Driving home from work the other day, I had mad traffic. So bad that I had to bail on my usual route and weave my way through side road after side road so that could make it home at a reasonable time. The next day I remembered to avoid the mess and too an alternative way home. No traffic at all, but something even better came from it.
About 2 miles from home, I saw a beat up home, obviously abandoned, with not so much as a blade of grass on the lawn. “Hmm,” I thought, “It would be awesome to dig on that property.” With one eye on the road and the other on the house, I noticed a for sale sign. And not just any for sale sign, but a for sale sign from the real estate agency that my step-father works at!
Are you kidding me? Why was I not notified about this gem!
As soon as I got home I made the call. “What’s up with this property? Can I metal detect on it?” The next morning I had my answer. “Yup! They said it’s no problem.”
“Really, you sure?”
I was planning on heading over to hunt at about 8am, but a sleepless night had me up at 4:30am. I waited for daylight and in less than 10 minutes I was ready to prospect. The property was bigger than I thought. Cool! But it was covered in debris and thick layers of pine needles, remnants of all the trees that had been recently cut down. Aluminum poles, gutters, and other junk had to be pushed to the side so I could swipe free and clear.
So much noise! I immediately discriminated out iron and was still getting hit after hit. I think the whole property was a nail spill, because I pulled up a LOT of them. Four to five nails in just about every hole. After a few holes, I was up a wheat penny, some memorial pennies, and a dime. Then I got another penny hit, and proceeded to dig. I pulled out what I thought was a large cent, but it was very light. I saw a date: 1829. Whooo! A closer inspection revealed it to be a token of some type: John Quincy Adams, President 1825-1829. While I’ve found similar tokens online, I can’t find one with the “6 coin” on the reverse side, so my search continues.
As I rounded the corner, I saw a little old lady walking at me with purpose. It looked as though she was shooing me away, and said, “I own this property.” My heart sank. Was she not cool with me being there even though I got permission from the real estate agency? “I got permission..”
“I know. They called me. Find anything good?” she asked in an Italian accent. “A token, but nothing too great. A lot of nails.”
“Oh, those darn nails!”
She was super sweet. She wished me luck and hoped that I found lots of money and gold.
Whew! That’s cool. Back to hunting.
There was so much junk that I had to switch to coins-only mode. And I was still getting lots of hits. Unfortunately, all the solid silver hits I was getting were too deep to dig. Finally I got something only 6 inches down and the ground was forgiving in that spot. A nice silver hit turned out to be a sterling silver medallion with the Virgin Mary on it:
I saw the property owner and called her over to show her, thinking maybe it was something she lost years ago. “Oh my! The Blessed Mother! It’s silver, how wonderful!”
“Did you lose it?”
“No, you keep it! It’s yours, oh how wonderful. Keep it with you for good luck!”
We continued to talk a bit more and she told me her name was Lucia. What a lovely lady. She was even more excited that I may find some more things.
After some research, I found that this pendant is called a Miraculous Medal. According to the Association of the Miraculous Medal, http://www.amm.org/aboutus/medal.asp:
The Meaning of the Front Side of the Miraculous Medal
Mary is standing upon a globe, crushing the head of a serpent beneath her foot. She stands upon the globe, as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her feet crush the serpent to proclaim Satan and all his followers are helpless before her (Gn 3:15). The year of 1830 on the Miraculous Medal is the year the Blessed Mother gave the design of the Miraculous Medal to Saint Catherine Labouré. The reference to Mary conceived without sin supports the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary—not to be confused with the virgin birth of Jesus, and referring to Mary’s sinlessness, “full of grace” and “blessed among women” (Luke 1:28)—that was proclaimed 24 years later in 1854.
The Meaning of the Back Side of the Miraculous Medal
The twelve stars can refer to the Apostles, who represent the entire Church as it surrounds Mary. They also recall the vision of Saint John, writer of the Book of Revelation (12:1), in which “a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.” The cross can symbolize Christ and our redemption, with the bar under the cross a sign of the earth. The “M” stands for Mary, and the interleaving of her initial and the cross shows Mary’s close involvement with Jesus and our world. In this, we see Mary’s part in our salvation and her role as mother of the Church. The two hearts represent the love of Jesus and Mary for us. (See also Lk 2:35).
I lasted about another hour. So many good hits that I couldn’t get to. I saw Lucia one more time and asked if it was OK if I come back. She said “Any time! Any time!”
I’m hoping that time is tomorrow morning. I will show up with my mini pickaxe and flowers for Lucia, thanking her for allowing me to pursue my hobby.