Eric Anthony Rodriguez

Eric Anthony Rodriguez

Last week, I told you about my canoe trip on a beautiful stretch of the Suwannee River. This past weekend, I decided to drive back to some of those sandy beach areas with my metal detector to see what I could find. Let me caution you before you buy a metal detector, use it once or twice, then let the batteries corrode in the machine before using it again. Most of what you will find is trash. I have watched a few episodes of the shows that feature metal detecting, and I can assure you some extensive editing takes place before the footage is shown on TV.

I found more trash than treasure this past Saturday, but the best part about this particular metal detecting expedition was that I did not have to dig any of the holes. There were several kids who took an interest in my machine, some I knew, some I didn’t, and they were more than happy to help me see what was making the metal detector beep. They were excited even when we were finding bottle tops and the foil from cigarette packs. They were really excited when we found pennies and nickels. The best finds were a lead sinker, most of a Beetle Spin lure, and an inlaid necklace that was marked as being made in Mexico.

Finding what others have lost reminded me of some of the things I have lost. I lost my high school class ring at the first Lollapalooza festival in Orlando. Nine Inch Nails was on stage and my arm got wedged between other people who were jumping around. When I pulled my arm to free it, the ring fell into the mud. I saw it for a moment or two before it got trampled into the earth. About 10 years later, I took a metal detector to the fairgrounds in Orlando to try and find my class ring. It was hard to tell exactly where the stage had been and my relation to it, but I am fairly certain I was detecting near where the ring was dropped. I found quite a bit of change, but I did not find any rings.

I lost my college class ring in the Atlantic Ocean just off of Elliot Key in about 20 feet of water. A friend and I had been fishing, and after we caught a large grouper who had several of our broken leaders in his mouth, we decided to give each other a high five. The ring slid easily off of my slimy fingers, and I watched its arc into the water. One day, I will try diving in the area to recover my lost ring. It will be much harder to find the spot because much of the live coral that we fished near in the 90s is now bleached white and dead.

Don’t spend too much time thinking about what you have lost. It is much more productive to dream about what you might find in the future.

Eric lives in Suwannee County and is a public school educator. He is an independent contractor. You can reach him at

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