Sunday, November 24, 2013


The boss at the gold mine was a talker named Sam Sheridan, a man who could tell a joke, shape almost anything that happened to him into a story, and charm investors into putting up cash for any number of his half-baked schemes. But mostly what I remember is his constant patter, the commentary that poured out from him while we worked - always culminating in some claim of universal law, coined for the occasion. As we realigned the rollers on the twenty-foot perforated drum that spiraled out the rocks too big to wash down the sluice, he'd say, "The rule to remember is: When something's broken, first you bang on it a little, then you curse at it a little, and then you go and get a bigger hammer." As we connected the linkage for the vibrating table, he'd explain, "The lesson here is: Some baling wire, some duct tape, and there's nothing you can't patch up."

- From The Christmas Plains by Joseph Bottum 

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