke from the heather, so to speak, when I had cancer and recovered from unlikely odds.

Now, as my candle burns ever lower, I like to compare my accomplishments with those of some great men I’ve met. Sure, I can arbitrarily declare myself successful in some areas. I just have to remember that I’m in a different league from those other guys. But certainly my way of thinking makes me feel good when I need it. f


Scrapbook One Hundred Forty One…


MAY 2015


Today Forrest got this in the mail. Pretty cool!!!

Last summer the motel occupancy rate in Santa Fe was up 10% over the previous summer and no one knows why, except maybe the Chamber of Commerce, and the stores that sell metal detectors.

You can click on the image to make it larger



Scrapbook One Hundred Forty…


MAY 2015

This story illustrates once again that old age came to me at a really bad time.

The last day of skiing on the Santa Fe hill was Easter Sunday, so the day before was fun time, as hundreds who like to ski, gawk, or gasp came to join in the fracas.

My grandson Shiloh and his little sister Noah, whose face has many flattering angles, posing in her new ski ensemble.

My grandson Shiloh and his little sister Noah, whose face has many flattering angles, posing in her new ski ensemble.

Cass and Shiloh, the dreaded duo of the mountain.

Cass and Shiloh, the dreaded duo of the mountain.

Cass and friends.

Cass and friends.


Here’s Shiloh coming down the chute and across a 3 foot deep pond that was built for anyone who was willing to test the cold water gods at an elevation of 10,300 feet.

Shiloh-On-The-Water movie


Many tried, and about half made it across. The others were wiser for the trying. One intrepid lady said it was hard to smile when her lips and eyes were frozen shut.


And here’s Cass, everyone’s friend, who was so busy tossing Easter eggs to the crowd as he screamed down the slope, that his balance was not ready for what was about to happen. His sense of adventure suddenly dwindled, then vanished as the laws of physics and gravity took charge. Two seconds after this photo was taken, Cass found himself racing the half mile to the lodge for an ice pick, dry clothes, and a gallon of hot chocolate.


Evidently Noah was not prone to tempt such a transient pleasure, but at the end of the day, fun was crowned the winner, and many memories made on the hill that day will last longer than any ordinary person’s reach. f


Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Nine…


MAY 2015

Dear Mr Fenn,

This morning there are tiny patches of melting snow surrounding the tulips in my front yard in Casper, Wyoming. It is a visual mix of what the calendar claims is spring, yet we are still haunted by the chill of winter. Our home is bustling with the morning noise of our eight homeschooled children and I know that in this moment, I am truly blessed.

We are a traveling family. Our summer weekends are spent on the back roads of Wyoming exploring and letting the children play when we find a spot that beckons us to stop and just be. We have found some of our favorite “places” by not having a destination in mind and just going where the beauty and unexplored roads take us.



In June 2014 we loaded up our family into our 10 passenger van for the drive to Yellowstone with the intent to search for your treasure. We nicknamed the treasure “the bird” in case anyone heard us on the trails talking about it. When we arrived at where I thought we needed to start our trek, we found ourselves distracted by the fun in watching our kids scamper over fallen trees, picking up pretty rocks, and “hunting” for treasure in their own way. My husband and two of our boys ended up in an area completely different than we had come to search. Their excitement I heard in their voices from the crackles of our walkie talkies as they explored was enough to let the distraction simply be. The rest of my children and I played in a meadow while we waited for the return of daddy and their brothers. We blew bubbles and chased them where the wind blew, we flew a kite high into a cotton candy cloud sky next to the Firehole River, and we enjoyed the warm sunshine on our faces. Daddy and the boys came back to us empty handed, but full of stories and with memories made from crossing the freezing river with their pants rolled up high while holding tight to daddy’s hands.



We never did search for the blaze where I believe is where the clue “Put in below the home of Brown” refers to, as the Brown Trout. That’s okay though; it means we have another treasure hunting adventure in our future and one that I can’t wait to begin!


Our tables are strewn with books about mountain men, fly fishing, Yellowstone maps, and dictionaries. Our kids are full of ideas and it is amazing to see how they interpret your poem and seek out answers to the clues. Our heads are full of wonderful history lessons and information that make our journeys around Wyoming even more enriched. I know we will travel again back to Yellowstone this summer with dreams in our heads of what it would be like to find your treasure. I also know that even if we don’t find the treasure you left to be found that we will create more family memories which truly are what makes our family, our family.

Thank you for the fun and the extra adventure in our adventures. We are grateful.


Casper, Wyoming


Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Eight…


MAY 2015

A few years ago the Super Sabre Society asked each member who had ejected from an F-100 to write a short description of what happened. My story took place during the war in Vietnam and is published on their web site. It was written for fighter pilots and is full of jargon. Sorry about that. f

Forrest flying an F-100 Super Sabre.

Forrest flying an F-100 Super Sabre.

Unassing a C model near the DMZ

It was 1755 on December 20, 1968, when I floated down into the beautiful Laotian jungle near the DMZ. What a paradise! I had been leading a flight of four C models out of Tuy Hoa on what was to be my last mission (number 327). Both my wingman and I had four CBU-34s and the other two had four M117s with instant fuses. Our mission was to mine the main trail at Tchepone, and we planned it for a late TOT to take advantage of the low sun.

My first pass was up the canyon, along the road and into the sun, 200′ and 500 knots, hoping to surprise the guns we knew were there. It took about ten seconds for the cluster bomblets to roll out of the canisters, so I was straight and level for a long time. I probably took hits on that pass. At the end of the run, I pulled up and came back out of the sun for the second pass expending both inboard CBU-34s.

Toward the end of the run, I saw multiple muzzle blasts at 11 o’clock and level with me. I think they were holding a couple of ZPUs steady so I could fly through the bullets. My first indication of trouble was when the canopy shattered and thick pieces of plastic hit my body and scarred my visor. Both drop tanks had ugly 50 caliber holes, fuel was pouring out (we had just exited a tanker), and the engine started going through withdrawal. It was compressor stalling but it kept trying, so I felt it didn’t really want to quit. When it did, I knew my life was about to get exciting.

DAYTON, Ohio - North American F-100F Super Sabre cockpit at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

So I made a tight 270 to the right, heated the guns, and gave the NVA guys about 200 rounds of HEI. When I pulled up and looked back, they were still shooting.

Nail 74, (the FAC, Lt James Swisher), who was four miles away, called me trailing smoke, so I turned 030 degrees and instructed my wingmen to hit my mark with all they had. Later intelligence reports said they got secondary explosions.

I left the target without a lot of things working for me except the red and yellow lights on the instrument panel. I pulled the Rat on and noted the airspeed – 385 knots.

Jagged pieces of the canopy were still hanging to the front frame, and that got my attention pretty good because I figured the ejection system might have been hit also, so I would have to crawl over the side. Although I wasn’t ready to eject, I raised both armrests and the canopy frame blew off as advertised. I felt a little better.

The jungle was dense, but I still didn’t want to go out until the last minute for fear of being shot on the way down, or at least to lessen the chances of someone seeing my chute. A 1000′ high karst appeared under my left nose so, I decided to punch out over it in hopes of landing on top, thinking the enemy wouldn’t be up there, and besides it would be a good place for a chopper to pick me up.

I was still ready to go over the side as I ran through the checklist: gun film in my G suit, visor down, chin strap fastened, head back, boots in the stirrups, pull both triggers. So at about twenty miles from the target, at 240K and 1500′, I had a great rocket ride that took me up 150′ or whatever. The butt kicker worked, and I was in one of the greatest experiences of my life. All pilots should get to do that once a year instead of taking a stan check.

The next thing was to pull the lanyard and drop the survival kit and dingy, so of course the lanyard wouldn’t pull. I jerked it hard a couple of times and the handle came off in my hand.

And worse, I missed the karst by a little because I couldn’t remember which risers to pull that would fly me to a landing on top (I never was very good with math). As it happened, the wind blew me over, and while I don’t remember my body hitting the bluff, the chute did, so it dragged for a while and then streamed. Now I was falling face down with mean looking rocks and trees approaching at flank speed.

With a big limb, dead in my trajectory, I closed my eyes and wished I’d gone to church more, as my body bounced off of hard things for what seemed like an unfair length of time. Finally, all was quiet as I gently bounced up and down. My chute had caught on a low limb and when I opened my eyes I was hanging about 18″ off the ground. I couldn’t believe it.

Everything had happened so fast that I wanted to just sit there for a minute and soak it in. None of my body parts were giving me major pain (they would later that night), but I was bleeding from my nose and head. (That’s the best way to get a Purple Heart.)

After a few minutes I felt myself going into shock. Hot, clammy, apprehensive, shortness of breath, symptoms that I had learned at snake school in the Philippines. So I climbed out of the harness, elevated my feet, closed my eyes and thought about sitting on the bank of the Lampasas River in Texas with a bobber in the water, catching 5″ blue gills. It worked, and after maybe 30 minutes I was back again.

By this time it was getting seriously dark, so I pulled the dingy about 50′ into some dense undergrowth, leaned it over a log and climbed under. I could hear dogs barking, and that wasn’t a good sign since the Pathet Lao didn’t take prisoners.

It was just cool and damp enough to keep me awake most of the night, and when I did doze off the flights of three hero B-52’s from Guam woke me up by spacing out 315 five hundred pounders all around me. I told them on guard channel to go play somewhere else, but they didn’t respond. I think they were listening to Bing Crosby sing Silent Night on AFN radio.

At 0800 the next morning, here came Lt. Swisher again. He had to give up the night before because of darkness, but was up at 0200 and out again at first light. Don’t you love a guy like that? Although I couldn’t see him, I could hear his putt-putt. He responded to my call and asked me to pop smoke, which I was reluctant to do, so I moved over to the bottom of the karst where there were large rocks.

When I spotted his plane, I told him to start a left turn and stay in it until I said stop. “Now look down your wing at a large pile of rocks. That’s me waving like a windmill.”

That was fun until he told me to hang tight, that he’d be back later. Well, I remember thinking I’d just as soon he’d hang around for a while, but before I could tell him, he was gone.

So after about thirty-minutes there were so many aircraft in the sky it made me feel important. A Crown C-130 flying high and directing traffic, four Sandy prop jobs (one was Capt James Jamerson, later four stars) flying low to keep the enemy heads down, a flight of huns making tight circles at high speed, and two determined looking Jolly Green Giants coming in fast. It was just like in the movies.

The low chopper (the Candy Ann), flown by Lt Cmdr. Lance Eagan (US Coast Guard), asked me to move away from the karst so he would have more rotor clearance, so I went into the trees again.

After confirming that I was alright a heavy jungle penetrator came crashing down bringing a lot of limbs and foliage with it. It took 240′ of cable, and I quickly unfolded two legs and strapped on. The ride up was slow enough for me to maneuver around some of the larger limbs, but I just crashed through the others because the cable was twisting and the chopper was moving.

It didn’t help my morale any when I looked up and saw the hoist operator (M/Sgt. Maples) with his hand on the emergency cable cutter; the “Guillotine.” But when I cleared the trees, he signaled the pilot, and we were up and away at max speed.

When I got up to the door, the PJ, A1C Sully, jerked me in and yelled, “Quick, jump across the flak vests and get in the back.” On the way to Nakhon Phnom and after high-fives all around, I took inventory. I had lost my pistol and gun camera film in the trees, but I had my head, my arms, my legs, and memories of a bunch of great guys who knew how to make things work. It beat the hell out of walking home.

Crew of the Candy Ann and Forrest after snatching him from the  jungle in Laos.

Crew of the Candy Ann and Forrest after snatching him from the jungle in Laos.

And would you believe it? The co-pilot of the high Jolly was taking color pictures while they were pulling me up through the trees. As it turned out, I was the 1500th air crew to be rescued by the ARS in SEA and the 331st by that unit. (See Daedalus flyer, Vol. IX, No. 3, September, 1969, for the chopper pilot’s description and pictures of the rescue).

Because that mission was supposed to be my last, they had closed me out, so it took a call to Saigon to get one more. Who wants to be shot down on their last mission? The general said “OK, but keep him in-country.” Two days later I walked through my front door in Lubbock, Texas. My lovely wife and two daughters were grinning. It was Christmas Eve.


I had been shot up a few months earlier, flamed out, and dead-sticked a D model into the short runway at Bien Thuey in the Delta. After touching down at 205 knots, my hook grabbed the approach end anchor chain so I pulled that thing the wrong way. They said I stopped in 250′. The leg straps on my chute were pulled so tight I thought for a while I had been placed into a different social stratum. I’d always rather be lucky than good. -Forrest Fenn



Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Seven…


APRIL 2015


Dear Forest Fenn,

I wanted so very much to tell you how deeply your autobiography touched me. I would write more but my words and lack of eloquence would just embarrass me. Suffice it to say I truly understood your words as profound as they were and it was a blessing to be able to, in some small way, meet you.

I was very sad to have finished reading The Thrill of The Chase and wanting to read more as if there was so much more of the story left unsaid. I quickly ordered your other book, Too Far To Walk and inquired if you had written any others. They told me “only two coffee table art books that were very expensive.” lol

I read that you have written a biography and placed it in the chest as well as a few other places. I would very much like to have a copy of your biography, more than words can say. I am not sure if you put any clues in them but perhaps you can just delete those parts. I am interested in the treasure, the chase really, but I am much more interested in your words. You are from a world long gone and reading your words was like being able to touch the past and those who were there. Not many people can share that, it is as a lost language.

I guess I could share with you that I recently found my great great great grandfather, Beddingfield’s,history and his sons and their sons. He is buried just outside Gwinnett, Georgia in a small unknown grave within the family graveyard of his wife’s family, the Kilgores. There is a man who lives near by there, a photographer, who while jogging past, took a picture of the little grave site now sitting all alone on the side of a road and posted it on-line saying meet my neighbors from 200 years ago. He did not know who they were or who was lying beneath the now eroded and broken headstone.

He did not know he, meaning my ggg-grandfather, had fought in the civil war, that his younger brother had died in the war and he had been held prisoner at Vicksburg. He was unaware that he and all his six brothers and sisters had been born in the house that use to stand a few yards away and his father was buried out near the old mill. That his sister had chased away Sherman’s men down the long dirt road swinging her broom. Their farmstead was now long gone. No picture of him remains, no name. But I knew and that meant the world to me. To travel out to the grave site which no one understood and thought was foolish was like touching them, seeing what they saw, being closer if that makes sense. Kinda like touching George Washington’s painting.

Well, it’s after 1:30 in the morning and I will be heading to work soon. I don’t sleep much perhaps I can get a little more time by only sleeping 18 years. I would share much more but I do not wish to bore you and think of my letter waded up lying next to The Great Gatsby in a waste basket. (I never liked that story much neither.) and I suppose it is of little meaning that I tell you how much your book meant to me and how I truly enjoyed every word. But it means a great deal to me; not sure why but somehow it does.

With kindest regards,