[UPDATE 02/07/21: There has been a tragic turn of events for the courthouse.]
The sun was just down when I pulled into Mason, slowly growing darker as I pulled up to the courthouse. Kudos again to the iDevice for taking good low light photos while I walked the grounds. The most interesting thing of note was the ubiquitous memorial to dead soldiers. As I rolled up on its multiple slabs, I saw the list of Confederate Civil War dead. At the bottom was listed Federal Civil War dead. On the other side was listed Texas Revolution, Indian Wars, Mexican War, and Spanish American War dead with other slabs devoted to other, later wars.
I am completely and totally alright with this. No, I’m not truly alright with Confederate stuff, as I have mentioned on several occasions. But this monument is literally for everybody from this county in every war. I can accept this. Not that the county even cares about what I think, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that one, final cache of the day so I can head home.
Mason actually has a decent handful of caches around, but most of them are not what I would consider to be “urban”. At night, that’s a problem. You see, the last thing I want to do is be tromping around looking for micros in trees and brush at night. I have enough trouble with it in daylight. I have a flashlight with me, but it’s not really enough for something like that. Add to it the extra burdens of being in an unfamiliar small town and being black. I don’t really dwell on the fact that I’m black, but it is a fact of life and, as I have mentioned at times, there are certain caches I avoid out of fear that someone will think I’m doing something criminal and call the cops, or decide to take care of it themself, which seems more likely in a small community where police response might be incredibly slow in relation to possible threat. As many cops will tell you, when seconds count, they’ll be there in minutes.
The first cache I tried for was in a nearby park at the edge of the town library. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell if it was at the foot of a tree or a wall since it was full on dark and my flashlight was inadequate to the task. And it was hidden by That Guy. Maybe I’m just not hip to his hiding style. So I attempted one nearby, also placed by That Guy, but near a historic building. When I got there, I found a guy there with a metal detector. Being a strange black guy approaching him in the dark, I chose to make my presence known. He was pretty polite and genial so I explained what I was doing there. He was doing a favor for the county clerk. Apparently she had lost her wedding ring (this was eventually deduced after some roundabout talking because he didn’t want to directly give away what he was looking for), but the county judge (the county executive for those of you not from Texas or Alabama) is a very particular about people on the grounds of county property at night so he got direct permission from him to search for her ring that night. I could easily tell that my presence would not be looked upon kindly so I scooted on out of there.
As I started to look for another cache, I actually felt a little bit of anxiety swelling up. I’m not an anxious person by nature, but I was a bit torn between worry about tromping around looking for things in the dark and my desire to not have to come back here again. I tried another at a historical marker but it also turned out to be a micro in a tree. I gave it a very short look before I just got out of there. Through the less than optimal cell connection, I managed to look at a few other caches and they all looked similar. I tried one more. It was in a neighborhood that used to me a small town of its own absorbed into the current town. As I drove up to the GZ, I noticed that the only thing of any note there was a waist high pole sticking out of unmowed ground, so I checked it out. As soon as I got up to it, shown some light, and moved aside the grass, I saw a lone rock and under that rock was a pill bottle! Awesome! I grabbed it and thanked my lucky stars! I cracked it open and signed it. And when I got ready to log it, guess what I saw? The hider was That Guy! Thanks for leaving an easy one for me, dude! I was so happy when I got back in my car to head home and get the heck out of this town! Down the highway I flew, ten counties accomplished, ready to get to my own bed.