Mystery Handcuffs

There are these planting rings cut from five gallon buckets, semi-buried around the edge of what used to be the division between my front yard, driveway, and street. Pine Leaf Penstemons had been planted in each one. I was told they did not like water. That thought was fine with me. I would water them not more than once a month and they thrived for over a decade.

Eventually the Penstemons arrived at the end of their lifespan and one by one died off. The planting rings have been devoid of plants for about four years as surrounding rock covered them nicely no one noticed there were plastic rings every few feet. Except the hummingbirds who were not happy their Penstemons died out.

This year I decided I wanted to put Penstemon in again for the Hummingbirds.  Food for Hummingbirds will be meager due to the drought we are in. A drought in the desert is much worse than a drought in other parts of the country. We are already dry and dusty to begin with. Even native drought resistant and drought tolerant plants have their limits when it comes to going without water.

Some plants try to go to seed and dry up. Other plants go into a type of hibernation waiting for rains to bring them back to life once again. Many plants simply die of thirst. According to the weatherman, water is not something they see in our areas future. Which brings me back to the rings.

I bought six Pine Leaf Penstemons and carefully planted one in each ring. I realized I had two rings left unplanted. The rocks did such a good job of covering them, I miscounted and actually had eight rings instead of six rings. I went to a local nursery and bought two more Pine Leaf Penstemons. The first went into the ground as the six before it.

When I started to trowel out soil from the last planter, I hit a rock about four inches down. I thought that was odd as I remembered taking out the rock and sand and replacing it with top soil before planting the first time around.

I angled the trowel more vertically, dug under the rock, and lifted. The rock was not heavy at all. I was surprised in that brief instant of how light it was. What came out of the ground was a ring with a chain holding another opened ring. Buried in that planting ring for who knows how long was a pair of Smith and Wesson Handcuffs!

Of all the items I would ever imagine digging up from in my yard, a pair of handcuffs would not be on the list! Yet here they were. They were a little corroded around the shackles and chain, but otherwise they were in fairly good shape. As I looked closer I saw they were engraved.

Mystery CuffsThe engraving was good quality, and after a Google search on the letters MCSO. I called the number that came up. Mara Copa Sheriff’s Office located in Phoenix and Chandler, Arizona. A ways from there to Albuquerque I thought.

I explained to the operator what I had dug up. The operator took down what I took to be the serial number. They put me on hold for a bit, and when they returned I was asked to call my local police department non emergency number.

I went through the explanation again, read out the letters and numbers of the etchings. I was again placed on hold. The operator came back on and told me a police officer would be by to take the handcuffs away. Less than ten minutes alter a police car arrived and a Police Officer took possession of the handcuffs.

I will probably never learn the story behind the handcuffs, or why the operators didn’t tell me to keep them or throw them away as I chose. Handcuffs can be purchased at almost any gun shop, or business that sells military or self defense items, so it isn’t like they are rare items here.

In retrospect I did feel a little cheated. Instead of handcuffs, a bag of old gold coins, or old stone encrusted jewelry would have been much more fun. Not sure if I would have made the phone calls to the police, but I imagine I would have.

Maybe I will go out searching for the recently hidden New Mexico treasure valued at millions of dollars. Perhaps treasure hunting is my true calling?