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That’s a Lota Treasure!

In SFR’s new humor column, Forrest Fenn pulls a fast one

May 30, 2013, 10:00 pm

I just can’t believe something this exciting is happening to me.---

For some time, folks around Santa Fe have been looking for the fabled Forrest Fenn Treasure, the stuff dreams are made of. Who would have guessed that I would be the one to find it, sitting on a picnic table here at Lotaburger?

But let me back up for a minute, in case you’re a hermit who has been in a coma.

Forrest Fenn is this former Santa Fe art dealer who claims he hid a fortune in gold, jewelry and artifacts, and that the bounty belongs to the person who finds it.

This isn’t just a local thing. Treasure hunters are streaming in from all over to look for it, and the story has gone national. My own sister, who lives in Kentucky, asked if she could come here and dig up my back yard.

What we think we know for sure about Fenn’s treasure is murky, at best.

Maybe the treasure is buried, maybe it isn’t.

Maybe it’s in New Mexico, maybe it isn’t.

Maybe you can get to it without being eaten by a mountain lion or beaten senseless by the greedy IRS, or maybe you can’t.

Fenn himself has remained mum about the treasure—unless you count, you know, regular interviews with The Today Show, Good Morning America and stuff like that.

Oh, and did I mention he also wrote a book, The Thrill of the Chase? It includes a poem riddled with clues, supposedly telling searchers all they need to know to find it.

Indeed, I can now reveal that it was a devilishly clever hint in Fenn’s own poem that successfully led me to the treasure:

Now, venture to the canyon home,
Too far to walk, and then you’ve gotta
Read this really stupid poem,
And eat the burger they call “Lota”...

So here I sit, chewing my hamburger and wondering what I will find in this old Kiwi shoeshine box by the Lotaburger napkin holder.

The handwritten label says, “Forrest Fenn’s Actual Treasure.” Gosh, it seems like somebody would have noticed that before now.

With trembling hands I lift the lid.

Huzzah! The box brims with shiny baubles and geegaws from an exotic-sounding place called, uh, the Five and Dime General Store!

Wait a minute. Bracelets and rings so skillfully crafted that you can adjust the size yourself? And here’s a necklace with a $1.99 price tag changed by hand to $999,999.00?

Really, Forrest? You old rascal, you’ve just been having fun with us all along, haven’t you? This is your big treasure? Barbie’s jewelry box?

Still, it gives me an idea, and Santa Fe Reporter readers can help.

Everybody who reads this column should go to one of the 622 flea markets and thrift shops in Santa Fe and buy the cheesiest junk you can find. Knick-knacks, tchotchkes, lava lamps—a grotesque assortment of vintage crap worthy of Boo Radley himself.

Then, cram the stuff in some old box, scrawl a crude “Forrest Fenn” on the outside, hide it someplace, and wait for the fun to start. Imagine hundreds, maybe thousands of these “treasures” being found by excited adventurers!

As for me, I’m going to hide my newfound “treasure” again, on that miraculous staircase at Loretto Chapel. That’s my spot. You find your own.

Maybe old Forrest did leave us a treasure, after all. The treasure of zany practical joking on a massive scale.

And what could be a better gift than that?

Robert Basler worked for Reuters in the US and Asia as an editor, reporter, manager and blogger. He now lives in Santa Fe with his wife, and way too many rescued dogs and cats. Blue Corn appears twice a month. Email the author:


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