If the saying “find a penny, pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck” was true, Rick Williamson would be the luckiest person in Abilene.
Running and walking in Abilene since 1980, Williamson has found a lot of trinkets and of course, pennies. Williamson calls his street findings “streasures.”
It wasn’t until last month that Williamson found anything of real value.
Walking on the west side of Spruce Street just east of the parking lot of Little Ike Park, he found a Michele brand watch.
And now he wants to give it back to the rightful owner.
He checked the Michele web site and found it was a high quality women’s watch.
“I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a knock off. I’ve seen knock offs and I have bought them,” he said.
Before he spent too much time or effort trying to locate the owner, he first wanted to know if it was authentic. Sending it to a Michele repair facility in Texas, it was determined that it was indeed the real thing and was indeed valuable.
“I found it and it was in two or three pieces,” he said.
The watchband had come off.
“I thought it was just a bunch of pieces and I started fiddling with it,” he said.
He got the watch put back together.
Williamson said when he was the president of the First National Bank in Abilene he started running for stress relief.
“This was during the farm crisis and I was new at the job. It was a little overpowering so I started running,” he said.
He ran in three marathons and several 10K runs.
Then he says what happens to aging runners happened to him and he started walking.
A couple years ago he amassed enough stuff for a 10 foot by 15 foot display in his garage of his ‘streasurers’.
The display included his collection of pennies, nickels, dimes, bolts, nuts, sockets, pencils, pens, washers, marbles, cigarette lighters, Nerf bullets and lots of hair bands.
He said most of his friends found the display “interesting.” Others told him he shouldn’t “give up his day job.”
He has a map of Abilene showing the location of where he found the collection of pennies, nickels and dimes in one year.
He said the money collected that year totaled $7.
“But it was 99 percent pennies,” he said.
Among his collection were quite a few steel pieces that no one could figure out what they were.
The 2-1/2 foot long pieces were flat, about a 16th of an inch thick, smaller than a pencil.
“I started collecting these little pieces of metal,” he said. “We couldn’t figure out what they were.”
Finally, he was told they were the blades and parts of the city of Abilene’s street sweeper.
The steel pieces make up the gutter brush.
Williamson said that all the running and walking saved his life during one incident.
In 2006 he was in Colorado, hiking up Grays Peak. He was at 14,000 feet when he had a heart attack.
“Of course, it happened on top and I had to get myself down,” he said. “He (his cardiologist) said that all the years of exercise probably saved my life.”
If the rightful owner of the watch has proof of purchase or ownership, they can claim it by contacting Williamson at (785) 263-7038.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.