RICHARD EEDS: Always a good day when we get to see our buddy, Forrest Fenn

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27-05-2016 Click Here
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Radio transcript from Richard Eeds Show podcast on interview with Forrest Fenn (Video begins at the 1:57 mark) RICHARD EEDS: Always a good day when we get to see our buddy, Forrest Fenn. Forrest is here. We’re going to talk about a few things. Ummm, and including something called FennFest. Mr. Fenn, how have you been?

FORREST FENN: I’m fine but, people haven’t called me Mr. Fenn in a long time.

EEDS: Well you are Mr. Fenn.

FENN: Thank you, sir.

EEDS: You’re a good man. How are you?

FENN: Well I’m hanging on.

EEDS: Yeah? Hanging on to what?

FENN: Anything I can grab!

EEDS: A root?

FENN: I’m 85 years old. Everytime I wake up, I’m thankful.

EEDS: Yeah, but you look good. You look healthy.

FENN: Well, thank you. I hope - I am healthy, I think.

EEDS: You came down here by yourself today, or did someone drop you off?

FENN: No, I drove my own car.

EEDS: So, uh, that’s a warning. (laughing) I’ll let you know when Forrest is headed out. You a good driver?

FENN: I’m a good driver. I haven’t had a speeding ticket in 50 years.

EEDS: Really. What other kinds of tickets did you get?

FENN: Don’t talk to me about parking through.

EEDS: Yeah. (laughter) Got a few of those out there? What are you driving these days? You got a modern car or your old classic car?

FENN: My old Jeep?

EEDS: Yeah? How old? Is it a Willy’s?

FENN: It’s about 5 or 6 years old.

EEDS: Oh, okay.

FENN: I lose track of time.

EEDS: You still have the first car you had?

FENN: I have a 1935 Plymouth. It’s the brother of the car that I bought when I was 16 years old.

EEDS: That's great. In Georgia, right?

FENN: In Atlanta, Georgia.

EEDS: Alright. Ummm, FennFest. Tell us about FennFest. What is FennFest?

FENN: You mean Fennborree?

EEDS: Fenborree! I’m sorry. I’ve been calling it FennFest.

FENN: Fennboree is a thing that -

EEDS: I renamed it!

FENN: - a couple of gals in Albuquerque are putting on. Stephanie Meachamum, Sasha Johnson, and it’s gonna be on the 3rd and 4th of June. I guess next weekend.

EEDS: That’s next weekend.

FENN: And I think they are expecting something like 200 people there. Up Hyde Park Road in the Forest Service Recreation Area.

EEDS: So next weekend. Here in Santa Fe. Up in Hyde Park.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Alright. Is it, uh, are the details anywhere online? On your website - on the uh…

FENN: Well the uh,

EEDS: The Trading Post website?

FENN: If you go to there’s a place up at the top that tells you all about it. D-a-l-n-e-i-t-z-e-l dot com.

EEDS: He does all your websites -

FENN: It’s dedicated to my treasure chest.

EEDS: Right, right. He was on the show last time you were here.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Yeah. Um, alright. I got an email a little while ago from Tomas Leach. Remember him?

FENN: Oh yeah. From London.

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: He’s a good guy. Tomas.

EEDS: Yeah. Very nice. Very pleasant fellow. He was here making a documentary about it. So I emailed him this morning. You know, what’s going on? What’s the status? Do you have anything new? So, he just emailed me back a little while ago, Forrest. He said the film is called, “The Lure.” And now it’s the the final sound and music mix. Will be premiering the film in the fall at film festivals before releasing it in theaters. I can’t make it on - I actually invited him to call in and chat with us, uh, this morning. He said, “I’d love to come back when the film is out, especially when we bring it to Santa Fe. Send the best and my best to Forrest and you also.” He also adds a little a P.S. down here - that Ivan cut out of the film All of this stuff I did ended up on the cutting room floor.

FENN: Well he wanted to upgrade

EEDS: Exactly. Thank you, Forrest. Um, aright. Before we get into, and I said I was going to bend your fingers back, or I was going to torture you or somehow to make you tell me, and only me where the treasure chest is. Um, the story is, and I know - this you probably took personally, a man who was searching for the treasure was in New Mexico, who vanished. As far as I know, no trace. I mean there have been traces but he has not been found, correct?

FENN: He’s not been found since - not been heard of since the 5th of January.

EEDS: Right. And the last I heard, Forrest, maybe you have newer information, is that a backpack, a blue backpack was found up near Bandelier. And it didn’t make any sense to me because it was found up on a cliff and in a scree field… It’s like - Forrest is not going to climb up something like that even a few years ago, I don’t think, to hide the treasure chest. Uh, was the backpack ever identified as being his, was it confirmed?

FENN: I don’t think so. The Police are holding that information pretty close to their chest, but I really don’t know what’s going on. It seems to be - everybody seems to have a different opinion, but something very mysterious has happened to him.

EEDS: Really?

FENN: I think so.

EEDS: Think so?

FENN: I mean, they’re not putting out any information, which makes me suspicious already.

EEDS: Is the, um, is the search continuing? I know his ex-wife, right? His ex-wife was continuing the search. Asking people to volunteer.

FENN: You know, I really don’t know. I don’t know why anybody would continue to search in there. I spent nine hours flying up and down in a helicopter flying up and down that - 18 miles and

EEDS: Of the canyon?

FENN: Of the canyon, yeah. From Buckman road all the way down to Cochiti Lake and we couldn’t find anything. But there are guys out there with drones and nothing turned up. Then all of the sudden this backpack shows up where -

EEDS: Up near Bandelier.

FENN: Up near Bandelier, yeah.

EEDS: Right. Is there any chance this is another, I don’t know - you know, just another mystery or another uh, effort, uh, I don’t know… I’ll just leave it at that. I know you don’t want to go there because I don’t know, but it is a sad story if the family never gets any closure.

FENN: Well, everybody has a different idea, you know. The guy could be in Tijuana sipping tequila with his girlfriend for all I -

EEDS: That’s where I was going. I don’t know so I didn’t want to… Alright how many people? How many people do you expect? How many people around Santa Fe? Now that the weather’s good will people come out of the forest or come to New Mexico, or come to Yellowstone, or come to wherever searching for your treasure?

FENN: Well, I spent some time thinking about that. And up until this coming summer there have been about 65,000 people out looking for the treasure and thankfully that’s parents taking their kids out of the game room and away from their texting machines and experiencing the national forests and the mountains. It’s a good thing.

EEDS: Which some people say is, was your intent. That’s the real treasure that your hinting at.

FENN: That’s correct.

EEDS: Your granddaughter, who was here the first time you came into the show, and I questioned it. I don’t know if this is actually a real treasure or an imaginary treasure or a metaphorical treasure, but when your granddaughter was here, when she came, you know, she convinced me. Just the look on her face. Recounting. You know, she knows a lot of these pieces that you say are inside of the chest.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: It’s not just, you know, it’s not just bullion or coins, there’s a lot of cool stuff you put in there.

FENN: Well there’s pre-Columbian gold artifacts and 2,000 year old necklaces and bracelets and ancient Chinese carved jade figures. It’s wonderful.

EEDS: Alright before we get into some of the “what’s in the treasure chest” - For people listening that don’t know the story, how did this - I don’t want to go all the way back, because in the past we’ve gone all the way back: Vietnam and prior to that when you met your wife, and Georgia and Texas and all of that, and why you came to Santa Fe. Um, but let’s go back to the poem. Where can people find the poem?

FENN: The poem is printed in my book, “The Thrill Of The Chase.” And they can buy it at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. As a matter of fact, that’s the only place they can buy it.

EEDS: Not online?

FENN: Online they can get it from Amazon, but Amazon gets it from the bookstore.

EEDS: Okay. So Collected Works is the best -

FENN: Collected Works Bookstore.

EEDS: Uhh, what is the poem?

FENN: Well, there are nine clues in the poem. And if you can follow the clues, one right after the other, it will take you to the treasure chest.

EEDS: If you can follow the clues.

FENN: There’s a big “if” there. It’s not easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. People have been within 200 feet that I know for sure because they tell me where they are.

EEDS: Well that’s a clue right there. Who?

FENN: Well you better get out in the mountains then, Richard.

EEDS: Alright, now, Forrest I’ve read this poem. You know, and, it seems to me, to my mind Forrest, how long did it take you to write it? It is very complex. It is very well put together, it is, you know, in terms of just being a poem, in terms of being a kind of literature it’s very impressive. But in terms of being part of a treasure hunt it’s even more impressive. How long did it take you?

FENN: I worked on it on and off for fifteen years, Richard.

EEDS: Okay

FENN: And I looked up words, definitions of words, and changed them, and went back and rebooted. I’m very pleased. It turned out exactly like I wanted it to turn out.

EEDS: As difficult as it as you wanted it to be right?

FENN: The results are what I wanted out of that poem.

EEDS: Is it fair? Do you think somebody will try hard enough, search hard enough, search long enough that they can find the chest?

FENN: It’s not a matter of trying. It’s a matter of thinking. Read the poem. Read the book, because there are some hints in the book that will help you with clues in the poem. But sure, people have figured the first couple of clues and unfortunately walked right past the treasure chest.

EEDS: So people have - and people contact you probably on a daily basis -

FENN: I get a hundred emails a day.

EEDS: Through your email. People show up at your house unfortunately. People contact Dal and through the website. Actually the last time, the two of you were here, I got a bunch of emails from overseas and I probably goofed a little bit and told - sent some people some links to things that were maybe not 100% fair. I was just trying to get them off my back and back onto you. So, people who have contacted you, there have been people who have been very, very close.

FENN: Very little close. They

EEDS: Ooooh. Do you tell them?

FENN: No, I don’t tell them that they’re close. I couldn’t afford to do that, but some of the emails I get are wonderful. I got one from this little girl in Philadelphia I think, she said, “Mr. Fenn if I find the treasure, do I have to share it with my brother?” So, you know, I tell myself that, the treasure chest story is doing what I want it to do. Getting kids out and thinking and planning and there are clubs in schools all over this country called The Thrill Of The Chase Club and kids are getting organized and trying to find out where the treasure is, and this summer they’re going to get on the bus and go look for it.

EEDS: Alright be back with Forrest after this timeout. It’s 19 minutes after nine. He will tell me where the chest is - or else. Nineteen minutes after nine o’clock. Our guest is the great Forrest Fenn. Treasure writer-er-er-er and the keeper of the clues. Twenty minutes after nine. Be right back. KVSF the voice of Santa Fe. We podcast. If you think there might be clues in this interview, find the podcast at I’m not going to tell you any more than that.

EEDS: (note: 15:06 mark) Forrest Fenn is our guest. Talking about his treasure chest and the treasure hunt, and uh, his poem which - I don’t know. I think it may be impossible to solve this darn thing, but I guess I just gotta get out in the mountains or somewhere and start looking for this darn thing. Could be anywhere… What do you say, from Santa Fe to, to…

FENN: Canadian Border

EEDS: Canadian Border, yeah.

FENN: In the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.

EEDS: And a lot of people like, like looking around Yellowstone because you have a history with Yellowstone. You’ve been there many times as a younger man and so a lot of people are like, “Oohhh that’s where he put it.”

FENN: Well I spent the first 18 uhh, first 20 summers up in Yellowstone Park for three months each summer. My father was a schoolteacher. We had the summers off.

EEDS: Why Yellowstone? Why was he drawn to Yellowstone?

FENN: Well my father was a fisherman and his father-in-law was up there and everything just tied up and we fell in love with that place and I’m the only one left in my family but I’m carrying on my love for Yellowstone.

EEDS: A lot of fond memories of uh

FENN: Oh yeah

EEDS: As a youngster up there?

FENN: Oh yeah.

EEDS: Those stick with you.

FENN: They stay forever, yeah. I was a fishing guide at age 13 up in Yellowstone.

EEDS: Giving other people the -

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: So they experience the magic of Yellowstone.

FENN: I used to know every fish in that whole country.

EEDS: Uhhhh, caught your first fish where? First fish, ever.

FENN: My first fish ever was down in Temple, Texas. A little creek - fishing with worms and a bobber. A little catfish about six inches long.

EEDS: Proud though weren’t you?

FENN: Oh yeah. Sure.

EEDS: makes you happy.

FENN: I tried to have it mounted, but my father wouldn’t go for that.

EEDS: Dad, can we stuff it? Well, when you get a bigger one (laughter). Or when you get bigger. I remember catching - as I recall, it was a German Brown Trout up at Eagle’s Nest. And it was a big deal!

FENN: It is a big deal.

EEDS: Alright, uh, what’s in the chest? Give us an idea. You know, I tried to put a value on it and you said there’s no point.

FENN: There are 20.2 Troy pounds of gold in that chest. 265 gold coins. Most of them double eagle american coins.

EEDS: Are they more valuable to melt down or as a coin?

FENN: No, you don’t melt those things down. They have numismatic value. But there is 265 rubies and emeralds and diamonds and sapphires and there’s hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets. Two of the gold nuggets are larger than a chicken egg. They weigh over one Troy pound each. And that’s a pretty big nugget.

EEDS: That’s a big nugget. Where’d you get them? Where’d you find the nuggets? I mean - most of these things, you acquired over a lifetime right? I mean, you had a trading post, you know your art - art dealer...

FENN: When I decided I was going to hide this chest, I went out looking for things you know. I wanted - it had to be small because the chest is not really big.

EEDS: Yeah. It’s not. Yeah.

FENN: But you find gold nuggets at gun shows and arrowhead shows and you know

EEDS: As big as a chicken egg?

FENN: Well that’s unusual, yeah sure.

EEDS: You stole them out of some museum didn’t you?

FENN: Well I would have to have!

EEDS: Are you a wanted man? Have you ever seen the gold nugget up at the uhh… Natural History Museum in Denver?

FENN: Oh yeah. They have a great collection of gold nuggets.

EEDS: Big as a football!

FENN: Well sure. Larger than that.

EEDS: Alright so there’s raw gold. There’s gold coins. There’s precious stones. Did you acquire the stones over years?

FENN: That’s right. And every wonderful thing that I had that was small enough to fit in that chest, that’s where I put it.

EEDS: And there are some - i mean there are kind of some heirlooms in there as well, right?

FENN: Well it’s a personal thing with me. When I had the chest almost full, I told myself, you know, I want to put something in there that’s personal. I want to put some of me into this chest. And I had this wonderful little bracelet that Richard Weatherall - made of prehistoric beads. Richard Weatherall found at Mesa Verde the first time he ever climbed down into that ruin. It was made into -

EEDS: He’s not the cowboy that - I mean the guys on the cattle drive that crossed the plateau?

FENN: He’s the one that discovered Mesa Verde.

EEDS: Wow. I think there might be some Indians that might differ with that opinion, but… So he’s the first white man? Cowboy right?

FENN: Well, well, I wasn’t there at the time, but you’re in the ballpark.

EEDS: So he found this?

FENN: He found 22 little turquoise disc beads the first time he ever climbed down into Mesa Verde.

EEDS: Right.

FENN: And a couple years later, an Indian working for him made a bracelet out of those 22 beads and then many many years later I won it a pool game with a nephew of Byron Harvey.

EEDS: Really?

FENN: Yeah.

EEDS: So you’re a pool shark? Fats Domino. Minnesota Slim.

FENN: You just have to be good enough to win, that’s all.

EEDS: Where was this? Where was this pool game?

FENN: It was in Scottsdale, Arizona.

EEDS: And you won this - bracelet or necklace?

FENN: In a pool game with Byron Harvey. Yeah.

EEDS: Wow. That's pretty cool!

FENN: I was surprised it fit me perfect and I hated to put it - I’ve said over and over whoever finds that treasure chest, bring that bracelet back to me and I’ll buy it. I’ll give a good price for that bracelet.

EEDS: Right. Your, uh, granddaughter, when she was here with you, Forrest, she brought up something. It was a piece of jewelry. An heirloom of some kind that was really stuck in her mind. It was for some reason special to her. I don’t remember what it was though.

FENN: Maybe it was that bracelet. Probably was.

EEDS: Could have been that bracelet. There was something in there that was - and it was the look in her eye that her remembering that piece that I THINK convinced me that this whole thing is on the up and up.

FENN: She has appreciation for fine things.

EEDS: Well she’s your granddaughter.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: How is she?

FENN: She’s fine.

EEDS: She went off to Lubbock for awhile right?

FENN: She graduated from Texas Tech University.

EEDS: God forbid go to Lubbock, Texas. All the family’s good?

FENN: Yeah. They’re all good. Everybody’s working and making a few bucks. That’s what it’s all about. The thrill of the chase, right?

EEDS: It is the thrill of the chase, whatever you're looking for. Any - Stick around a little while longer? I don’t know what your schedule is today. I know you’re a busy man.

FENN: I’ll hang around. I got some hot tea I’m sipping on.

EEDS: Alright. Forrest Fenn is our guest. Always a pleasure to talk to Forrest. Guy is mysterious. He’s always got stories. But you gotta kinda dig them out of him. He ain’t gonna give them up easy. Kinda like the treasure chest. We’ll see what we can do. See if I can get a clue out of him. Thirty-one minutes after nine o’clock. Sandy Brice will be here. Sandy knows Forrest. Actually has stories about Forrest Fenn. As does Kate Collins who was here the other day. She used to type up stuff for you. She was telling me about you Forrest. A lot of women in town have stories about Forrest Fenn. We’ll be right back.

EEDS: (23:00 mark) Thirty-five minutes past nine o’clock. Forrest, did you ever own a mule? You ever had a mule?

FENN: Say that again?

EEDS: Have you ever had a mule?

FENN: I’ve had donkeys. Never had a mule.

EEDS: Yeah?

FENN: Well, I gotta say Richard you got good taste in music.

EEDS: Thank you. Well Taj Mahal played here in Santa Fe last night at the Railyard Farmers Market Pavillion as a benefit for KSFR Radio. I am sure it was a fantastic show. I hope a lot of people attended and they raised a lot of money. Taj Mahal. Great, great musician, and um, big fan of Taj. Met him a few times. Alright. Forrest you told me - I was going to go in a different direction, but you told me that when we came back, you would reveal, if I asked you where the treasure chest is, you’ll tell us.

FENN: So are you gonna ask me?

EEDS: Where is the treasure chest, Forrest Fenn?

FENN: It’s - I’ll tell you exactly where it is Richard. It’s in the Rocky Mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe.

EEDS: And?

FENN: No and. That’s where it is.

EEDS: Now I made the mistake, several times, first two times I think you were here, saying it was buried. And you said, don’t assume it.

FENN: I like you because you’re so easy, Richard.

EEDS: I know. I’m gullible as can be. “Ask me where it is, I’ll tell you Richard.” But, uh, people should not assume that you buried it right?

FENN: Should not assume that I buried it, but you should not assume that I didn’t bury it. I don’t want to give that as a clue.

EEDS: Right. Uh, it could be in a tree trunk. It could be in a cave, with a

FENN: No. I’ve said that it’s not in a cave or a mine. I don’t want people getting killed in the mines.

EEDS: That’s a good point. Yeah, there’s too many unstable mines between here and the Canadian border.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Uhh, um, alright, you’re not a nice man, I’ve decided. Uh, um, the Fennborree

FENN: Fennborree.

EEDS: Fennborree next week up at Fort, uh Hyde Park Road. Details on the Fennborree - on the - on Dal’s website. Once again, what’s the -

FENN: D-A-L-N-E-I-T-Z-E-L dot com.

EEDS: Alright. And he does all the stuff related to the treasure chest.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: And, you know, Forrest, so you can find it if you want. How many people are going to show up for that?

FENN: Well, we don’t know. We don’t have a registration, and I’m not putting it on.

EEDS: Right.

FENN: But I’m guessing, from what emails I’m getting, there should be 200 people or so.

EEDS: Probably all treasure hunters.

FENN: Well I think nearly all of them are, yes.

EEDS: It’s the Fennborree. I’ve been calling it the FennFest, but you should maybe take FennFest and put it in your pocket and use it somewhere down the road. It’s kind of a good name.

FENN: Well

EEDS: Gotta good ring to it.

FENN: Thank you for that clue. Maybe I’ll do that.

EEDS: Yeah, you can have that. Alright, you mentioned, Forrest, that you had an email from a little girl, saying if she found your treasure, does she have to share it with her little brother. Um, first of all what’d you tell her?

FENN: Well, I told her to consult her father on that subject.

EEDS: Okay.

FENN: As I recall -

EEDS: Probably good advice

FENN: I don’t want to cause any disruption in the family.

EEDS: Okay, umm. You get hundreds of emails a day.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: You get them from all over the world.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Has the poem been translated at all?

FENN: Well yes. There have been documents made in four or five different countries, and they read the poem in those languages.

EEDS: Okay

FENN: Two in Japan, I think. Germany and France, sure.

EEDS: And the hunt, and the poem, and you’re extremely popular in the UK. What do you think it is? I mean there’s people in Scotland and England that pestered me after you were on.

FENN: I don’t know but four documentaries have been made by London documentary makers.

EEDS: Including Tomas Leach

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Called “The Lure” which will be out this summer. Final stages. He’s just gotta cut me out of it.

FENN: Well he came from London to Santa Fe four times and interviewed me. He wanted to interview me in all four seasons. I don’t know what that had to do with it, but he must have a plan of some kind.

EEDS: He came by here, and we did a little thing about what this kind of tourism means to Santa Fe and how important you were. If you were a nice man or not. At the time I thought you were. All of these emails - how many do you answer?

FENN: If a person sends me a short email, signs his name and doesn’t ask me questions, usually I’ll respond. But if it’s a long email, I just can’t read them. I just get too many.

EEDS: I agree. You know, why? Keep them short. But you’ve got a soft spot if kids send you emails right?

FENN: Yeah. I love to get emails from kids, and there are a lot of, as I said before, the thrill of the chase clubs in school systems throughout this country, and one in England. They’re trying to figure out where the treasure is, and they’re going to get on a bus this summer and come to the Rocky Mountains and look for the treasure.

EEDS: And you attend some of these? You participate in some of these? Do you also do, uh, like video conferencing with some of the classrooms, something like that? Skype with them?

FENN: That’s right. That’s right.

EEDS: There was a documentary made. You sent me a link I think it was on Discovery Channel maybe? A guy on a motorcycle maybe? Cruising all around Northern New Mexico.

FENN: It was the Travel Channel.

EEDS: Travel Channel. Yeah. It was well done!

FENN: Expedition Unknown.

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: They did 47 minutes on the treasure story.

EEDS: Plus commercials, came out to an hour.

FENN: That’s right. They spent a lot of money on that. They got in helicopters and hot air balloons in Albuquerque and

EEDS: But it was pretty good, and they went up and down the river. Climbed up and down the rocks like south of Taos Gorge. South of the box or something like that. But one of the things that they did and they showed was the family that was going around. A family traveling around in like a minivan with like a metal detector. It was like four teenage girls and - young teenagers and going around all over the place. Man, a couple of times they said, “This is the campground. This is the site where we’re going to find it.”

FENN: “This is exactly where it is!”

EEDS: And they are convinced

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: A lot of people like that.

FENN: And they have a lot of fun, and that’s what it’s all about.

EEDS: And that was the cool thing about that.

FENN: But the treasure chest is out there and its waiting for whoever can figure out the clues.

EEDS: Now you get messages all the time I would imagine from people saying we know and we are 100% certain and it will be revealed very soon. We know where this darn thing is.

FENN: There was a thing - an item on eBay this last week. These two little old ladies found the treasure chest with a metal detector. The ground was frozen so they couldn’t dig it, but they’ll sell the clue to you on eBay starting price of $50,000.

EEDS: Two little old ladies.

FENN: But you could buy it right now for $100,000 to find the spot.

EEDS: Or you have to wait and bid.

FENN: Ebay took it off.

EEDS: Or you can buy the book for how much at Collected Works from Dorothy?

FENN: I think it’s $35.

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: We wanted to price it so that everybody could afford it.

EEDS: So $35 or $100,000. That’s great. Two little old - probably isn’t two little old ladies either. Probably some shady kind of guy somewhere, but you know the story of two little old ladies would touch somebody. Right?

FENN: Some Mafioso someplace.

EEDS: Russian Mafioso somewhere. Um, you uh, you’ve told this story. You told this story many many times. Why you came to Santa Fe, and the story of being shot down twice as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and injured, and you came to Santa Fe and became a well-known and well-off art dealer written all these wonderful art books. The latest one is just absolutely, absolutely gorgeous. Uh, Gaspard, Leon?

FENN: Leon. Biography of Leon Gaspard.

EEDS: Yeah, it is a beautiful book. What is that history - your service, Vietnam, being a fighter pilot, what does that all mean to you when we come to a weekend like Memorial Day and all those, all those brave soldiers who paid the ultimate price up on the National Cemetery?

FENN: It’s hard for me in my mind to realize what’s taken place over the last 85 years, you know? I never did - I don’t feel like I planned anything, things just happened to me and each item passes pretty fast. You know, my military career was 20 years, but I look back at it now and it seems like just yesterday. I don’t know. At age 85 I think your mind starts evolving and looking back and I’m proud of some of the things that I’ve done.

EEDS: Oh I’m sure. I’m sure. I mean you’ve got to be proud of that. You’ve got to be proud that you’ve been married to the same woman for 62 years.

FENN: But you know I think everybody, uh, has those same feelings.

EEDS: Sure. Sure.

FENN: I’m not unique in that sense.

EEDS: But your military service,

FENN: Well I’m proud - I was a fighter pilot for 18 of my 20 years. I was shot down twice in Vietnam, but I -

EEDS: And you survived that!

FENN: And I took battle damage a few times. I lost some roommates and you know I’ve said over and over, we’ve got to start leaving people alone, Richard. I can’t say that often enough.

EEDS: Your thoughts on the President of the United States visiting Vietnam the last few days, and today at Hiroshima.

FENN: Yeah.

EEDS: Pretty historic visits. He’s not the first President to go to Vietnam since the peace. I guess if you can call it that, but he says, you know, we’re going to lift all embargos against Vietnam and, you know, we need to make things right. Not apologizing, but we need to understand the significance of all of these acts of war.

FENN: Well, you know I talked about that some in my book. You’ve got to ask yourself why are we doing those things?

EEDS: Did you ask when you were, early 20’s I assume?

FENN: No. I did what I was told. I was a Major in the Air Force. The President of the United States telling me to go to Vietnam and fight in a war, and I did that. After I came back I realized, why was I over there? Why was anybody in Vietnam? Or Korea? I mean we gotta learn to leave - to stay out of those things.

EEDS: Right. Your, um, your life here in Santa Fe is a good life. Do you love Santa Fe?

FENN: I love Santa Fe. Santa Fe has absolutely everything that I want.

EEDS: And days like this - weekends coming up like this, there’s a lot of people in town, and we get to share it with a lot of people who would give up a lot to live in a town like Santa Fe.

FENN: That’s right. And we got Folk Art Market coming up, and that’s a wonderful thing too.

EEDS: You like that?

FENN: Oh I love it.

EEDS: That’s a great weekend isn’t it? I was out of town. I was in France with my brother summer, but, that is a really good weekend.

FENN: Yeah. It really is.

EEDS: Um, your dabblings in dealing art is books in itself. Why, and you’ve told this story, why, I find it fascinating, why the Russians? Why did you - how did that kind of come about that you became this expert dealer in very fine Russian art?

FENN: Well there’s the famous Taos Society of Artists. There were ten members in that, but the two greatest artists that lived in Taos during those same days were Russian immigrants. Leon Gaspard and Nikolai Fechin. I wrote books about both of them. When you compare the art that they made compared with, uh, the Taos Society of Artists, they’re very favorable. In my opinion, they were better than any of those other artists. A lot of people disagree with me on that, but it was very unlikely that 12 very important international artists would live in a little town in Taos right after the turn of the last century. We’re talking about 19-

EEDS: What are the odds?

FENN: Incalculable.

EEDS: Yeah. Well when was Gaspard in town?

FENN: He moved into Taos - he was shot down in the first world war and he was very seriously hurt, but when he recovered he moved to Taos somewhere like 1919? The war was still winding down. 1919 somewhere around there -

EEDS: First world war.

FENN: Yeah first world war.

EEDS: So he was a fighter pilot as well?

FENN: He was an observer flying in the backseat of this little airplane and it got shot down and they didn’t have parachutes so the pilot is going to crash this airplane into a haystack and Leon Gaspard jumped out at the last minute without a parachute and landed in a mud puddle and was very seri - the pilot was killed and…

EEDS: Wow. So shot down in a Sopwith Camel somewhere.

FENN: There are exciting things out there for you to do, Richard.

EEDS: Yeah, well I don’t want to do that at any point. But so much, Forrest, is coming out. Especially right now. New books, new film Awakening in Taos. All this revival of those years of the Taos artists of the Taos School, uh, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and Georgia O’Keefe and all stories, all those kind of overlapping overlaying stories of Georgia and Mabel and and Taos Pueblo and, you know, Ansel Adams, and all these great stories.

FENN: Well you know, I got three more books in my computer and I don’t think I’m going to finish them, but

EEDS: Do you? You told me the Leon the Gaspard one was the last one. You’re unpredictable.

FENN: Well you can’t write your next one till you finish your last one.

EEDS: That’s true. You’re a crafty man. Alright you wanna, I’m going to let you go. You wanna leave us a clue before you leave?

FENN: The clue is enrich your life and get the kids out of the basement and go out and spend a couple of weeks in the Rocky Mountains and Santa Fe and Yellowstone and every place in between.

EEDS: Could be up in the, uh, what’s that, Rocky Mountain National Monument up in Estes Park.

FENN: I wish you’d not said that.

EEDS: Somewhere up there with those giant bull Elk.

FENN: Animals are wonderful.

EEDS: Forrest, thanks for coming by.

FENN: My pleasure always.

EEDS: Try and stay out of trouble, alright?

FENN: Thank you and invite me back please.

EEDS: Alright. I will! We will be real clear on the day and time. We’ll be back. 10 minutes before nine o’clock. Forrest Fenn. Fennjam - Fennboree. Uhh, next weekend up in Hyde Park. 10 minutes before ten, we’ll be right back.