Last fall, when we were cleaning up the Millennium Gardens at 260 Douglas Ave., Bill and Gussy Schroeder were working very hard to get all the tomato vines, corn stalks and other green stuff into the compost bins.
We were helping, too, using scissors and knives to cut eight-inch lengths of plant materials that had a good chance of decomposing more quickly.
Bill cut up the corn stalks with an axe, vigorously chopping at them as they lay on a board.
He had been ill for a while and consequently had lost a noticeable amount of weight. This caused the wedding ring on his fourth finger to slide off and disappear somewhere in the five-foot pile of cut-up stalks, leaves and shoots.
What to do? It seemed hopeless to find the ring in that large pile. But help arrived in the form of his son David. David brought with him a metal detector. He was delayed a bit while taking the time to show my grandchildren how it worked. He threw some change down onto the ground and, with great delight, the kids were allowed to pick it up using the detector.
But the compost pile was huge. Where to begin? We began to push vines, branches and leaves aside exposing more or less only the corn stalks. And David began to push his "stick" all around. There was breathless excitement among the children. Suddenly there was a loud "ping" and the ring appeared!
What a whooping and hollering and hugging among all of us! One of the nine-year-old boys said in a quiet voice: "I prayed that we would find it!"
Everyone went home happy. The children hurried home to write it as a story or even a book. They had been impressed. And, of course, Bill and his wife were quite ecstatic, too. All because David knew how to use a metal detector.
Bertha Klassen is a North Kildonan-based writer.
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