Ron Marinucci: Treasures - September 2013

Ron Marinucci: Treasures - September 2013

Treasures, that’s what I call them. They are the things I find while out on my runs or bike. I don’t really have to look for them. Usually they sit right there on the shoulders of the roads.

Depending on what type of run I’m doing, I may or may not stop to get them. For instance, if I am running with friends, engaged in conversation, I’ll pass them by. Likewise, if I am doing something a little more structured, such as hill repeats, I let them go, too.

But if I’m out there alone, slogging my way through a nice, easy run, I’ll grab something that looks interesting—a treasure.

Usually they are small and light enough to put in my pockets or just carry in my hands. I have a friend who golfs a lot. I’ll bet I’ve given him three or four dozen golf balls this year alone. Not being an avid linkster, I don’t know if they are good or bad, but he gets them.

Oh, I pick up money, of course. Mostly its nickels and dimes, with a few quarters, rather than pennies. My running friend Patty Pape coined them “road change,” pun intended. It seems that coins come in bunches; that is, when I find one, the next few days bring others. And, if I pick up a quarter, usually the next few coins are also quarters.

I’ve found real money, too—bills! The first sizable bill, $10, I found, well, a long time ago. Those ten dollars were enough for Karen and me to have dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant. That’s how far back that was; two dinners for $10! While mostly the “paper” is $1 bills, I have found some twenties, Jacksons. I don’t remember how many of them, but a few. I do recall that twice I found $50 bills. One I gave away a couple of days later; someone needed it more than I did. The other went into Matt’s college fund.

I’ve probably found half a dozen or more wallets, some with money in them—money I didn’t keep. Over a period of a couple of months, I think I discovered three billfolds or purses. When I started to call the police about the last one, Karen jokingly suggested I reconsider. Maybe they might start to get suspicious!

Several wallets had drivers’ licenses and I looked up phone numbers from the names and addresses, returning them that way. Once, the wallet belonged to a son of a colleague from work. The boy was worried sick about “losing” it. His dad came over to claim it, saying his son probably put it on the roof of his car when he drove away from a nearby lake. No, I didn’t accept the reward offered.

One call I made was odd. The owner of the wallet didn’t seem too concerned. He told me I could drop it in the mail, “if you want.” I asked about the credit cards in there, but he was equally unconcerned. I did pop it in the mail, but never heard anything again.

Back when I ran before work, at 5 AM, I came across a pillow case along a boulevard. Picking it up, there were items inside, but I couldn’t see what they were in the dark. Finishing my run, I turned it over to my boss, who notified the police. Deputies arrived at my classroom door, asking to speak with me in the hallway, which drew more than a few curious looks from my students. There had been a break-in overnight just down the road. The items in the pillow case had been taken from that home. But, again, that’s the last I heard of it.

Tools are pretty common treasures. I’d guess they fall off trucks rather than being tossed out of windows by their owners. Some are in good shape and worth keeping. A few screwdrivers and wrenches (including two big pipe wrenches), as well as files and wire brushes, have been added to my workbench.

The most unusual treasure I’ve come across was a machete. A machete? Well, that’s what the deputy called it. It had a long, maybe 22-24 inch blade, shaped like a machete. It was a bit rusted. The handle was made of hard plastic. The deputy and I figured, due to the rust, that it had been outside on the side of the road, hidden in the near weeds, for a while. But, I hadn’t seen it on any previous runs past where I found it. When I called the Sheriff’s Department, the dispatcher listened to me and then repeated, with some hesitation, “a machete?”
Yep. She said she would send out a deputy. He arrived and I showed it to him. He asked when and where and a few other questions. He didn’t seem too bothered by it, although he did refer to it as a “machete.” In fact, he started to walk away and said I “can keep it.” I planned to toss it in the trash and he appeared to be fine with that. He actually got back in his car, but must have done some thinking. He got back out, took it, and said he’d call around to other departments to see if there had been “any reports.” He asked if I wanted it back later, but I told him to “just pitch it.”

A few times I’ve found bicycles, likely stolen and then abandoned. I called them in and the next time I ran by each was gone. I don’t know if the police took them, the owners discovered them, or what.

Once I came across a scooter, out in the middle of nowhere. Still there a week later, I drove past in my car and took it home. This was years and years ago. Michael and Ashley had fun with it and Cody was riding it just the other day.

While hardly treasures, I frequently see a great deal of wildlife. Deer, rabbits, and the usual have been too numerous to count, but I still get a kick out of seeing them, especially deer that let me get pretty close. Three times I’ve seen coyotes; one was roadkill. The other two scampered away. While running I’ve come across about half a dozen foxes, red ones, again one dead on the shoulder of the road, a result of an encounter with a car. Most quickly ran away, but one seemed to be curious, almost checking me out, before I came too close and he ran away.

There are many reasons why I run. Finding treasures is not one of the important ones. But they do add a bit a spice to some of my days.