As my blog followers already know, during the summer months I am an avid bass fishermen, which is something my wife says keeps me away from the house far beyond a normal husband’s quota. But then winter arrives, and then she is blessed with my presents 24/7. It usually only requires about three weeks for Maxine to begin looking fondly back on those days I was gone fishing. In fact, she starts inventing reasons to get me out of the house, or herself. A fine example is she’s gone to her aunt’s funeral…three times. It was during one of those desperate moments that she suggested another hobby I might try. Metal detecting.
Having enjoyed pushing one around years before, a rare occurrence took place. I actually thought her idea sounded pretty good. It beat the heck out of sending me to the library for some phantom book that didn’t exist, which I thought to be a dastardly ploy. Metal detecting was something I could do during the winter months when our local parks had few visitors. Though I always enjoyed metal detecting, or as I liked to call it, coin and jewelry hunting, (that sounds far more inviting than pull tab, bottlecap, and scrap metal hunting,) I never cared for a bunch of people seeing me doing it. Every time I saw some detector guy sweeping the ground among a gaggle of scantily dressed young ladies, to me the scene had “old fart” written all over it. Okay, I know I’m an old fart. But as I said in an earlier post, I hate looking like one. And then there were those who became irritants.
Many times I would end up with a horde of kids following me around. First watching, then wanting to do the digging. At the first beep they’d be on the ground like starving wolves on a bone, dirt and grass flying. Of course after they were done I was left with the necessary formality of mending the dug area from the ravages of these little human rototillers. And then they would become more brazen, figuring if they dug it, then it was theirs, greedily shoving the dirty coins in their pockets without asking. More than once I pondered the idea that a metal detector would also make a fine club. And then there were some who have no idea what I was doing. Once an elderly lady approached me with a small rat of a dog cradled in her arms. She wanted to know if whatever I was spraying on the ground would be harmful to her pet.
I always save the jewelry and older coins, every four or five years cashing them in for scrap gold and silver, which, by the way, is quite lucrative right now. But the newer coins means nothing other than something to spend. Now the older silver coins made before 1965 are truly coated in silver and pop out of the ground looking as shiny as they day they were lost. Newer coins, on the other hand, being clad in cheaper metals, come out of the ground dark and ugly, and sometimes pitted. This transformation can take place in less than a year from being lost. I try desperately to mix them with the rest of my pocket change so as not to be too obvious. But I still get strange stares from those behind the counter when they stop to study the grundgy little round objects to whether they truly are money.
No one has a clue to how much metal trash is in the ground until one swings a metal detector. I don’t know what happened to the man who invented the old disposable pull tabs on soda cans, though I am sure he has passed on by now. But my guess is the moment he arrived at his heavenly destination he was forcibly ushered to another location by an angry mob of deceased metal detectorists. Discarded pull tabs are everywhere, and are a pain! Bottle caps are not far behind.
As far as medals, I don’t need any. I’ve now found six “Good Conduct” medals, two “Marksmanship” medals, three “Pilot’s Wings” medal, and one Word War Two “Glider Pilot” medal. And as far as the old saying, “Finders keepers, losers weepers,” that only applies until I return home. Six of the rings I found are now in my wife’s jewelry box.