I was on a plane to visit family out of state and got to talking to my seatmate. Given the length of the flight, we got into some detail about our lives as friendly strangers do. We had made an immediate connection. I asked him about his profession, city of residence, marital status, children, and that kind of thing. Pretty normal stuff. But then he volunteered that his favorite hobby was gold prospecting. He said that most people relate it to panning in a creek, using a pick and shovel to gouge it out of a lode, or availing oneself of a gold sluice in a river. I was fascinated by this odd interest. He then mentioned that he also looked for precious metals on playgrounds, in parks, at beaches and stadiums from time to time when he was young. The hobby grew into a passion. It reminded me of a funny story of my own.
My father had lost some weight one year and we didn’t realize the complete consequences until an incidence occurred while he was raking leaves in the yard. Autumn is my favorite time because of the holidays and wonderful gourds that appear everywhere. It is pumpkin time to my delight. Leaves are table decoration to me, but not him. It was a chore. He dutifully performed the task in the crisp October air and was almost done when I heard a sharp cry. I ran quickly to his spot and found him brushing the remaining leaves all around. “I lost my wedding ring,” he said with annoyance. “Help me find it. It must have been loose due to my weight loss.” Of course, it was precious to him not to mention that it was 18K gold. We got on our hands and knees and scrutinized the entire area to no avail. We both were exhibiting signs of frustration. It reminded me of the times when I couldn’t find something I needed in my messy room as a teenager. Now I know that it was like finding a wedding band in a pile of leaves.
It was an apt comparison but not really funny. Finally, we gave up and called my uncle. He said he would come over and help, but would do better than that. He owned a good metal detector he had bought for the kids at the beach. They were only looking for metal debris but now it would show what it was meant to do. He took it out of its pouch and started to set it correctly for fine metals, which he’d been reading up about on the internet at Finding a Fortune.
To set it up to detect gold meant putting it on low sensitivity – or was it high sensitivity? I can’t remember. He placed it facing the ground around our big stately tree and turned it on. Within seconds, we could hear a faint buzz. A green light also went on. Eureka! We found the ring. This device saved the day and my dad’s good spirits. We invited Uncle Jim in for a beer and some snacks. He deserved a reward.