The whistle blows and everyone in the factory gets to go home in Baxter Springs, Kansas. Three of said workers at this steel factor were young boys from the near-by town of Greans. These boys were well on their way into manhood, but they had not seen much of the world outside these two towns and they still loved to play. So, on the way home, they stopped to explore the caves some – as many young men would.
One of the young men, Billy, tripped over a large rock of some kind, whilst they were all playing. He took the rock to the front of the cave to look at it and saw that it was large, transparent, and glowed! All three boys thought it was quite the neat discovery; Billy even rushed home to show his mother!
Billy’s mother, Samantha, had been in this town since she was a little girl – when her parents moved themselves and her out to the West. She had always been raised to be a mother and a sensible woman. When Billy brought home the great rock, Samantha thought for just a second that it had to be a diamond! But then she thought back on the town’s history.
Samantha remembered how just a few years ago, the townspeople all believed that the train going into Baxter Springs would bring more people and business into their small town as well! But, as the train never had a station built in Greans, it only stopped in Baxter Springs, thus only Baxter Springs benefitted from its creation.
The people of Greans have been greatly disheartened by the lack of growth in the town, since then. Their town only began to deteriorate, and those who dreamed of leaving the steel factory were still stuck working there; even all the farmers from the town had to move their homes closer to the train station, in order to stay productive and relevant in the free-market.
So, like anyone in the town of Greans, Samantha was quite slow to hope in anything. She figured this rock could not possibly be what she originally considered; however, she still took it to the town jeweller to see if maybe it was at least worth a little something that might could help her family out financially. This family was quite poor, this was why Billy had to work in the factory at such a young age.
The jeweller was thrilled to inform Samantha and her husband that the rock was indeed a sizeable diamond that Billy had stumbled upon! Billy did not quite understand the value of the rock; but, when he saw his parents return home as excited as they were, he knew that he would be returning the next day to look for more such rocks!
When Billy did return the next day, he found that there were many others also in the cave. Someone had overheard Samantha, her husband, and the jeweller’s conversation about where they found the diamond, so he told others and they told more – the whole town ended up flooding the caves looking for more.
By the end of one week, a vast majority of the townspeople gave up on their endeavours here. They gave up either because they never found any more diamonds or because they found the diamonds but were not equipped to mine them out for themselves. All of those who gave up felt like this was the same story as when the train tracks were built through town – this discovery would ultimately only help others and be a let-down for all of them.
There were some men in town who were equipped to mine the caves, however. Eight young men went in equipped and mapped out all of the caves. They did plenty of research and made many discoveries. These men planned to petition a mining company to come in and buy the caves. This would bring in business to the town and the company could equip everyone in town to help mine – or so these men told their fellow townsmen. However, even with all their work and research, these men never saw a single diamond for themselves, nor was the town able to benefit from their work at all.
Another man from the town, Larry, owned a near-by mill. He found one of the cave entrances right next to his land and ventured in to discover coal and even some lead in said cave. He staked a claim on the land, got equipment for mining, and became quite wealthy by mining out the coal and lead – selling them to the near-by factory and the company that owned the train. Larry had a wife and five kids, whom he was supporting. This discovery had benefitted their family amazingly, but Larry and his family would never see a single diamond.
Finally, there was Joshua. He made a small journey to check out the caves, he bought equipment, he found diamonds, staked the land, and became very wealthy. Joshua lived alone but he loved a good days work. He even moved his home to be closer to his small, diamond mine. He was working factory shifts in Baxter Springs, but now he was free. This discovery did quite well for him and the town. What he found enabled the town to get noticed by the mining companies and eventually those companies would buy out the caves and create many jobs for the townspeople of Greans.
However, there was still one family who benefitted more financially from the caves than even Joshua. See, until the mining companies came and bought the caves, Billy would continue searching the caves everyday after work. He would go through what Larry, the coal and lead miner, threw out with his rocks and Billy found many small diamonds there. Larry stopped looking for diamonds and so he did not notice what he was throwing out.
Billy also went through Joshua’s rock pile. It turns out that Joshua threw out many of the smaller diamonds, for he did not think they were worth his troubles. The smaller rocks that Billy came home with, sold for less because they were smaller. And, because they cost less, the town jeweller was able to sell more of Billy’s rocks than Joshua’s larger diamonds. So, Samantha’s simple little family would benefit more from the caves of diamonds than anyone else in the whole town.
Billy only ever understood that these rocks he brought home made his mother smile; he never quite realized their real value, for the value of the rocks is never what concerned young Billy.
We all will encounter diamonds in our lives of some sort. We are left to decide if we will be equipped to mine them, if we will settle for less than them, if we will throw them out for something larger, or if we will chase them all – so long as they bring joy to those around us.