By Eric LeMay

August 21, 2023


A year into the pandemic, as thousands of people were dying each day and March hung its low gray skies over us, my five-year-old son and I went out into the rain and dug a hole. We’d exhausted every game, every book and block. Why not dig into the cold wet dirt?

“Do you think we’ll find treasure?” he asked.

I stomped on the shovel, feeling it tear through the dead grass.

“Sure,” I said.

Maybe he believed me.

After we had a heap of earth, I took a dime from the change I’d brought with me and dropped it into the hole.

“See if there’s treasure,” I said.

He knelt next to the hole and pinched out the rain-slick dime. His eyes gleamed.

“Do you think there’s more?”

I turned over another shovel of dirt, then dropped a quarter. This time my son watched me, watched as I did it, smiling as the quarter struck the dirt.

“More treasure,” he said.

On we went, me dropping coins, him watching me drop them, then picking them out from the muddy clods. His fingers grew blacker and blacker, rain streaking his flimsy plastic jacket.

At one point, he had more coins than he could hold, so he asked me to hold them. I did and eventually I began dropping the same coins back into our hole, keeping our game—if it was a game—alive.


Eric LeMay lives in Athens, Ohio. The hole is still there.


Image by Pavel Kašák courtesy of Adobe Stock

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