Raindrops Were Fallin' on my Head


Up at the cabin, a gentle rain begins to fall.

But I arrived prepared for drought, accustomed to not flushing the toilet unless absolutely necessary and accepting of the fact that my garden is a lost cause.



I am prepared to spend a waterless day amusing myself with a cheap, toy metal detector and a camera. So when the first few drops fall, I am in denial.

“Where are you going?” Mert asks as I plow on across the field, headed for the old soil road.

“Out to look for treasure,” I tell her.

“In the rain?”

Mert is the practical sort. She is sitting on the tractor, sheltered by a stand of pine trees as I clomp past her in my too-new Timberland boots. Mert sees no point in blindly carrying on with a plan when the elements dictate otherwise.


“It’s just a little shower,” I tell her. “It’ll blow over in a second and besides, I’ll be up in the woods on the soil road. The rain won’t even hit the ground.”

As I say this, thunder rumbles in the distance and the sky unleashes a deluge. Seconds later my hair clings to the sides of my head, everything electronic has gone dead and I am still marching across the soggy saw grass.

Mert stays behind for the first ten minutes but then she does finally follow me. As we move deeper into the woods and the rain intensifies, Mert asks if I don’t think the buried coins and memorabilia wouldn’t have washed down the hill and be lying closer to the entrance of the road. This is her way of saying, “You idiot, can’t you see it’s pouring out here and we’re only getting drenched?”

“No,” I tell her. “Wagon wheels and Civil War belt buckles don’t wash away like that.”

She takes the trowel and for the next ten minutes patiently digs at the sight of each blip on the detector’s screen. But when the rain begins to blow sideways and the claps of thunder intensify, Mert flees back toward the cabin, abandoning me to my foolish errand.

A minute later, as I slowly admit defeat and turn to follow her, the metal detector releases a scream unlike any of the other shrill beeps and blasts, with the exception of the test screech it made when I tossed my silver watch on the ground and held the detector’s head directly over top of it.


“Mert, wait! Come back! I’ve got something!” I yell, but she is out of sight and wouldn’t have listened anyway.

I kneel down in the leaves, brush them aside and reach for the trowel, but it’s gone too, secure and dry in Mert’s back pocket.

There is no point in running for shelter. I trudge slowly down the hill, the camera stuck beneath my shirt, and stand on the porch of the abandoned cabin studying the leftovers from previous tenants.


When there is still no let up, I take out the camera and try to photograph raindrops, then snap my reflection in the old, porch mirror.


I picture Mert warm and dry. She’ll be wearing clean, dry clothes and eating the fried chicken I brought up for our picnic, I think, feeling sorry for myself. I picture the cabin’s cheery kitchen and Mert munching away at the old farm table.


I study the cobwebs draping the doorway into the old abandoned cabin and begin to feel sorry for myself.

If I’d really wanted treasure, I think, studying the shelves that rim the porch, I could’ve just come here and grabbed one of these. A rusted canning rack, an old biscuit cutter, a length of hand-forged chain.

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All the things I’ve seen on relic hunting sites are right here on the porch, or better yet, lying open out on the ground atop the Big Ugly garden patch.

Nearby the bushes shake. Something is coming. I remember Mert saying the neighbor had warned her about bears on the hillside. I grab the metal detector, prepared to defend myself, when I hear her.

“Hey, I got an umbrella and a towel,” Mert says, appearing on the overgrown path. “Figured you might want to keep the camera dry.”

There is not one ounce of “I told you so” in her voice.

“Let’s go back to the cabin and eat some chicken,” she says.


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