The Treasure Hunt

The man had driven through the neighborhood countless times. He was in the oldest part of town, on these streets were the finest older homes, large, stately dwellings from a bygone era. Now some of them were beginning to show signs of neglect. Several needed painting, shrubbery trimmed, and some had dead trees that needed to be removed.

He had one home on his mind, the large Victorian home he was approaching. Massive oak trees dotted the property, a wrought iron enclosed the yard and large oak trees guarded the house. As he neared the home he noticed someone sitting on the front porch. Pulling to the curb, he stopped, turned off the engine, and sat there trying to work up his courage.

“Well, you never know till you ask,” he thought, “she will either say yes or no.”

Before he had left home he had made sure that he was clean-shaven, had on clean clothing, and looked presentable. Getting out of the truck, he started up the sidewalk, he again thought to himself.

“This is always the hardest part. Getting permission to hunt.”

As he neared the porch the elderly lady arose from her porch swing, stared at him, and started inching towards the door.

“Good morning, ma’am,” he smiled with his hat in his hand, “my name is Greg Martin.”

“Warily, she watched him, ready to flee at the first sign of trouble.

“Can I help You?” she asked while gripping the front door handle.

Trying hard to break the ice, he answered, “I have admired your home for a long time. It is one of the nicest homes in town. What year was it built?”

Taken back by his question, she answered, “It was built in 1897. It has been in my family ever since it was built. In fact, I was born here.”

“Fascinating. May I ask what your name is?”

“Why, yes. It’s Olivia Perkins. Why do you ask?” she answered.

“I am trying to get to know the people who live in this area,” he answered.

“And why would you do that? If you don’t mind me asking,” she asked.

“I have always loved history. And because of my hobby, I try to find out everything there is to know about where I live,” he answered.


“Mrs Perkins, or may I call you Olivia, my hobby is using a metal detector. I hunt for old coins and relics,” he offered.

“Oh, I know what that is. I’ve seen people using them on the beaches in Florida. Do you ever find anything? And yes, you may call me Olivia.”

“Yes, I have been quite successful. I never know what I will find,” he replied.

“I think I know why you’re here. You want to search my yard, don’t you?” she asked.

“Yes, ma’am, I do. Would you allow me to do so? I have been using a metal detector for almost fifty years. I am very respectful of a homeowner’s property, and when I am done you won’t be able to tell that I’ve been here.”

“Show me how you do it. Then I will decide whether you can hunt or not.”

He went to his truck, donned his belt and pouches, and grabbed his digging tool, locator, and metal detector. Turning it on, he began searching by the sidewalk in front of the house. He immediately got a signal, the sweet, distinguishable tone of a coin, his detector telling him it was approximately four inches deep. He showed Olivia his digging tool and then cut a three-sided plug. Digging deeper, he popped a dirt -encrusted coin out of the hole. Upon examination, he discovered that it was a wheat penny. Handing it to Olivia, he refilled the hole and tamped the dirt down.

“That’s how it works,” he offered, silently praying she would say yes.

Impressed, she answered, “Go ahead, you have my permission. I don’t see any harm in what you do. I would like to see what you find.”

“Sure, oh, by the way, has anything personal been lost? A family heirloom?”

“Yes, now that you mention it, my father lost his diamond ring, in the backyard, while playing with us when we were little. We searched and searched for it but could never find it,” she answered.

“I’ll see what I can do. I won’t make any promises, but I’ll try.”

It was obvious that the yard had never been hunted before. He was amazed at his finds. Wheaties and Indians were in abundance. He found three Walking Liberty halves, one Franklin half, two Barber quarters, one Standing Liberty quarter in outstanding condition, eight silver Washington quarters, and five Buffalo nickels. He lost count of the silver dimes he found. He even found a token, for a free drink, at a tavern that was no longer in existence.  And he also had a pile of newer coins in all denominations.

It took him most of the day. Finally, he quit. His hands, knees, and back were hurting him so bad he had to quit. Putting his gear in the truck, he slowly and painfully walked up the sidewalk to the porch. Olivia motioned for him to come and sit down.

“I made some lemonade. Do you want some?” she asked.

“Yes, please,” he answered as she poured him a glass.

“Did you have any luck? I saw you down on your knees every time I looked out the window.”

“This is the best yard I have ever hunted,” he answered as he poured his finds out on a small table beside Olivia.

“My, you did find a lot. I can’t believe all of that came out of my yard,” she exclaimed while examining each coin.

“What’s amazing is that I know I didn’t find it all. May I come back again,” he asked, hoping she would say yes.

“I don’t know any reason why not. Come anytime you want. If you would like, I’ll talk to my neighbors about you searching their yards,” she offered.

Overwhelmed by the offer, he immediately accepted it with gratitude.

“Do you see any coin here that you want? You can have anything you see,” he offered.

“No, you worked hard for what you found. You keep them.”

He thanked her and arose to leave. Stopping, he smiled and reached into his pocket.

“I have a surprise for you. I wanted to wait until last to give it to you.”

He motioned for her to open her hand. She did and he dropped a man’s diamond ring into it.

Olivia took one look, gasped, jumped to her feet, threw her arms around his neck, and began to cry.

On his way home he thought about what had happened. Because he had stopped at a home, to hopefully enjoy his hobby, he had brought happiness to an elderly lady. And in return, he received permission to hunt every yard in the neighborhood.

“It was a good day in many ways,” he smiled, "yes, a very good day!”

July 11, 2020