The world of Treasure Hunting opened to me in the year of 1968 when I decided that being a class A drunk just wasn't in my future, and I decided to become a Christian.
I needed something to occupy my mind, something that would help absorb the pain of withdrawal from booze, if you know what I mean.
My favorite drink was straight Vodka, without a chaser, and if you have ever sampled Vodka, you know that's some serious stuff.
I hated the taste of Old Granddad whiskey, so whenever the desire to drink got too hard, I forced down Old Granddad which I despised so much that just the very thought of it turned my stomach to the point that I got violently sick.
About that time, I got acquainted with a man named Arbin Gazaway, a Deacon in a church that I had started attending.
I had completely quit drinking anything intoxicating, and I'm here to tell you, the fight was on, with temptation coming from every side.
Today, I credit The Lord for my deliverance from the bottle, but The Lord didn't do it by himself.
No sir, my wife was always right there to encourage me on to greater depths in the Lord, and for the past forty eight years, she's been there to help me.
I also have to give credit to Brother Arbin, who lived close to me, and one day at church he asked me; "Brother Buddy, did you ever do any metal detecting?"
Of course, I hadn't, but I had seen those poor souls down at the beach in Galveston, Texas whenever we'd go to the beach.
I kinda felt sorry for them, until I got to watching them dig up money, jewelry and of course trash by the ton.
I also noticed that they were a very happy, friendly bunch of people, who would invite me to walk around with them.
They would, at times, invite me to try their metal detector, which at that point in time also found tin foil, bottle caps and even BB's. BB's will drive you crazy trying to find them in sand, but it was a necessary evil, since the machine picked up any kind of metal.
Today's machines, even the so-called cheaper models, which run less than $200.00 bucks, can be set to discriminate out the junk, making it much more enjoyable.
Anyway, We lived in Houston, Texas, and the invitation was salad to my jaws, as the old saying goes.
What I had done before really couldn't be called treasure hunting because all I'd done was watch and try different machines, but I knew I wanted one.
Lo, and behold, here comes a man who has a machine, and he wanted me to go metal detecting with him. I loved it!
Brother Arbin had a little plastic machine that he had ordered out of a magazine for $19.95, which was a royal sum at that time, but the BUG had struck, and I just had to have one.
I finally saved up enough money so that I could buy my first detector, which was a Jetco Mustang,
I couldn't wait to try it, but I couldn't even pick up a half dollar with it, even though I had laid it on the ground myself, and didn't need a detector to find it.
Talk about being disgusted!
Arbin, who just didn't ever get flustered over anything, just grinned and said that we would take it back and choose another machine.
We returned the Jetco to the department store where I'd bought it, got my refund of $39.95, plus tax and went to Alexander Enterprises, a downtown treasure hunting shop, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us.
Jim Alexander was an internationally known treasure hunter, with a wealth of information, which he readily imparted to myself and Brother Arbin.
Since I didn't have much money, Jim recommended the Bounty Hunter 1 metal detector, which worked fine, but Arbin still ran circles around me finding treasure.
I wanted one like Arbin's machine, but the company had gone out of business, and I had to choose another brand.
I learned a lot from Brother Arbin, who is gone now, but he will always be in my heart, in thoughts and prayers each day, as I recall days gone by.
Brother Arbin's family still remains close to us today.
We see each other a couple of times a year, when we attend Minister's Meetings in Dalton, Georgia, where they now reside.
Brother Arbin and I joined the Alexander Enterprises Treasure Hunting Club, and for six months searched for a buried treasure at the site of an old cattle town north of Tomball, Texas.
Brother Arbin was called to move to Dalton, Georgia, and I also decided that I wanted to move back to Bessemer, Alabama, where I was raised from birth.
About a year after we moved, guess who was on the cover of one of the Treasure Hunting Magazines?
There, right on the cover, for God and every one else to see, was our former Treasure Hunting Club, proudly posed beside an old wooden barrel, which was almost rotted away, along with thirty thousand dollars face value in GOLD coins.
I almost had a heart attack, just seeing it in a picture, but Lord, think about what if we had been there the day they dug it up.
It has been forty two years since I first got acquainted with the fun and rewarding hobby of metal detecting, and to this day, it has never gotten old or boring.
I still experience the same thrill when I dig a find, whether it be a penny, piece of valuable jewelry, or a silver coin, and yes, sometimes a pull tab by mistake.
The thought would come; "now, that's an awful of work to find a penny or it could be junk!"
That may be true, until I remember all those times when my find turned out to be a silver quarter, a nice ring or even a wheat back penny.
It's the thrill of finding a piece of history that keeps me on the watch for decent places to search.
Don't let doubts and fears rob you of anything, whether it be a search for a better walk with the Lord, or a stroll down memory's lane.
I'm looking forward to seeing you somewhere, metal detector and digger in hand, searching for that special find, making memories with family and friends that you will always treasure in you heart,
Your Brother in Christ,