Garage Sale Finds

Books and books and more books. My life is surrounded by them. I read them, write them, and collect them, and trade them—on any interesting subject, fiction or non-fiction alike. I frequent garage sales on the weekend because they are the best source of new finds. The Internet has every old book in existence, but you can’t thumb through them online. I like the physical experience. You can only enjoy the hunt in person. When I get donations of old stuff, it takes the excitement out of new acquisitions.

At a garage sale not long ago, I found something I never expected I would buy: a book on metal detecting called Finding a Fortune. It was your basic how to and included some rather nice illustrations. Something about me was motivating. It wasn’t that old so the information was timely and I would learn something entirely new. My father used to collect gold coins and he had his own metal detector to use at the beach or in the park. It amused me to watch him amass bottle caps from their hidden homes in the ground. Only once did he find a coin—an old silver dollar. It was his one big success. In his memory, I will find out the appeal of this hobby by buying the used book.

I relished every page and actually considered starting metal detecting as a new hobby. It is easy and can be done most anywhere. If you are a true aficionado and belong to a club, you can get hints about the best places to go. This way as a beginner, you won’t just bag a lot of junk. Kids don’t mind this approach as any cast-off object is a find. Some make sculptures by welding pieces together. As for me, how about detecting a precious metal like gold.

You have to buy the right device for a given location and learn how to do the settings that will yield the best results. Each gadget has a low or high degree of sensitivity so you get anything from coins to metal trash. You also need to learn how to read the sound signals. It is kind of challenging and fun. Dad, I know what made you gravitate to this activity. I wish you could go with me and share your expertise. I am being a bit of a jokester here given his poor track record.

The book gives all the tips and tricks of the trade and what items you are likely to find. This becomes your inspiration to take on the pastime. No one gets rich overnight, but it does pass the time on a picnic, camping trip, or outing at the beach. You can do it with friends and kids and make it a group project. You can even run a contest and award the winner with the best find of the day. It can become super competitive and a great way for a family to bond.