A Voice From the Dust
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to help make someone’s Easter. My hunting partner Brandon “Dr. Tones” Niece called to say an acquaintance, Molly, had just phoned him in a panic. “We kind of have an emergency man”, he said. Molly’s sister had lost a piece of jewelry outside during their Easter gathering. Everyone else was still busy with family dinners but Brandon knew I was spending Easter alone. “Is there any chance you could run out tonight and take a look?”, he asked. Besides being the right thing to do; my choice was made easier since it would give me an excuse to quit working on our broken sprinkler system.[split]
After making the 20 mile drive to her home I only had about 30 minutes of daylight remaining. I quickly interviewed Molly to find out more about the pendant and where it was lost. She explained how close she and her sister had been to their late Grandmother. In remembrance, every day they each wore a pendant that also acted as an urn which also contained a small amount of her grandmothers’ ashes. I quickly realized this pendant was infinitely more valuable than even a lost wedding ring. It allowed them to keep a part of their loved one with them every day. I suddenly felt a greater sense of responsibility and desire to recover their item. Despite the fading light I was cautiously optimistic. Molly explained it was definitely in the back yard. However, my optimism quickly faded when she took me to the backyard, and pointing to an acre of grass and pasture said, “it’s somewhere out there...” This was not the backyard I imagined. She explained they had spent the day hiding Easter eggs across the entire property. It could be anywhere.
I immediately switched to “expectation mitigation” mode. “I’ll be honest Molly…with the light I have left and the large search area the odds of finding this tonight…aren’t great”, I admitted. I reassured her that I could come back later in the week with Brandon and the rest of the team to continue the search. “It may take a while, but if it’s here we’ll eventually find it.” The panic in her voice was obvious and she reiterated how heartbroken her sister was. No one would sleep soundly while her Grandmothers’ ashes were missing.
I grabbed my Minelab CTX 3030 and quickly started the search. The first 20 minutes were a nightmare. The yard was littered with shallow targets that identified as potential silver. The sun had long disappeared behind the Idaho horizon. Suddenly, with less than 5 minutes of usable light remaining a screaming high tone pierced my headphones. The TID indicated Silver at 1”. My pinpointer quickly revealed a gleaming silver pendant hiding under the grass. Dr. Tones and I have a flair for the dramatic, so we’d typically come up with a creative way to surprise someone. But this time I didn’t have the heart to delay reunion. Without a word I stood up and dropped the pendant into Molly’s hand.
Her eyes welled with tears and she gave me a hug so hard it would have made my wife blush. She immediately called her sister on speaker phone. I could hear the sadness in her voice when she answered. Her mood completely changed when she heard the news.
I told the family they had no idea how unlikely it was to find the pendant so quickly on an acre of property. Brandon and I have spent much longer recovering larger jewelry on property ¼ of the size. I suggested her Grandmother might have been helping in the search. I don’t think they fully understood the kind of odds they were up against. After hearing “Thank You!” a few dozen more times I finally headed home; feeling much better than when I had arrived. – Eric “Dirt Digler” Magnuson
What other activity can provide such a vast array of experiences?! Recovering lost items, working with scientists to recover historical artifacts, and assisting law enforcement are just some of the opportunities we have to demonstrate to our communities what a valuable asset a metal detectorist can be.