Nothing was open yet when we arrived in Oatman, but the door to the Olive Oatman Restaurant was open, so we went in. A man with a salt and pepper pony tail and beard was sitting at one of the tables, with his dog Bun sitting in a chair beside him. He turned out to be Lee Kent, who said he owns the restaurant. I introduced myself and we got to talking.
I used to live here, I told him. I came with Boone and Shorty and had two little red haired boys. "Oh yes!" he said, "I remember the boys! Cutest things, running around town. My wife and I got such a kick out of them!" (I found out later he came to Oatman after I left; must have been some other boys--either that or he was messing with me. I left in 1982 or '83. And I never let my boys run around town anyway.)
"What do you hear from Boone?" Lee asked. "I bought fire agate from him sometimes."
Boone, Shorty's brother, was the very picture of an old time prospector. He would get a grubsteak together--that is he would persuade someone to loan him money for food--and walk up into the hills to the fire agate claim. He would be gone about a week, and come back down with as much fire agate as he could carry in his backpack. He'd sell enough to pay off his debts and get roaring drunk with the rest. After a few days or weeks, he'd get enough money scraped together for another trip up to the claim.
He stayed with us between trips to the claim, but he never ate with us. I guess he was able to keep himself fed, anyway.
Lee hadn't heard that Boone died a few years ago.