Your Worst Fears
Everyone who metal detects has started out peeking around to see who was looking. Lets face it we are all cowards to be forced to explain what we are doing. To make matters worse there are times that we hunt some areas with our old clothes on or bundled up against the winter cold. Ahh, the winter, there is nothing crazier than some old bent over man out in the park when everyone else with good common sense is home by the fireside.
We all have that dread. The dread of being caught cold without any good answer or worse even to have someone drive by and snap your picture. How can you show them your handful of old(or new) pennies and rusty bits of junk that you have for your trouble? How can we begin to explain our actions?
The many people that I talk to on the beach just accept the fact that I am a bum just looking for enough pennies for a bottle of wine I presume, and seem surprised when I tell them that this is my hobby. Most everyone has had the terrible experience of having someone give the kid a handful of coins to give to the bum with the detector. Worse yet is having a car full of teens drive and chunk a big handful of new pennies at you while you hunt and laughing it up at the same time.
We have a lot to overcome in this hobby and I know firsthand! Two or three days ago found me, like many times, hunting the low tides on a cold day. It turned out that this was an extremely cold day for South Texas and the Island of Galveston nestled in the warm Gulf waters. It was freezing on the beach with high gusts of wind and on my beach you don’t care about temperature, only wind chill. The wind chill really matters and it was five degrees the other morning while I was out there wandering around in the shallow surf.
Of course I was bundled up like crazy and I know how to dress for that kind of weather, but you have to understand that while I appeared a little unkempt that I was the best dressed man on the beach that day. I was off in a world of my own and having a great time digging up a nice patch of goodies too until this car parked up on the seawall and two people started down the beach toward me. Now to make matters worse one of them was carrying a TV camera, the other was an interviewer from the TV station in Houston. Now I tried to run but they just spread out and got on either side of me so I had no where to go. OH DREAD!! What do I do???? You’ve got to understand I had a ski mask on and stretched open enough to talk to them and my face was beet red from the very cold wind and there I was to be on the Boob tube!
Death could hold no more terror than this moment. What would I say? What would they ask? I decided to dominate the interview and not let them ask the more embarrassing questions. I chattered like a tree full of birds but cannot recall what I told them….. I worried about that after the interview! Considerably! Fortunately the time came for MY spot on the Boob Tube and there I was alright, face looking like a bright red beet and puckered up because of the elastic of the mask. All I can say of it is that it could have been worse, much, much worse! Mercifully they cut it down to a short statement and took some background pictures of me working the water. That moment in time my batteries died and my heart almost stopped too. Finally they packed it up and left and I walked quickly to the car and wanted to put the day behind me as quick as possible. Unfortunately it wasn’t too easy to forget about….
I suppose that most of us may face something like that if we hunt long enough. Something so terrible that it might make us stuff the beeper in the closet and forget about hunting. All except that it gets in our blood and we know that we are addicted to the nutty habit of detecting. Well, I know now that I have faced my greatest moment of terror and it is past me. My heart almost stopped for sure, but it is past now and I am still here wearing out batteries just like always. May your moment in the fire be gentle and your family forgiving, for I know that sooner or later your day will come when you too will face the worst fear of your life. You might try Nike running shoes or make a little card that says you can’t speak or hear….. You figure it out and I hope that you do well but there was no worst terror for me and somehow that gives me a little peace that it is over.