The Gambler II
Arthur G. Finch
Age Rating: 13 +
Is it possible to win?
Be sure to read the Gambler, before Gambler II
A thriving young farmer sat in the shade,
Reading a newspaper, he was afraid.
The harvest promised him the richest yield,
Yet, it was a gamble when all revealed.
He read of explosion on Sally Jane,
Steamboat on the river. nothing regained!
A million in gold, the newspaper read,
Over a hundred dead, the story said.
He walked ‘round his home that was made of sod,
Examined his equipment, sighed a nod.
Sat on a barrel, with a stick in hand,
Scratched on the floor, it was made of sand.
Again and again, throughout the dark night,
He figured and scribbled by lantern light.
All the things he thought, and at college taught,
His department math and physics, he sought.
When morning broke, he was half way to town,
All in double wagons, and loaded down.
Stopped at various stores, traded for needs,
With thoughts of Indians, bargained for beads.
At last at the river, he chose his site,
Made up his mind to try. buy, die, or fight.
He chose this stretch of river and sandbar,
Went to the courthouse, kept deed in a jar.
Built a jetty called it, a landing pier,
Disguised as a trading post for people near.
On the sandbar poured concrete casings deep,
To mount a derrick lifting boom complete.
He implied, ‘twas for cargo, for his store,
To unload freight from the steamboats to shore.
Finding the sunken boat’s safe did not say,
But labored, he did, from day unto day.
First the pier, then the big derrick and boom,
He moved all the gold in fog and deep gloom.
And buried the boat’s safe under the store,
Encased in cement beneath the stone floor.
The trading post hid it, secured his wealth,
His only concern, the state of his health.
With the trading post finished and well stocked,
He sat on the porch in a chair that rocked.
Soon a small village surrounded the store,
And the population grew more and more.
And suggested a town with his own name,
He too, a gambler, but it wasn’t the same.
He worked very hard; make his luck come true!
Then one day, a teacher came into view.
His first glimpse of her was along the pier,
He removed his hat, grinning ear to ear
She was a darlin’, and smart as a whip,
She walked with rhythm away from the ship.
Stopped at the store, enquired of room and board,
“You’re lucky, young lady, your things are stored!”
“But you never mentioned about the cost.”
“Ma’am, for teachers, it’s free,” his fingers crossed.
“What a quaint custom, free rooms and with meals.
There’s something about this place that appeals.”
He stammered, “Ma’am you’ll fix your food yourself,
Anything you want you’ll find on the shelf.”
“That’s even better, your kitchen, I’ll share?”
She found her rooms, three, and said, “I declare!”
A bedroom, a study, and sitting room,
And then when alone she began to groom.
She had a fireplace in her room to sleep,
A water pump and outside bleating sheep.
She opened a window, the sun had set,
She enjoyed the gloaming, the best was yet.
The moon was full, her heart leapt in her breast,
When she heard him singing, it was the best.
The two fell in love that very first night
Although unaware, their future was bright.
They spoke the first time of love and marriage.
Driving to church in a fancy carriage.
Material for her dress silks and lace,
And all that surrounded her lovely face.
It all came from far away Spain and France,
She dressed like a queen, each week for the dance.
Their marriage, a fairytale from a book,
Her students designed the church like a brook.
There were ferns, a waterfall and a stream,
A paper unicorn from a child’s dream.
The teacher followed the children’s wishes,
Finger paints made them flowers and fishes.
Preacher and visitors, were delighted!
Even over pious were excited.
They took a steamboat down to New Orleens,
Lived in the French quarter like kings and queens.
Then off to Europe, under steam and sail,
At the harbor, Versailles, they landed, well.
No seasickness, nor problems, all went fine!
Enchanted, enamored, they went to dine.
Seduced by the views and the restaurant,
They set out together to continue their jaunt.
Throughout all of Europe, like a whirlwind,
They observed it all in eloquence, then…
One day she felt movement, she was with child,
She requested to return home, the weather was mild.
The return was lovely, spring filled the air,
They sat in the sunshine on a deck chair.
Arrived in Big Easy , took a steamboat,
They rounded the bend, a lump in their throat!
A site to see, their home, burned to the ground,
However, the pier and derrick looked sound.
Leaving the boat, and crossing the long pier.
Met by insurance agents, “Glad you’re here!”
“Less than a month after your departure,
A great storm occurred destroyed your structure.
You had the foresight, to insure your home,
It will be rebuilt, ev’ry stick and stone.
Your store inventory will be replaced,
Including, of course to the last shoelace.
Arthur Stone turned to his beloved wife,
“Remember c’est la vie or so is life?”
They kissed each other with a warm embrace,
And they said, “We’ll build in another place.
Who owns that property upon yon hill?”
“The bank owns that land, do you want to build?”
“How much do you want for the whole hillside?”
“Twenty dollars per acre, it’s our pride,
You may have it for ten, if you desire.”
“Have you a thousand acres, I require?”
“We do sir, I’ll handle it right away!”
“Just one other question to ask today,
It’s about bank stock, any salable?”
“Yes, fifty two percent available.
There are many others that want that stock,
But without money, no deal can we lock”
“How much the fifty-two controlling shares?”
Three quarter-million in paper, we care.”
Or half-million in bullion or gold coins.”
“I’ve millions in bars and coins in my loins.
Get the police and ten men with shot guns,
And then twenty others ready to run.
Open the bank at the crack of the dawn.
With twenty wheel barrows out on the lawn.
We’ll meet at the bank and get our work done.”
With the breaking of dawn, they worked as one.
The final certified count at the bank,
Over five million gold from the boat’s tank.
Now, with the five million locked in the vault,
The ten shotguns guarded against onslaught.
The boat’s gold, subject to maritime law,
Goes to whomever retrieves it, that saw,
The opportunity and paid the cost.
As the new banker before it was lost!
The trading post built and home on the hill,
The Arthur Stones felt winter’s first chill.
Their homes new furniture came from abroad,
No one aware how Arthur kicked and clawed.
Success comes to those who willingly work,
Whether Indian chief or dime-store clerk.
Arthur and Margaret Stone were teachers,
Their lives made up of facets and features.
The two were willing to work for their bread,
The gambler had rather shoot dice instead.
The fable of the grasshopper and ant,
Tell the story of two who can or can’t!
Ant had the plan, store food, and eat you can.
While grasshopper played and he had no plan,
Winter came to the land and called the game.
He’d gambled with his life, and lost the same.