Scrapbook Eighty Three…


JULY 2014


I don’t know if many of you will appreciate this scrapbook item. It’s my eulogy for Mike Kammerer. He was a man who stood singular in most crowds; a self-made man of rare bark who built a $15,000,000 home. When he died he left another $75,000,000 in a checking account in Jackson, Wyoming. He had three wives and his two divorces happened because he didn’t know how to say he was sorry. He loved Peggy’s hot muffins and often called her to ask if he could come to dinner. She always said yes.
This story was presented before about 300 close friends outside his home by his pool. It reveals what I thought of the man. It has been edited only slightly to fit this occasion.

SANTA FE MAY 1-5-06 043

Mike Kammerer supervises Forrest as he excavates Kiva B at San Lazaro Pueblo. Suzanne Somers stands guard.

Final words for MK

I wondered what I could say at a time like this about a man like Mike. And then I thought about the time he and Susan closed the Indian school at Santo Domingo Pueblo and took all of the children to the Natural History Museum in Albuquerque – and then sat with them on the grass and ate pizza.

And I thought about his support of the under appraised teenagers from Wyoming who come annually to camp at San Lazaro Pueblo to excavate and learn the disciplines of life. The hundred thousand dollars Mike invested in those young men and women paid dividends that continue to grow as they emerge from children at risk – to productive citizens. And when their transportation broke down Mike gave them a new seventeen passenger van.

Nothing about Mike Kammerer was common – rather he was a man of extremes – and his personality touched the spectrum at both ends. He was always full of new ideas and no challenge was large enough to retard his charge. I remember his chase to find Amelia Earhart – his desire to produce nitrogen fuel cars – and of his plasma destruction  process to destroy solid waste. I look back now with beautiful memories of a hundred lunches and dinners – and can still hear the melancholy echo of a thousand forgotten laughs.

His mind was like a bee in a meadow of spring flowers as he darted from one challenge to another – this beautiful home – his huge four engine airplane that could land in the middle of any ocean.

Each of his projects was the best one – since the last one – or until the next one. Even so, his knowledge of the subjects he faced each day was conspicuously exceeded by his enthusiasm for what he was doing. His aspirations were huge – and his relentlessness – his impatience with conditions which impeded or slowed his progress was matched only by his over flowing reservoir of vitality.

Mike was happiest when he was under his cowboy hat. During the last ten days of his life I lunched with him twice and each time he wore his hat and roping boots and spurs. When I asked about wearing spurs in the restaurant – he just spread a wide grin at me. That was Mike all over.

On the 9th of May, he and Susan (his wife) went into their bedroom to watch a movie. He said that he would be content to spend the rest of his life with her between those four walls. And when he was slumped at her feet he was still wearing his roping boots and spurs.  He never opened his eyes again but he was where he wanted to be – at home, with the one he loved. I know he still has a smile in his heart, and I hope his hat and boots and spurs are with him now, as he strikes his final trail.

There was a high octane quality about Mike – an overt, manly charm. But what his good friend Sally Denton remembered most were his “incredible blue eyes that could alternate from an impenetrable glacial lake to the most inviting Caribbean lagoon.” Those are her words, not mine!

During these last two years Susan was a moderating force in Mike’s life and he told me just a few days ago that he wanted to be a better person, – a better husband – a better father – a better friend.

He said that when he was a young man his father was displeased with him – and thought he was worthless – and asked what he had done in the last year that was worthwhile. Mike just said, “Well, I made a million dollars for one thing.”

Mike was at his best when he was quiet and reflective and we often spoke of ways to simplify our lives. But fickle is the finger that points at winners – so we find ourselves here today to celebrate the life of Mike Kammerer. And although he has passed from our view he will never fade from our memory. His childish, giddy laugh was volcanic and could erupt and spread across his face like a tidal wave – making you laugh and want to be with him.

So now, I sense Mike’s agreeing presence and remember him as being a man of great vision that was taken from us in the moment of his greatest blossom – and left us with a grove of evaporated hopes and demolished dreams. But from Mike’s seeds have grown a beautiful symphony of creative combinations in the form of his children – Rudy and Kristen, and their life partners, Yvonne and Tina. And while the world is poorer with the passing of Mike Kammerer we are still blessed to have his wife Susan and her children – David, Corinne, Perry and the wonderful Eric. We are thankful to have wallowed in Mike’s brilliance for a time that was way too short. But all things that belong to man change, and we must be part of that change, however painful it is.

For life is a game of poker,
And happiness is the pot.
Fate deals you four cards and a joker,
And you play whether you like it or not.

In closing let me say that I hope your memories of that indelible man are as vivid as mine. If you look into the full moon you may see him sitting beside the great council fires of history – arguing with Rasputin – or Shakespeare – or Sitting Bull. All of that is within him. Mike is not resting – he has too many ideas and too many things to do.


73 thoughts on “Scrapbook Eighty Three…

    • Hopefully, no one missed the hammer and nails when closing this gents pine box. Otherwise, he’ll be bust’n out to keep climbing the ladder. And those x’s, we all think we’ll get it right, next time. Some do. I know, I keep trying.

  1. I should be postumously thankful and grateful to have half as good an eulogy from even 10% as good a friend . . .

  2. mr. forrest ,that was beautiful.sounds like he was a wonderful man .you sir are just as he will never be forgotten.he went after what he wanted and made it happen.a 15 million dollar house,must of been nice ,that’s what he wanted,but i’d never want a house that cost that much.thats a lot of money to spend on a house.but ,I guess if you got the money to buy it ,and want it ,that’s ok.but this man loved helping children,you reap what you sow,he sowed good seed and got good seed in return.he did a great job.thanks for the story,by the way ,I guess I should stop trying to find the chest as you said its not close to a human trail,so you must of went far into the woods.i can’t do that.guess it will be only in my dreams .thank you for everything,you filled my life to the fullest of your adventures and love for people,i’m so proud of you.may God bless you and your family always.I love you Virginia diane,never will forget you,thats for sure.

  3. Small world I think……..I believe I’ve met Mike. If it was him we had a fun afternoon several years ago. He was a character, and invited me to come to his place in New Mexico; I never did. If it was him I jokingly gave him a hard time about his blue eyes and soft hands.

    I was slumped down in a big leather chair at George Hearst’s ranch east of Paso Robles talking to George about some work I was doing for him. When he walked in George only introduced him as Mike.

    I’m not sure it was him but pretty much anyone that walked in that door was a rich wannabe cowboy. I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner. I’ve never met so many old cowhands from Madison Avenue than I did at Estrella.

    These cowboy’s horses have their own planes. 😆

  4. A visionary with the courage to tackle worthy pursuits. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend Forrest.

  5. Most people who have lots of money are the ones who care and help those in need.
    Small minded people think the wealth should be taken from them and distributed to all.
    Thank you, Forrest, for sharing this good friend with us. Mike needs to be remembered.

  6. I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Fenn. He sounded like a wonderful person. The kind you could walk up to and instantly be friends.
    Its good he enriched so many people’s lives, including yours.
    I’m sure those that he touched and helped will keep him in their hearts.
    My deepest condolences.

  7. The Mikes of the world are indeed few and far between. All heart and lungs and wound tighter than a spring on a wood peckers neck. His mission has just begun and his spirit will have the same energy forever ! Thanks Forrest for sharing such personal stories w/ us all.

  8. Forrest , nobody writes the way you do. You are an awesome friend, and both of you were lucky to have known the other.

  9. Thank you for this scrapbook, f. Your way of words and eloquence is second to none. Please accept my condolences on the passing of your friend. I felt your words. Sometimes some people get it right.

    • I thought so too. My favorite along those lines was, “When I asked about wearing spurs in the restaurant – he just spread a wide grin at me.”

      • .*Starlight – if Forrest intended the spur comment to be a hint, this may be of help:

        Definition of SPUR
        1: a pointed device secured to a rider’s heel and used to urge on the horse
        b plural [from the acquisition of spurs by a person achieving knighthood] : recognition and reward for achievement

        2: a goad to action : stimulus

        3: something projecting like or suggesting a spur: as
        a : a projecting root or branch of a tree, shrub, or vine
        b (1) : a stiff sharp spine (as on the wings or legs of a bird or insect); (2) : a gaff
        c : a hollow projecting appendage of a corolla or calyx (as in larkspur or columbine)
        d : a bony outgrowth (as on the heel of the foot)
        e : climbing iron

        4 a : an angular projection, offshoot, or branch extending out beyond a main body or formation; *especially a ridge or lesser elevation that extends laterally from a mountain or mountain range
        b : a railroad track that branches off from a main line
        5 * a reinforcing buttress of masonry in a fortification

        • I once had a solve using the word spur. I thought it could be the unintended clue in his second book when I saw the cartoon with the cowboy wearing the spurs. It just was something that fit my location.

      • If Forrest was the one wearing the spurs and asked the same question, he would answer “Because I can”, followed by a grin.

  10. I was just wondering why you were doing all the work Forrest and they were just standing there. Thanks for the story though.

  11. Dal, thank you for giving us all an opportunity to read Forrest’s writting’s. As I read this eulogy I felt I knew Mike. However I have never had the pleasure of meeting him.

    It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, herein lies proof.
    My Dear Mr. Fenn with deft strokes of the pen you manage to invoke pictures in my mind of people and places. Thank you for rekindling my desire for reading.
    Often times I find current literature somewhat boring and dry. I hope to have the pleasure of reading more of your writings for many years to come. \

    Thank you.

  12. Thank you Mr. Fenn…I’m sorry for your loss of another good friend… 🙁

  13. I like the way you’re able to see the brilliance of the diamonds even when they are partially in the rough; and I loved the way his wife Susan helped inspire him to want to be better too. That warms the heart for sure. ; )

    “During these last two years Susan was a moderating force in Mike’s life and he told me just a few days ago that he wanted to be a better person, – a better husband – a better father – a better friend.”

    Very powerful and touching Forrest, thank you.

    • Oh, and loved the adorable picture of the three of you.
      Mike looked like quite the fun character and Suz does too! = )

      (Thrills me to hear the compassion Mike and Susan had for others)

    • “…Mike wanted to be a better husband, father, friend”

      When all is said and done, those aspirations are the most important legacies we leave behind.

      • I agree Swan. I also enjoyed reading the link you provided for the “Code of the West” cowboy ethics. TY

        The Golden Rule is always Golden isn’t it.
        Amazing how God works that way throughout the ages.
        Mt22 40

        • @Starlight, thanks for speaking loud truth with quiet brush strokes:) Your interpretations of hints and clues align with mine. Enjoy your evening, I have to attend other things for a while now.

  14. Forrest,

    What a nice story you wrote about your friend. What a successful man he was. We all love memories .
    Whenever it’s our time we will be on the same trail . !!!!!!! 🙂

  15. Yet another nice memory that Mr. Fenn is willing to share with perhaps a hint here or there scattered about. How about this to keep in mind while in the final throws of your searches.

    Interesting choice of words describing Mr. Kemmerer as a “self-made man of rare bark”. When I am next in the wood seeking the TC, I will keep in mind the reference to “rare bark” as possibly the bark of a tree that is in unusual in appearance (i.e. rare) or perhaps reddish in color (i.e. rare meat) or tired (i.e. tie red) as in ” I have done it tired”.

    Best of luck to all.

    • Windsurfer – Great analogies on red/rare bark and possibly a red tie on a tree. I’m hoping to access an old fs jeep trail part way (done it tired). And if not able then I will be tired.

      Your clever interpretations also remind me [regarding the the sheep herder SB] that sheep are dumb animals and completely dependent upon the herder and his voice to guide them. Mr. Fenn must look at us and laugh as he realizes how much help I require to find green treasure pastures. but I do listen well.

    • Wind…was holding this in but…you are def on to something! There IS a special tree only found in a few SW states, NM, AZ & TX! I’ll let you search for the rest!

  16. Fenn.
    Thanks for sharing a little of Mikes life with us. Your such a pro with words if I had a millionth of your talents I would feel rich. Great job on the last posts they are so matchless… 🙂

  17. Great tribute Mr F. lots of imagery and deep felt emotion for a true friend. Down home flavor of the type of relationship you two had. Sorry for your loss. Continue to write from the heart it fills the air with a calm softness that beckons us to want to meet your subjects and be there in that particular moment..You continue to paint us a lifesize picture of your life, friends and loved ones. Your powerful words fill our souls with lots of laughter, much amusement, all types of adventure, sometimes satire, most times wonder,awesome amazement, endless curosity,and yes, even deep rooted emotional tears! Most of all it gives us a sense of being at home and being a child again. Thanks so much, continue to send your thoughts and lessons of life’s experience to us hungry readers through your books,blogs,scrapbooks,tall tales over the internet,taped videos and all and any of your just plain and simple worded idioms for the day. I understand and feel the plain spoken man is the honorable man who speaks parables without even knowing what he has just conveyed through his writings! He just says what he feels, believes, hopes and dreams, written down raw on paper for others to examine and decipher years later!! After long being turned back to dust this man, wishes to leave some sort of footprint with the impression of WISDOM or KNOWLEDGE attatched to it!! This way others can remember him, maybe even imortalize him; in an humble, dignified, greatful manner !!! Not making him a god of sorts just a WONDERFUL memory that puts a smile on our faces or makes us trully think about a situation the way he would. I feel how you write and It is honorable, raw, very simple and a reminder of home and comfort that keeps us in that safe place we all long to be!!!! Thanks Mr. Fenn you have captured our hearts and imaginations with your prose and are the Bard of the Every Man that whisks us away to places we want to sit down and visit a spell. You make us want to go on adventures to scale a mountain or excavate an Indian site to uncover treasures beyond our wildest imaginations. You make us look within ourselves and see what is possible and believe we can grasp that gold ring if we try hard enough believe strong enough and just get out there and do it. THE THRILL OF THE CHASE and your LIFE’S MESSAGE is to never give up all things are a possibility and that looking within ourself we will find someone we never knew existed!!! All we have to do is go forth and try and do and we will find an adventureous life changing moment or moments that will give us peace and introduce us to our TRUE TREASURE!!!! Everyone’s TREASURE is different ,I mean our true treasure; but it comes from within all we need to do us just follow your lead and take it easy!!! Go fishing,hunt for treasure,dabble in something new and exciting to us. Mr. Naturalist, great Bard for the Everyman,Follower of the Rainbows, Keeper of the Inner Secrets;Mr. Forrest Fenn you have made life fun again and for this and so much more we salute you!!!! Tell us some more tales and we will continue to delight in you and your stories. When we find one of thoses buried bronze bells oneday, and one of us will, we will ring it to honor you and remember what joy you have brought to our lives and how you shaped and molded us like your bells all filled with wisdom and care !!! You put a fire in our spirit to GO FORTH EXPLORE, EDUCATE OURSELVES IN ALL THINGS,DO NOT TAKE OURSELVES TOO SERIOUSLY ENJOY THE SIMPLE THINGS AND ALWAYS KEEP SEARCHING TO BETTER OURSELVES AND FIND OUR OWN PERSONAL TREASURE WITHIN!!!!!! We all honor you and thank you for opening our minds to other things and to search with ourselves to respect others and give give give and try to follow the GOLDEN RULE!!! God Bless you and keep any and every tale coming you rock!!!! Sincerely, MS. GIRL

    • Judy – very touching, and true.

      One of the best treasures I have discovered on my TOTC journey is that our spirit or souls have no age. When I read the words and hear Forrest speak through his stories, he could be 8 or 38 years old. Our bodies may age on this earth, but our leap of faith into eternal paradise, in my humble opinion, will leave us lighthearted, joyful and young to splash in crystal clear streams and laugh like carefree children once again. IMO 😉

    • Hi Judy Ms Girl, I haven’t seen you on Dal’s blog in a while. Hope you are well, as I always enjoy your cheerful commentary. In light of Forrest’s uncharacteristic description of being supervised and guarded, your comments were particularly upbeat and welcome. Hope to hear from you here again. Best wishes to you Judy.

  18. Very touching tribute to another fascinating figure. Glad you shared it.

    [ (Off topic? Hope it’s not offensive)

    Inre: “because he didn’t know how to say he was sorry.”

    Is there a way to apologize? I’d love to hear a cowboy poet’s version of the right and/or successful words.

    Maybe it’s a song. Already out there?

    Maybe it includes bushels of roses….]

    • Truly a heartfelt tribute. Thanks, Forrest, for taking the time to craft it and share it.

      It’s difficult for a lot of “real” men to say they’re sorry. It takes a lot of humility to sincerely speak those words. Men wiser than me would say to live life so that you never have to say you’re sorry. I’m not there, yet.

      What an awesome world it would be if we all lived that way. I think Garth Brooks sang a song in that key.

      • JC1117 – great song by Garth Brooks! Touched my heart. Thanks for sharing. I need to be better about speaking those words to the one(s) I love.

  19. I don’t think that Forrest reads all these comments. If you are reading, Forrest, put a big old umbrella in a pail of rocks for easily movable shade. It’s what a paleontologist I know does:-{0

  20. A touching tribute to someone who must have been a larger than life character. Thanks for sharing your love of another of your memorable friends.

  21. What a great day this is…..

    GERMANY wins 1 to nothing. New world champs……..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Donna…Michael Kammerer died in 2007. While I understand the spirit of your opinion, I must defend the judgment of Germanguy and Nor, as I am CERTAIN they are aware already that this is a reproduction of a eulogy given in 2007…I’m sure no disrespect was meant…or taken.

      • Thanks Dal,
        No, I have just been taking a break from the Chase to focus on my friends and family, and work is busy for me this time of year. I half expected somebody to find my trove by now….I am certainly happy that they have not….As this means they most likely aren’t in my area.

    • Hello again Michael D – we missed you, and thanks for advocating on my behalf. Although, in this case Donna is correct. Wrong is wrong, I should have been more mindful of sharing in Germanguys bliss on a different page. No disrepect was intended. Thanks for proper etiquette reminder Donna.

      • Nor didn’t mean to sound so witchy, didn’t realize it was from 2007. I apologize Gguy. I “ass”umed it was recent and was shocked is all! Thank you for your mature response Nor! XO. Donna
        Thanks for setting me straight, Michael D!

  23. I thought he had already passed away earlier but I think we all forgot. Forrest has memories of all of his friends and family and certain situations that happened long ago and makes them seem like they happened just yesterday. On another wild note, what has anyone come up with for a solve pertaining to the Marvel comics? I might have something on names of characters and coordinates if done properly. I have not had a lot of time lately to really delve into this solve but to me an my crazy imagination; it does seem plausable.I will let all know if it Pans out and I have another state and am checking into a location that is pretty out there but it can sort of feed into all Mr. F’s. thinking and clues!! It is about the Grapette bottle caps and other clues sprinkled through out his scrapbooks. Words with twofold meanings and a place that is tristate but not to far to walk. How does that sound? Crazy or sly like a fox……. Come on guys and Gals let me know what you all think and are ya’ll seeing things in a different manner and putting things together to see a Blaze or that No Place for the Meek? All sorts of unusual notions are going through my mind and we all need to think outside of the box to find that particular solve that will lead us down the trail to our very own Home of Brown!!! Does Marvelous Gaze mean: Through The Looking Glass? Look through the Marvel Comics and find a character that has a Marvel Gaze and something will click and lead us to our objective? Come on Join in on the Game and Give me some of ya’ll’s wildest, craziest,out there; intrepretations of the clues and be Brave and Be Bold (does that mean everything in bold type)!! Let yourselves go and lets really discuss this Treasure business and see what shakes out and really truly happens!! Let’s have fun again and Chat like we used to and be light and airy not loud and bossy nor backbiting and critical…..I believe Mr. Fenn wants us to make new friends along the Chase Journey and work together. One of my truly out there solves was a Supta in NM that was founded by Herman Rednick (Redneck) It truly sounds like the place and Mr. Fenn told me himself I needed to be on Medication with this solve. Who knows did he mislead me?? Outwit , Out Last, Out Play does that sound familiar? What do all of Ya’ll Think? Oneday I am going to go back ( very soon mind you) and look deeper into that Supta. It is near Questa and it is called a Whispering communication School!!! How about them apples. I go where all the good finds lead me. Also, did you know that a certain group of jagged stones are called JARS!!!!! Come on now are ya’ll digging like I am? MS. Girl Still in the funny papers and Chasing down the solve to TREASURE BOX ROAD!!!!!!! You are it catch me if you can……

    • Ah Judy MS, love your enthusiasm and wild and crazy ideas which as you say sound sly as a fox. You may well be the one who solves it all and finds f’s treasure. I’m game to help you, but have limited time the next few days to dig for hints or clues. Keep us posted about your Marvel ideas. (now, I’m off to the dentist to be crowned queen for a day)

    • I have a different “solve” and its only partial. I really do think that most of these scrapbooks and posts are riddles. You may well be righter than me or anyone. Kind of drives me nuts like whoa & eh? & que, and what the heck……

  24. Judy,
    I looked into a Marvel comic connection a long time ago and didn’t come up with anything. Things that aren’t spelled out in the poem (e.g. bottle caps, grapette, jars) or alluded to somehow, IMO, are low probability clues. I strive to have a solution that is cohesive from start to finish with ties between each clue…not a loose assortment of disconnected ideas. Call me a poem purist, but my guess is that 98% of the tidbits folks pull out of the book and call a clue are unimportant.

    • Judy, I too have tried the Marvel comics route but could never make it work…maybe my brain is too small! My latest solve attempt is the most compete to date as far as making sense out of every line in the poem backed up by literal meaning and physical features on the ground that are supportted when perusing GE. My latest attempt is very straight forward, but requires a bit of imagination with some of the ground features…kind of like looking for shapes and images in the clouds like we did as kids….oh, and still do today truth be known!

      Specifically regarding “tarry scant with marvel gaze”, my latest attempt means this is the point where you leave the road (i.e. “tartop” referred to in a recent post by Mr. Fenn in reference to Esmerelda…dal’s beast). You then head toward “peace” with marvel gaze. The “marvel gaze” is just as it states and should be majestic although I have not viewed it from this angle before …only viewed it previously from the angle that would have passed the other seven clues just as Mr. Fenn noted with others. At this point I am hiking off-road (tarry scant) and in open terrain without pines (tarry scant) and “going in peace”.

      Well, this is my latest attempt at failure anyway.

      have fun!

  25. Since the “life is a game of poker” poem is in this thread , I chose to post my comment here. Dal, if it should be posted somewhere else, please move.

    Looking up the word “fate” has led me to an interesting fine. If this has already been discussed, please disregard.

    The three goddesses “sisters,” Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. The most interesting is Lachesis. The middle sister that always wore white and is (according to mythology) the determiner of you life span. She did this with a length of string. Which makes me think of Forrest ball of string. This is perhaps why he collected such a large ball of string, hoping for a long life. It seems to be working. Not sure if this has any meaning to the solve or just general information. But thought I would throw it out there.

    • BW – lach also refers to milk which may be tied to gala.tin and possibly to the Milk River/Meeker massacres.

      • What if there is a possibility the location isn’t associated with history? Maybe that’s why you have to follow the poem precisely to get there IMO

  26. Discovering the Poker Poem in the Scrapbooks in late December 2019 with the dawn of 2020 looming… left me with a poker face like poker Joe…

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