“About Us” could well be entitled “Confessions of a Recovering Obsessive Agate Collector” (That would be me). We, that is, my dear wife Jane (Barbara Jane actually, but simply ‘Jane’ to friends and family) and I, Bill, have been rock hounds, or would-be rock hounds, for as long as we can remember. I was always especially crazy for agates. We met in college geology classes and our first date was for a fossil hunt, although I had more in mind than collecting fossils (and I like to think she did too). By the way, we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary last year.
*Update: We are now well on our way to #42.
I was able to land a career as a geologist. Jane went to work as a coal chemist. Our first years together allowed for some rock hounding and lapidary work, but as more children came along opportunities became fewer and fewer. Jane left her job to become a full time wife and mother to our four children, a task at which she excelled. I took on the responsibility of sole bread winner, a task in which I was not quite as successful; but we managed. Despite the lack of rock hunting and other ‘terrible hardships’, those years of raising our children were great. Especially because those were the years that we came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and began learning to follow Him.
The time when we would be able to pick up our passion for rock hunting always loomed before us like a Holy Grail however. Finally, with the nest empty, we were able to plunge in – and we did. Going, hunting, buying, trading, cutting, polishing became a mania, especially to me. But, after a while, I began to remember the strains of the old Peggy Lee song, “Is that all there is?” and I decided to end my dances with agate, or at least sit out a few. Jane’s hands going bad, probably in part from hours spent grinding and polishing, has taken some of the luster off agates for her too (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Ending any addiction is difficult, but I’m making progress at putting agate collecting in its proper place. I no longer collect in the sense of trying to acquire and keep a “collection”, except a digital collection. For several years I have been kiting agates – buying one, photographing it, and selling it to buy another one. Still an agate mania, I realize, but a step toward recovery. Not a very good business model though, as I usually seem to loose money on the deals. But I have been able to acquire agates for photography I would not have been able to if I held onto them. None of the agates I have acquired, even temporarily, are really high dollar agates though, and most were quite reasonably priced; its just that there have been a lot of them.
This website, hopefully turning a mania into something good and useful, will be another step in my recovery. I want to thank Jane for her encouragement in building this website, even through a bout with cancer.
*Update: Now two bouts with cancer, but by the grace of God she is recovering her health and we are still together.
And I want to thank you all for visiting it.