I'd been dating Jeff, an avid artifact hunter, for about two months when he asked if I would be interested in
going artifact hunting with him Sunday November 12th 2000. On the night that he asked it was cold and rainy and
walking through the cornfields of Indiana in that type of weather didn't sound too appealing. Don't get me wrong,
I've never thought of myself as a wimpy or prissy girl. I've ran in four of the Indianapolis mini-marathons, hiked
the flat-irons in Boulder, Colorado, participated in a 400 mile week-long bike ride across Indiana, and I enjoy
weight-lifting and am a certified group exercise instructor. Physical, outdoor challenges are not new or intimidating
to me, but walking in a muddy cornfield looking for rocks - I wasn't too sure about that. On top of that he suggested
that we go to Meijer and shop for rain-gear. This was not sounding like a lot of fun. But with both of our work
and activity schedules I knew that if I wanted to spend more time with Jeff, I'd better at least give it a fair
I guess many would consider me to be rather spontaneous. I've been known to decide to take a road trip and pack everything in the car and the last thing that I'll decide to look at is the map. Only after everything is in the car and I'm actually heading down the highway do I decide to see if I still have a map in the glove compartment. On this Saturday morning when I arrived at Jeff's house for our excursion, he had a cooler packed with sodas, extra clothing and the maps laid out for our day.
Luckily, the rain had stopped during the night and the sun was beginning to peak through the dark, heavy clouds. It was still chilly but starting to warm up. After a cup of coffee and a scrumptious cinnamon roll we were off.
We headed east to the countryside. Jeff knew the area well and it became obvious that he knew exactly what he was looking for. We drove past numerous fields and beautiful old farmhouses. We stopped at a very old small cemetery along the way and stretched our legs. Jeff explained to me that many of the fields that we passed weren't quite ready to be hunted but we made notes of the conditions and locations of the fields for future hunting. I was actually enjoying the drive through the countryside. I seldom take the time to relax that way. As many can relate, through the workweek it's a constant hurry-up and go. We drove for one or two hours while Jeff explained his hunting strategies and the importance of careful planning.
When we stopped for lunch it was at a small country store that was heated by a wood burning stove. There were about fifteen local farmers enjoying their mid-day meal at a long table sitting right in the middle of the store. This brought back fond memories of the store we lived near in Meador, Kentucky when I was a child. We used to order a bologna and cheese sandwich and the storeowner would slice the bologna from the roll and make the sandwiches. Those were the best bologna sandwiches in the world. This particular store in Indiana didn't have the huge roll of bologna so I ordered a "famous pork burger" which was delicious.
Jeff took the opportunity to re-introduce himself to a couple of the local farmers and again ask for their permission to hunt on their land. I was relieved that he requested and obtained permission because I sure didn't want to be shot for trespassing!
After lunch we went to one of the fields and my first artifact hunt began. I had never been very interested in history but I found the stories that Jeff told me about the Indians very interesting.
Jeff was patient with me and took time to point things out and help me to understand what I was looking for. We moved on to another field and walked and talked some while we were hunting. We were just about ready to call it a day when Jeff spotted an axehead. He said Darrell and his tradition was that when they are hunting together and one makes a find the other person extracts it from the ground.
By this time the clouds were beginning to build again and the temperature was dropping so we called it a day and headed home. The fresh air and sunshine and exercise felt wonderful and rejuvenating. That evening after we showered and sat down together to watch a movie I reflected on the day. I was so relaxed and felt so at peace that I drifted off to sleep within just a few minutes. Even though I did not find an artifact, I was fortunate enough to find so much more, memories and peacefulness. It was a beautiful day.
By: Pam Sheets
November 16 2000 10:55AM