As my 40th birthday neared, I found myself more and more engaged in a futile attempt to count my blessings. Too many to count, I eventually surmised, so best to just bask in the totality of it all simply by living. I won’t go too much further into my mental makeup on the eve of a new decade of life—this is a metal detecting blog, after all—but suffice it to say that I found myself more at peace turning 40 than when I turned 30. This is likely due to the fact that I am now more in touch with who I am and also that I feel more firmly established having arrived at a place in my life where I always wanted to be—wonderful wife and kids, nice home, close family, stable job, etc. (minus the winning lottery ticket).
One blessing at the forefront of my life is my aforementioned amazing wife, who supports me in every respect. She is truly a selfless person; it’s never about her, it’s always about others and their happiness. I could go on and on, but I’ll save you the mush. What is important here is that this constant spousal support afforded to me extends just as genuinely to include my hobby of metal detecting. It especially speaks to my wife’s selfless acceptance of the major time commitment this hobby entails. For metal detecting is not just about outings spent in search of buried objects; in fact, such “hunts” are really the only aspect of this hobby for which time is quantifiable. There are also the countless hours exhausted on researching sites, reading historical materials, posting or commenting about the subject on social media sites, maintaining equipment, cleaning and analyzing finds, etc., etc.
Over the years, what has become clear to me is this: any time deposited into this hobby directly results in a corollary deficit of family time. This indisputable fact means that when I am investing time into my hobby, there is a resultant effect on my wife in terms of increased time supervising and caring for our three young children, which because of my absence often includes having to be in multiple places at the same time. As evidence of this reality, I’ve heard stories of spouses lashing out at, bottling up hostility toward, and even the outright prohibition of, their partners engaging in anything related to metal detecting. On the contrary—and lucky for me—not once has my hobby elicited such a reaction from my wife.
It was in this vein of constant spousal support and selflessness that I found myself the fortunate victim of a surprise concocted by my wife as part of my 40th birthday celebration. One Friday preceding my birthday, as I was going down the stairs in my house, I was asked by my wife to address a knock at my front door. Standing there on the front stoop was my best friend (and metal detecting partner), Grant, bearing a wide grin and gifts. Turns out that my wife had secretly planned for Grant and another friend, Erik, to visit for the entire weekend and join me in metal detecting several properties for which my wife had herself acquired permission. Not only that, but she also informed me that she was leaving the house with our kids to spend the entire weekend at her parent’s house so that Grant, Erik, and I could have a sort of “guys’ weekend” (loosely defined, of course). Did I mention she had bought cold beer and snacks for us, too?
What followed was a great weekend of camaraderie and metal detecting without a set schedule nor a care in the world. Though I ended up more or less finding the least amount of notable objects of the three of us, I did come away with my first antique watch winder, identified by others as a pre-Civil War piece. In addition I somehow found a mid-1800s two-piece band button on a property that had a seemingly endless amount of modern junk. Grant and Erik found some really cool items—see the gallery below for each of our notable finds.
For me, in the end, the surprise birthday weekend had nothing to do with what I found; it was instead a stark reminder of what I already cherished: a blessed life and an amazing wife—and that came to me as no surprise at all!