Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rings

Every time I dig up a ring, while metal detecting, I wonder what story it would tell. Rings go back as far as history has been recorded, and each one has a special meaning tagged with a unique story. They tell stories about cultures with wealth and show us how hard times can be. If you metal detect long enough there will be a ring tell you its story, I guess just because it needs telling. No matter if it is made of gold, has diamonds or glass, silver, tin, engraved, or hammered out by a poor man each one is made with love and a happy intention. Rings are symbols of marriage, love, membership and wealth. It never gets old to see a young lady react to a guy on one knee, with a sparkling ring, ask for her hand in marriage, to see just as much happiness on the face of a little girl who gets a ring from a bubblegum machine, or the smile of a graduate when they receive their class ring. As treasure hunters we should always go an extra step to try to find the owner of lost rings if possible. I always am happy to read where a treasure hunter somewhere returns a valuable item such as a ring to the rightful owner. Unless you have done this, you can't imagine the look on their face, and how grateful they are, not only to get back their lost item, but to know that there are good, honest people who go the extra mile to do the right thing. When you walk away from returning a ring or other valuable, you will never forget how good that made you feel.

Sometimes, after all efforts have failed, you just have no way of knowing who the ring belongs with. Then the find is yours and we all know that some rings are quite valuable. I have paid for two metal detectors with rings that I have found. Antique gold and silver rings are very much in demand and fetch a high price. Be very careful and do not let a sly dealer con you out of an antique for the price of gold or silver weight. Just like finding sites or searching for the rightful owner, finding the value requires research. Do your homework. You will be very glad you did.

Several years ago I was detecting around an old country store that had closed after 100+ years of being there for the community and making the best sandwich you ever had at lunch. It goes without saying that the bottle caps and flip tabs had been broadcast like they might sprout and grow. There were two old oak trees beside the old store where generations of tobacco cutters, hay haulers, highway workers and treasure hunters sat on benches or the ground enjoying a good sandwich, cold soda and conversing about current events. I found a gold F.F.A. (Future Farmers of America) ring that one of the roots had grown around leaving only about half of the ring exposed. It was beautiful 18K gold and heavy. It had the name of the young man engraved inside and I knew it probably would not be to hard to find him. There was no social media then so I searched the phone directories with many last names but no match to the first name. I ran an ad in the lost and found of the local papers and my phone rang the next day after the ad had run. There was a lady on the phone who said she believed I had found her sons ring. I politely told her that he would have to describe the ring and I would be happy to return it. She described it to the scratch, which amazed me, and she went on to say that she would like to come get it where I found it and that they had pictures and a proof of purchase. This seemed a little strange but I agreed to meet them at the old country store. We had the ring cleaned and got a ring box from the jeweler so it would be nice when they got it back. I will never forget, I met them on a sunny Thursday afternoon in May. We did not wait any time until a car pulled in and a younger lady helped an elderly lady out of the passenger seat. We could see that she was a little feeble and after introductions we sat down on a bench on the porch of the old store. She opened her folder that was sticking out of her purse and began to show us pictures of this fine looking young man at his graduation. She told us how hard he had worked hauling hay, cutting tobacco and had even raised a calf his father had given him to buy that ring. They said he was so proud of it and as I opened the box I asked where her son was. Big tears rolled down her face as she took the box in her shaking hands and said, "He has gone to be with his father and the Lord, they both died in a head on collision with a drunk driver right after his high school graduation 20 years-ago in May. They were coming here to look for this ring he had lost while eating lunch here with his friends." My heart had sank and fighting the tears myself the only thing I could say was, "I am so sorry." It was silent as she looked at the ring and she looked at me said, "You are a fine young man like my men were and I know that a man who would go to such trouble to return this ring will not take any reward money, but I insist on two things." I said, I do not want any money, and that I hoped if I ever lost something that important it finds its way back to me. What are the two things?" She said, "One, I insist that you hug my neck and two, you and your wife join us for dinner and allow me and my daughter to treat." We hugged her and she said she loved us for what we did. I never said it but I thought, maybe it was what the ring did.

May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting 

She told me that the one who gives also gathers