Father's day is just around the corner. Although I do not have a child of my own, I am a son. And, you guessed it, I do have a father. Additionally I have inherited a step son. Finding things that can bring a father and son together can sometimes be hard. There are things like sports, hunting, fishing, etc. But more than likely you have done those things for many years and the luster can sometimes dull over time on redundant activities.
At 42 years old, I am a stepfather of an 11 year old named Mason and a son of a 72 year old. My father is an avid hunter and fisherman. My step son and his father have their activities. Mostly sports. Baseball being their primary activity - and let me tell you, the kid is good. So, his father has done an excellent job with that. I do not want to get in the way of this and will leave that activity to them.
I found myself vying for something that Mason and I could do that was "our" activity. I have been metal detecting for years. With Mason being such a sports fanatic, I didn't think he would really take interest in getting outside and digging in the dirt to look for treasure. I was wrong.
One particularly nice day, I took one of my metal detectors out to the back yard and started poking around. Next thing I know I had a skinny little blond headed kid shadowing me curiously seeing what I found. Having just moved into the house, I hadn't yet cleaned out the yard and I quickly found about 50 cents in clad change. Mason's eyes lit up. The kid loves money and was amazed it could be lying just inches under the ground, virtually everywhere.
He had seen some of my more valuable finds in my treasure chest in the past and he had shown interest in my valuable coins. I had actually given him a silver quarter in the past which he still holds onto. I went on to explain to him that you could certainly find rare and valuable items metal detecting and even some cool historical stuff. Not long after that, I found myself shortening the shaft and dialing it in for him. I followed him around and showed him how to read it and how to use the pinpointer to quickly locate and recover the items he detected. Then, I retired to the patio, popped open a cold beer, and smiled as I watched him destroy the yard - I had tried to show him how to dig a good plug, but it was dry out and he's kind of a little guy, not quite heavy enough to get the spade deep enough into the ground.
I sat there for over an hour while he hunted for treasure. Occasionally getting up to help him retrieve deeper items. Every once and a while he would come back with some of the trash he found and at the end of his adventure, he had accumulated a little under a dollar. I could tell he had a really good time doing it. But, I did not want to push him on the hobby too hard for fear it would push him a way. So, I just let it fester.
One weekend shortly thereafter I had a hunt scheduled with an associate on an early 1900's lakeside village where he had found several silver coins in the past. It just so happened that it was our weekend with Mason and his mother had to work. "Why don't you see if Mason wants to go with you," she said. I asked him if he wanted to join in. A resounding "YES!" was the answer. Although I didn't show it, inside I was ecstatic. I got him geared up with the same detector he had used in the back yard - a Garrett ACE 300 metal detector. It was almost the right size but a little big for him. He managed well though. I gave him his own finds pouch and pinpointer along with a good digging trowel. I would be detecting close to him so I wielded our spade. We had a blast. Rather than tell you the whole story, I will just share the video we made of the hunt:
After this hunt, I think he was hooked. When Christmas came around I knew what he would be getting from me. Since the Ace 300 was a little big for him, I opted to get him a Nokta Makro Midi Hoard metal detector. It fit him perfectly and had all the technology he needed to be a successful metal detectorist. He has used it several time since and we even took it on vacation to Clearwater Beach, FL for a little beach hunting where it performed very well in the saltwater. After this trip, I had officially earned the title of Step Dad of The Year. Although I must admit, the visits to Universal Studios, Disney World, and Islands of Adventure probably helped me win.
The good thing about being a middle aged man is I am able to connect with the young and old alike. The beauty of the older generation is many of them are fascinated of local history and they know a lot about it. This is a valuable resource for metal detectorists. I was talking to my dad one time prior to a trip to visit him. I asked if he knew of any old homesteads in his rural area that would be ripe for the picking. Surprisingly, he knew of a few and said he could gain access. Although normally when I visit him I pack up my guns and prepare to kill a wild boar. This time, I packed metal detectors instead.
When I arrived, I was surprised to find a group of men ready to hunt. It was a good thing I brought several metal detectors. Myself, my father, his best friend and my younger brothers jumped on ATVs and hit the dirt roads, ready to strike it rich.
We detected for about half of a day and didn't come up with much. Apparently the folks in this rural part of Oklahoma didn't really have a lot of money or valuables. However, the five grown men had a heck of a time doing it.
My father loves history and he loves hunting and fishing. So, what better activity to share together?