I requested, and the kids got for me, a metal detector as my Father’s Day present last year. Maybe it is a bit nerdy, or kooky, or whatever, but every time the device beeps, it brings alive the chance to discover lost treasure. Perhaps what lies beneath is an old Spanish coin dropped by Hernando de Soto, or a chest full of pirate treasure.
More often than not, it’s just an old bottle top or a tent stake that someone left on the beach.
Such was the story last week as we scanned the beaches of Florida. Beep after beep yielding tent stakes of various design and use, bottle tops from every type of brew, small coins (I’ve never not found money), and the occasional odd item like the bottle opener pictured above. And then Friday happened.
I was trolling down the beach in the early evening, answering the occasional “what’s the greatest thing you’ve ever found?” question, when one of the beach chair guys said, “hey, there’s some people at the other end of the beach who could use your help. They’ve been looking for something for hours.”
I keep scanning, walking in the direction he pointed (there’s only two directions on a beach, right) when another beach chair attendant tells me the same thing. Right after he tells me this, my detector goes off and I find a quarter, because I’ve never NOT found money.
I get to the other end of the beach where the action is and, quite honestly, it looked like a Zen garden. People standing around quietly, watching intently as two men slowly drag a rake across the top of the sun bleached sand. I feel relaxed just thinking about it.
I start talking to a lady who is watching the operation, and she tells me that she took off her rings to put suntan lotion on her kids (don’t judge, you’ve all done it) and she forgot to put them back on. She had moved a couple of times in the afternoon, and shaken the towels, so the search area was quite large.
I started scanning where the guys had been raking. After about 3 minutes of detecting – 3 LONG minutes after I realized that people were watching – I heard a beep. I flipped the switch on the detector to a setting that excludes most trash items and scanned over the spot again. Another beep. OH, it’s getting exciting! I drop down to the sand, drive the sand sifter in and pull up a sifter full of sand, and I start shaking. After all the sand is gone, something metallic is rattling in the scoop. I look in and find….a penny, because I’ve never NOT found money.
I continue to scan the grid for a few more minutes with no results. I’m begging for any beep – even a trash beep would be okay right now – but I get nothing. The owners, tired and sun-baked, make the difficult decision to call the search. If the ring was in the towel and the towel had been shaken, who knows where the rings flew off to. We may not even be looking in the right spot. I give the husband my cell phone number and he said that he’d send me a text so that I could contact him if I happened to find the ring.
The ring owners go up the stairs and the chair attendants fold up the chairs and umbrellas that the family had been using. I decide to scan the area where the chairs were and, after not quite 30 seconds of scanning the area, a quick beep sound. I glance down and see a small silver-gray item just under the sand. I bend down, pinch the item with my thumb and forefinger, and pull from the sand ….
HOLY SMOKES is right! I stand up and double time it back to where we were staying. When I got to the condo, I checked my phone and there was no text message. What if the guy doesn’t text me? I have no way of getting in touch with him. I don’t even know their names, only that they were leaving Saturday to return home.
Then it occurs to me, there was a wedding band also.
I’m running out of time this morning, so I’ll move the story along. Within the next half hour, the husband sends me a text, I let him know that I found the diamond ring, he asks me if this is some type of cruel joke and I assure him that it is not, and we make plans to meet so that I can return to him his (wife’s) ring. Much to the displeasure of my 4-year-old daughter, the ring was returned to its rightful owners.
The next day I went back to the spot where I found the diamond ring and found this …
So the engagement ring and the wedding band have been reunited somewhere in Louisiana. I’m trying to make “let no man put asunder” fit in here somewhere, but I can’t find a way to make it work. Let’s move on.
Then I went out the next day and found this …
It’s a good week of metal detecting when Boss Hogg’s ride is the third best thing that you find all week!
Have a great Friday and a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by.