Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oceans and Enthusiasm


Metal detectorists, me included, have been taking full advantage of global warming this fall/winter. Late November and early December of 2012 have been glorious and I’m doing my part to remove all metal – Civil War relics, condom containers, dog tags, pull tabs, deadly triangles of aluminum siding (my current most-hated junk find), TUPOM (twisted, unidentifiable, pieces of metal), toy cars and old license plates – from the ground before the seas rush in and cover the landscape and they’re lost for good.

You’re welcome.

Al, Jakson and I headed up to Ann Arbor for Thanksgiving. We weren’t sure how the J-Man would fare on a road trip w/o his sister, but he did fine. He sat up in the back seat of the van all the way there.

Turn left here... no, I mean right.


Here’s Chloe, (left at home with Pru) reveling in the peace and quiet. I always wanted a dog that slept on her back and she delivers.

I know.

 We all settled in at Helen’s house – me, Al and Jak + my dad, Kate (step-peer) and my little bro, Ilya, the insta-teen. The house is big and warm and comfy and many lovely, turkey-scented times were experienced.

Of course, throughout the visit, I found the need to shout, casually, “Um, I’m heading out for a bit!” – a little too cheerfully. They all know what I’m doing.

I’ve dug Helen’s yard clean, so I returned to Burns Park around noon on Thanksgiving morning, after having put the cranberry apple crisp in the oven and having made sure everything else was humming along (read: women in kitchen, men watching football and not helping in kitchen).

I had high hopes for Burns Park, now that I was returning with my new Fisher F75. This wide, verdant and well-tended playground was once the trolley turnaround (think: people dropping change) and also the site of many a town fair (think: people dropping more change, and also valuable jewels). I’d met some other detectorists here back in August and they’d found tons of delicious items. Surely they hadn’t gotten it all. I smiled at the families running around building an appetite and got busy.

Dug a penny or two, then bingo: best find of the day. I swear – it happens like that so often.

Sigh of pleasure goes here.

LOVE this ring! Sadly, it only fits on my pinkie. But I pretty much wear it all the time. Definitely silver, but the center part has a distinct yellow tint that I can’t polish away. Yum. Thanks, Burns Park.

Two hours and 38 pulltabs later, I returned to the bosom of my family and had a wonderful meal. As always, no one was adequately excited about my find. No one is ever as excited as they need to be. Only Cheryl. She understands. But she was home in Tennessee. There was a flurry of furious texting that somewhat satisfied.

Friday, Al and I performed at METAL – an amazing Ann Arbor gallery that features repurposed industrial metal stuff, antiques, etc.  What better venue for me? I’d brought up all my finds and displayed them on a huge table and during intermission people came and investigated. Again, no one was as excited as they should have been about the finds, but they were polite.

We videoed the whole show. Here’s a song for ya.


Jakson came to the show too and was a very good boy, only barking during our most tender and romantic ballad.

All in all, a great holiday! 

The following Friday, back in Nash, was the monthly meeting of the Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club. 

(With Al off touring Europe for three weeks, and our relationship reduced to this...

Honey, you're pixilated again. Honey? Oh crap.

I have to do something fun! Don't judge me.)

Thought I’d include some pics of the nice folks there. Best part of every meeting is looking at everyone’s STUFF. So much fun. Here’s a sampling.




What is it about this lock that I so love?
I entered my Burns Park ring in the Find of the Month contest but, as usual, didn't even place. What's the matter with these people? The evening’s festivities featured a talk by Butch Holcombe, publisher of American Digger Magazine. He’s a good and funny speaker and something of a celebrity. He regaled us with MD stories.

Butch and his lovely wife, Anita!
The next day, Cheryl and I met up at the Civil War Expo in Franklin.  I wrote about this last year – it’s where I got the OHIO authenticated. I was actually there in an official capacity this time, as a buyer for METAL – the Ann Arbor gallery! I had a great time spending someone else’s money, buying up heavy objects that might resell well. Here’s what I found:
These tongs were found on an old farm in S. Carolina.
They were used to pick up Civil War cannonballs.
The man who owned them was named Bubba.
Wouldn't this look amazing in your loft?

Buckles were from a giant Tupperware bin full of Central
American metal stuff from the 1500s to the 1900s. Art
project anyone?  Scissors were too cool to leave behind.
Wouldn't these look fabulous in your loft?








































Horse banks. (Necessary for loft?)

















Last weekend, I headed over to the home of my good friends Holly and Steve to decimate their back yard. Holly was my assistant and very interested in every aspect of the process. In fact, I will go so far as to say that she is adequately enthusiastic about metal detecting, and adorable too. After an hour or so of pulling out a whole bunch of clad (modern coins), we found this!

Back says "EASTERN DISTR. N.Y."


We immediately hit the puter to try and figure it out. Holly’s house is right in the middle of some serious long-ago CW action, so that was our first thought, but no, turns out it’s a WWII pin. Still very cool! 


The next day, I drove back over there to check out Sevier Park, where they're doing some construction -- big, alluring piles of dark, promising dirt -- but it was all roped off.  WHAT TO DO???

Undeterred, I drove around until I came upon an enticing overgrown lot about a block away and was standing around, wringing my hands, weeping quietly, wondering how to contact the property owner when Holly and Steve walked up with their dogs. Turns out they know the property owner and will contact him for me. Thanks, guys!

Then, the owners of the house NEXT to the enticing, overgrown lot drove up and said SURE!!!!!  WE HAVE A HUGE BACKYARD AND YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO IT!

Readers: the above text? In all-caps? That part just there? That’s what I want you to say to me. These are the words I live for.

The mom, Irma, and her two adorable boys joined in the fun (I always have an extra machine for just such an eventuality). 

Nice fam with a freshly dug William's Cleaner
bullet.  Couple of new converts, I'd say.

Pretty quick, I dug a Willliam’s Cleaner – a common CW bullet – so it’s definitely a good yard and I have PERMISSION to return whenever I want. That’s better than rice pudding eaten while wearing a vintage dress on a spring day.

Finally, let me say that it has come to my attention that a lot of people are reading Dirt Girl Unleashed in a lurky sort of way.  Lurk not, but render ye thy comments!

OK, Christmas is coming so I’m talking like a carol, but really folks; sign up for the blog and leave a comment or two! Engage in dialogue! Criticize me! I can take it.

Better yet, invite me over. Before the oceans rise.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wherein Dirt Girl Tries Life as a Real, Touring Musician


When I’m not metal detecting, I’m writing songs. Or maybe it’s the other way around; I no longer know for sure.  That said, this Dirt Girl post is going to incorporate a bit of both. You will read it and you will like it.

On a glorious weekend in late October, I woke up anxious to dig – knowing that it was my last chance before a two-week stint of performing in Michigan and Texas. Cheryl and The Aptly Named Doug had gotten up at the butt crack of dawn to go hunt some place fun and historic but I begged off in favor of normal slumber. I got on the road around 11 and arrived at my destination – a farm Cheryl and I had permission to hunt – about an hour later.

OK, stop. I can see you all now, in my mind’s eye, taking your map of Nashville and drawing a circle around the city, 60 miles from the center. That won’t work. I will reveal that there was a CW battle here, but other details – such as the fact that the site is adjacent to both a wig factory and an emu farm – may be erroneous.

I knocked on the door of the farmhouse, but no one was home so I left a note and drove around back of the barn and parked. Acres of green lay before me, the winter grass short enough for easy metal detecting.

I was nervous at first – I felt like a target, completely out in the open – but after a while I got in the zone and relaxed into the beauty and the free-flowing serotonin.

Here was my first real find of the day.


video


And, as it happened, it was my only real find. For not only is this site adjacent to a nail polish boutique and a peach pie store, but it has been well picked over by detectorists for many years.

I did notice that for the three hours I was there, a group of hawks circled lazily over my head. It occurred to me that from above I might resemble a small, dying elephant, swinging its emaciated trunk back and forth.  Sorry hawks. Move along. Nothing to see.

On Thursday, November 1, I flew to Detroit. MJ Bishop met me at DTW and we drove up to Harbor Springs for Lamb’s Retreat – a renowned songwriter retreat where I was asked to give a presentation and perform alongside some rather illustrious singer/songwriters. 

MJ gives good license plate.


It was all good fun and I wrote a couple of songs over the weekend. Oddly, the one that took 20 minutes to write is the one I think I’ll get the most use out of. It is about Dolly Parton’s… well, it’s about Dolly Parton.

Best moment of all, though, was taking a solitary trek down to my beautiful Lake Michigan and lying in the cold, wet sand in my coat and boots.

Pure Michigan.
I lay there for a long time, listening to the lapping of the waves and wishing mightily for a metal detector. As if on cue, a man walked by and told me that just a year before, a sword from the War of 1812 had washed up on the shore right where I was sitting. This is true and not just the fevered dream of a songwriter minus detector lying in sand.

After a quick husband-kissing day back in Nashville, I departed for Texas where I joined up with Kerrville New Folk tour (see the Dirt Girl Does Texas post if you’re coming into this cold.) Landed in Austin where I found that Dollar had a cheapo special on massive, white Town and Country minivans. Obtained one and drove out to Hunt, Texas. Met up with some of the other New Folk winners – Alicia McGovern, Korby Lenker and The Sea The Sea (Chuck Costa and Mira Stanley) – at a Disney-esque Mexican restaurant. (Many thanks to Thomas Chapmond and Jeff Gavin of Cabin 10 for the check-grabbing!) Then out to the Roddy Tree Ranch where we were staying and performing.

Wow. Swanky comfort! We had a huge and well-appointed but TV-less house to relax in but not for long. I had time for a quick stretch before we grabbed our guitars and headed down to the open-air stage to play. Nicolette Good joined us from San Antonio. (Fellow NFer Edie Carey stayed home in Boston with her handsome baby boy.)

It was a beautiful, gentle evening that got starrier and starrier as we played. It was the first of many times that week that I just felt so honored to be onstage with these people. Really great musicians and amazing, layered, cool songs. Like … I dunno… Mallomars. Cayenne-infused Mallomars spiked with whiskey.

Roddy Tree Ranch stage. Also, my nose.

After the show we went back to our luxury pad and attempted to learn the results of the presidential election via our phones, ESP, star-gazing, shouting to distant mountain ranges, guessing, etc. When we learned the result, there was… an audible expression of emotion. (If you are unsure of my political leaning, considering that I spend a lot of time digging Civil War relics, consider, too, that I am a folk singer.)

The next morning, Alicia and I drove back to Austin after stopping for lunch and antiques in Johnson "City".  After resting up in the domestic comfort of the Chapmonds’ lovely home, and throwing the ball for a sweet, galumphing  Labradoodle, we headed to JAX – a great restaurant/bar near UT Austin. Again, we were wined and dined, this time courtesy a folk music-loving pathologist named Phil Collins – a series of descriptors I couldn’t make up if I tried. (Thanks for the veggie burger, Phil!) Alicia, Korby, Chuck and Mira and I played for hours. It was all made more delightful by the presence of Dana Falconberry – one my long-ago dance students from the Milligan School of Ballet, now all grown up to be a proper Austin-based singer/songwriter/movie star! There was hugging and happiness.

JAX show: Korby, Alicia, me, Mira, Chuck

Thursday morning, I returned the van (waah), went for a power walk (yeah), and went for smoothies (not a fan of smoothies, but they were OK).

The New Folk Tour moved on to the Open Ears Concert Series in an uber-liberal Presbyterian Church. After an impressive chili cook-off, we set to warbling. Wow, was it fun to sing in there. Everything sounded reverby and churchified, especially when Nicolette played Marathon and Korby played Cedars of Lebanon. The Chicken Song doesn’t go over well with intense, sacred reverb, I learned.

Le Korb and I spent the night at the comfy home of David and Peggy and their Weimariners. I slept like a log and dreamed that when I woke up, Korby would be riding an old fashioned bicycle up and down the cul de sac.

It didn't end particularly well.

 Friday night’s show was another keeper: the Rice Festival in Fischer, Texas. This old, happily un-renovated, deep country, honey-look-you-can-see-right-thru-the-walls venue has been described as “performing inside of a guitar.” It’s like a mini Kerrville, complete with Dalis Allen and a field of campers across the way. Again, a transcendent time playing music on a sunny late afternoon in the Texas hill country, where the light has its way with you. 


Soundcheck...



We stayed til they closed it down. Here’s us singing Cedars of Lebanon. (It'll open in youtube, maybe.)


It was 1 a.m. We drove down a series of roads and through gates, and across creeks to Stan and Chris’ ranch where the stars rained tiny little cowboy ballads upon our undeserving heads. It was sooo comfy and I crashed around 3 a.m. In the AM, I talked metal detecting with our hosts and got to see some of the stuff they’ve found around the place – just lying there on the ground. In addition to some awesome fossils, they found this.

Oh, man. Want.

As we packed up to go, I found myself sprinting down the path desperate to find SOMETHING.  I didn’t, but I left with an invite to return sometime. And I WILL.

Here’s the 2012 New Folkers sniffling their good-byes.

Love. 
Korby and I drove to Houston for a concert at the famed Rouse House. Another fabulous show, made more so by the presence of my cousin John and his dear gf, Jimmie. The Rouses really know how to put on a show: from the key-festooned guest bathroom, to the thousands of snow-globes, to the pugs (Pancho and Lefty) who tried to annihilate each other during one of my Most Serious Songs, to the amazing curried pumpkin someone brought to the potluck, to the brand-new swimming pool that I foolishly did NOT jump into fully clothed, to the two sets of songs played for smart people listening intently… it was the stuff of legend.

After a visit with J and J and meeting their lovely friends (and a rare command performance of Elton John/Whit Hill songs) I flew home on Monday, Nov. 12.

Which brings us back to MDing which, of course, is what you really wanted to know about.

This Friday after work, I plunged into a new Brush Hill yard I’d just gotten permission to hunt. Found this before stupid darkness – curse you Daylight Savings Time – sent me home:



Cool find. Did some research and I think I’ve tracked Michael Kavanaugh down (on Face Book no less), so don’t bother. More to come on that.

Spent four hours on Saturday in the same yard. Here’s the best find of the day, in situ.

St. Christopher medal with John XXIII. 

 And here's the whole day's take, from lower left: a modern bullet, a weird thing that says TEP CO, pennies from 1925 and 1942, a Naval-looking button (not sure about it; will find out), another weird thing, an old gas cap (I think), a 1963 rabies tag, a round thing (toy steering wheel?), bullet (?), bunch of clad (modern coins).



You  know you want a better look at the military button.
Not sure if it's old or not...  sure looks like gold gilt to me.

Nice yard! Thanks, enthusiastic home owner!

Heading back up to Michigan tomorrow for Thanksgiving with the fambly. (After last summer's automotive shenanigans, you can bet the St. Christopher medal will be tucked safely in the glove box.) Friday night, Al and I will be performing at METAL – a cool, new Ann Arbor gallery and metal furniture/art emporium. I’ll be bringing all my finds for a serious show and tell.

And I will have my Fisher F75 Limited Edition metal detector in the back of the van– as well as my Tesoro Cibola. Wanna play?








Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer Wrap-Up: Toothpaste, Lost Cows and $700




I haven’t found a ton of amazing things. I haven't had any particularly mind-bending experiences (except for one or two) over the last couple of months so I’ve been reluctant to write. Nor do I feel remotely capable of somehow melding my recent finds into any sort of life lesson or interesting through-line. So I’m just going to do a quick recap of the summer.

First, the Club Hunt.

I am a member of the Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club – a monthly meeting of some really friendly men and a smattering (me, Cheryl) of women.  We gather in a church rumpus room on the first Friday of every month and show each other what we’ve dug out of the dirt. Then there is Business to conduct, votes to tally, and “awards” (like an old bottle or a used magazine) to hand out. There are also many doughnuts available. I don’t go every month and when I do go, I try to be lubricated with a margarita from a nearby Mexican restaurant. The margarita makes me not want the doughnut.

Every year, the hardworking officers of the MTMDC arrange a Club Hunt for the members. This year, we'd been given permission to hunt a large farm not far from where I found my OHIO last November. Sounded quite promising. I put new batteries in both my machines and packed a lot of Gatorade.

It was mid-June. The day of the Hunt was clear and hot. By the time Cheryl and I got to the site, on some gently rolling hills, there already quite a few folks out there swinging.  We jumped right in. It was hard going – it hadn’t rained in coon’s age and the ground was not cooperative, but everyone had high hopes. I dug some old, rusty farm stuff, but enjoyed discovering this, back in a copse of trees.

Honk.

 Here's the inside.

Sad.

Cool.

After a big barbecue lunch, we all moved to higher ground, a pasture on the other side of a fence, and things quickly got interesting. There had been a house here, long ago. Here’s what it looked like from the top of the hill.



I dug this…
Whitley loves round things.

And this…
Someone said this was
part of an old bed, but I
can't figure how...

And this…
Decided to straighten it and
promptly broke it in half. Nice.

Somebody else dug this.
And no one has seen Cow #51
since that fateful day.


Then Cheryl skunked everyone with this GORGEOUS heel plate. 
Congratulations! (Seething jealousy.)

That there’s worth about $150. Just so's you know.

By this time, Cheryl and I were so crazy hot and dehydrated that we just gave up. There are plans to revisit this site at a more civilized time. I am ready at any time.

I spent a month of the summer up in Michigan. The first two weeks I worked at Interlochen Arts Academy teaching songwriting to 33 amazing young singer/songwriters from all over the country. 

Here's me and one of my classes:
It's a great camp, but the uniform thing is a little extreme.
Particularly the whole socks-with-sandals business.
 I have never in my life been less fashionable.
And that's saying a lot.

One day I mentioned to a coworker that I’d never found an Indian head penny and this turned into a conversation about how the things we get in life might not be quite what we asked for. That evening, I took the Cibola into the woods behind one of the amphitheaters and quickly found this.

1908 Indian head penny. Hit by a bullet.

So… yeah. I consider this to be one of my prize finds of all time.

I found one other cool thing at Interlochen. Many nights, I lay in my sweltering dorm room and worked on a two-week-old New York Times crossword puzzle. I was determined to nail that bugger down – in ink – but it was having its way with me. Night after night, I tried to figure out “Vintage toothpaste brand”… I knew it was “IpaNa” or “IpaMa” or “IMaPa” or something, but I just couldn’t remember and it was really tripping me up.

Then, in a soft, loamy area outside some cabins, I found this.

Words fail.

Why, thank you… O, crossword-sprites of the Earth.

After Interlochen, I spent two weeks in Ann Arbor and did a bit of digging when I could. Took my little niece, Olivia, to Burns Park and she dug a cool, old ‘60s-ish ring.


Love is all you need.
All you need is love.


Had a fun MD session with my buddies Rod and Linda out near their homes near Chelsea. No toe-curling finds, but a whole lot of fun in the dirt. Here’s our take.

One man's trash...


I got back to Nashville near the end of August then promptly had to go to Texas to play some music. When I got back to town, I revisited my tried-and-true Brush Hill lawns for a little Mother Earth pore-cleansing. Believe it or not, in an area I’ve dug dozens of times, I pulled out an 1875 seated Liberty dime and an 1883 nickel – by far the oldest American coins I’ve dug.



In the backyard of a house on Fatherland, I dug this before the mosquitoes chased me out. It’s burned and partially melted – quite possibly from the huge fire that leveled that block of Fatherland in 1913.

Can't wait to do a proper hunt on that yard.
It is FULL of stuff.


In other news: remember my OHIO? (See my very first post on this blog, Triune Hunt.) To recap, I found something very valuable in some deep woods almost a year ago and this morning, I met the esteemed Joe Haile -- a VIP hunter/dealer in Civil War relics outside a Macaroni Grill in Brentwood, TN and sold him my little OHIO for $700. It's going to a collector who will be very happy to have it, and will display it proudly. And I wasn't sad about it at all. Well, maybe a little sad.

Bye-O-Hio...


And so now I’m caught up. Stay tuned: there are lots – LOTS – of amazing digging adventures coming up soon. Including a major purchase that I… am… about… to… make…




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rain and Redemption


After the sweet thrill of Kerrville/New Folk, June plunged me into some serious weirdness and challenge culminating in the death my good buddy – and Nashville stalwart – David “Doc” West. Seemed like once the heat and drought set in, so did a cluster of scary, infuriating, exhausting and ultimately sorrowful events in my personal sphere.

I made it through, and, I hope, extracted from the excavated dirt and muck all the little morsels of shiny wisdom I could find. I certainly tried.

And through it all, somehow, I went nearly a month without swinging a Cibola metal detector. Oh, I wanted to. But temperatures in the 100s combined with weeks of determined rainlessness rendered the ground of middle Tennessee parched and hard as gypsum. You couldn’t dig; you could just sort of … chip. I’ve never been on a chain gang and saw no reason to replicate the experience in any way. So I stayed inside with my AC.

Doc’s memorial service was July 4th, and the last of the real scorchers. And soon after that came a rain: a tentative, midnight, 5-minute emissary – as if testing the ground, then reporting back to other rains who were waiting for clearance.  Those rains came too and things are green again. My tomato plants have survived. And, best of all, the ground is damp and diggable.  Here’s a report of recent finds.

My first excursion out post-drought was to a yard on Brush Hill Road. I’d met the young family at their yard sale and they’d kindly given me permission to hunt. As so often happens, the first thing I dug was the best.

Condom containers. Vintage.


Yup. Apparently, there were some good times to be had up on Brush Hill Road back in the 1920s. High on a bluff over the Cumberland it was a perfect vacation area for Nashvillians and there were camps, log cabins, and hunting lodges sprinkled throughout this part of North Inglewood. I know of at least one rumored speakeasy too.  Folks came there to… relax.

3 Merry Widow condom containers are found all over the country, sometimes with condoms still in them. This find really interested my FB friends. When I posted this picture on my wall I got 32 responses including one from my friend Randall who said that the brand is mentioned in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Of course, I just want to know if Agnes, Mabel and Beckie were real, entrepreneurial widders, or just an advertising gimmick. Anyone?

A few days later, after work, I ventured out again. A wooded area on Brush Hill had been bulldozed; looked like a house was going in there. I drove over and poked around. Bits of broken pottery. Old iron things, all just on the surface. Most tantalizing. A nice man in a nearby house gave me the name of the builder and I called and left a message and pretty soon he called me back with permission to hunt. Thanks, Mike!

Sadly, all I found was this.

Sweetheart deal. Purrs like a kitten.
I mean, that is sweet, but I’d expected to find a lot more. I think the bulldozer just flipped everything over and now it’s covered up for good.

The next day, Cheryl and I had a digging date and headed out to yet another Brush Hill yard.

I just love this yard. One area, near a tall tree, always seems to deliver. 

Here are some things I've dug here over the past year.

Colonial-era (pre-Civil War) flat buttons and a buckle

Iron buckles

Random buttons. The one on the top left
has gold gilt on it and reads "Treble Gilt Standard."
Probably Civil War.

Two handles of things: the top one is made of bone and iron.
(Dear animal who became a bone handle: You are now on the
Internet. How does that feel?)
Bottom handle is ... pewter?

 The ground was perfect: moist but not muddy and highly conductive. I started getting signals right away in areas that I’d gone over carefully on other visits. Many were tiny little signals you really had to hone in on. But some were big honkers like the one that yielded this.

Whooooa, Nellie!

We dug a lot of nails, but hey, nails are cool. Nails held together houses that people lived in and ate dinners in and had sex in and raised babies in. Go nails.

Beautiful nails + random round things


Pulled out this mysterious brass item. Any guesses?

I have no idea.

Pulled out the bowl of an iron spoon.

Mmm. Porridge, anyone?


Pulled out what appeared to be half of a flat button, similar to the ones shown above – circa late 1700s to early 1800s that I’ve dug here in the past. So that was nice. Unremarkable, but nice.


I saw Cheryl looking at something in her hand and went to see. It was “One Thin Dime” play money 10-cent piece. CUTE! I experienced a small seizure of jealousy (very mild). Then, wonder of wonders, not five minutes later I pulled out play money of my very own.

Now I can retire.

Also a bunch of WWII-era fasteners.

Thought they were older, but no. Yawn.
Also two musket balls and a 1930 penny.




Here’s where things get interesting. Cheryl was by the road now and called me over. Get a load of what she dug. OK, serious jealousy now.




Folks, this is a Spanish Reale – a silver coin that was honored as currency all over the world in the 1700s and 1800s. American colonists would just cut’em up to make change.













Just to show her my impressive skills, I dug up a 1960s (?) tie clip. 
Nifty design.

Tie clip, right?














It was official. Cheryl had skunked me good.

That night, though, I took a closer look at that “half of a flat button” that I mentioned earlier.

WHUH???


Hmmmm.

Well. This was unexpected.

I posted this photo on CoinTalk – a numismatist site – and learned that I had dug a half of an India-Bengal Presidential Pice. (Not “piece” but “pice”…) Early 1800s.

Now how an India-Bengal Presidential pice found its way to a river bluff just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, I’m not sure we’ll ever know.  But maybe…

From a coin maker to a merchant to a trader to a sailor, then across many oceans to an anxious wife who paced the small confines of her widow’s walk somewhere on the Atlantic coast. Worn for a year inside a warm bosom. Then, during hard times, used to buy flour. Carried in a pocket, traded from grubby hand to grubby hand. Cut in half, split forever. Then carried in a saddle bag down the old buffalo path that was in the process of becoming Gallatin Pike. Then left, along Love’s Branch to the river where someone said there was a hospitable cabin on the Cumberland where one could rest for a night. From grubby hand to housewife’s cleaner one. Plopped into an apron. An apron with a small hole in a critical seam.