The hunt was on — the treasure hunt.
Anthony and I had come back to Ohio for a visit with my mom, sister and brother. It was a nice chance to see them during a down time; between the holidays and the summer, there would be few opportunities to come back.
Anthony’s arrival is cause for celebration; as the only grandchild, he lives like royalty for a few days. I guess they like to see me, too.
These impromptu trips are a nice departure from our regular holiday visits; there is no schedule to keep or traditions to uphold, just an opportunity to catch up and relax.
One of the greatest joys is seeing my brother and sister get to be aunt and uncle for a weekend. They get to spend quality time with Anthony, sharing with him all kinds of fun activities. I have fond memories of my aunts and uncles doing the same for us when I was a kid, and it means a lot to see my own siblings step into that role.
Anthony got to sit at the table with his Aunt Liz and my mom making homemade Valentine’s Day cupcakes. They guided him to dump the cupcake mix into the bowl, crack the eggs and add the oil, even use the mixer (with some adult supervision). He poured the batter into heart-shaped molds, while my mom put the whole thing in the oven.
When they were complete, they all frosted and decorated the creations. Anthony was so proud as he explained the process to me.
“And Daddy, I did it all by myself!” he said.
I could see my sister was delighted to be part of that.
Then later that afternoon, Anthony got to take part in my brother’s newfound hobby.
You see, he’s become hooked on “The Curse of Oak Island,” a reality TV show documenting the exploits of a team of treasure hunters in Nova Scotia. He’s brought that enthusiasm to Northwest Ohio, buying or receiving as gifts metal detectors, special shovels, treasure-holding pouches and more.
Anthony thinks it’s the coolest. When Uncle Cory promised to take him on an excursion in my mom’s backyard, he excitedly jumped at the chance.
So after putting him in his “messy” clothes and bundling him up, we joined my brother along the wooded creek that runs behind the house.
For about an hour, Anthony and my brother poked around in the dirt. Uncle Cory would wave his stand-up metal detector over the ground, waiting for the high-pitched beep that proved something was under there. They’d dig a few holes, while Anthony used a more sensitive hand-held metal detector to pinpoint their find.
Sometimes they didn’t locate anything. Other times, it was just everyday detritus — twisted bits of fencing, a little rusted nail, an unrecognizable bolt from some long-ago building project.
But then they found a mother lode. Anthony uncovered two foreign golden and silver coins, jumping up and down as if he’d just flipped the lid on a chest of gold doubloons. We are not sure where they came from; my suspicion is they were leftovers from a coin-collecting kit I had ordered when I was a kid.
Regardless, it was enough to make the treasure hunt a success.
Anthony took all of his finds into the house to clean off, and have them stored in a little container in his toy room. He’s proud of the bounty, and looking forward to our next visit.
I’m glad he had fun. But more than the coins and the nails and the decorative stones he found, I’m more appreciative of the true treasure — getting to spend some quality time with his aunt and uncle.
Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].