Years Of Nothing
It had been years of hope and then disappointment. But as he strolled along the rough pathways and dusty ridges, he saw something he had never seen before. It wasn’t like the other baubles he had gathered over his many visits. And, soon, he would find out just how special it really was.
Upon first glance, Kevin Kinard of Maumelle, Arkansas might have looked like your everyday sort of guy. He enjoyed traveling, spending time with his friends, and the occasional party or night out. However, the 33-year-old banker had a very interesting hobby that most people who never guess.
It started in the second grade – a school fieldtrip that had most kids rolling their eyes or scrunching their noses. Going to a state park wasn’t anything to get excited over. But when his teacher told them what could be waiting for them, and what they might be able to keep afterwards, the kids’ interest skyrocketed.
Ever since then, Kinard had made sure to go at least one a year to scratch his passionate itch. And, even through the pandemic, he made sure his limited State travels included his ultimate hobby destination. So, when Labor Day rolled around, he and a group of friends piled into a car. However, he had no idea that this next trip would change his life.
Try Something New
As he breathed in the warm air laced with the scent of pine and earth, the group chose their plot and dropped their gear. But for some reason, Kinard didn’t feel like going through the same motions they had gone through for the past couple decades. It was a break in tradition that would end up making him a fortune.
Instead of stooping and sifting, Kinard grabbed his bag and slowly wandered the freshly ploughed rows of the meagre-acreage state park. His heart would skip a beat any time he saw something out of the ordinary. There were a few glistening shards that held a sliver of promise. And since the park had a “finders keepers” policy, everything was fair game.
The sun had dipped far past noon and Kinard’s back was hurting from bending down so much. Maybe he should have used the “traditional search method” instead of just wandering. However, out of the corner of his eye, the light caught something he had never seen before.
It was dark, rough, and about the size of a large pea – but there was in interesting luminosity that made it quite lovely. The crazy thing was it didn’t spike his adrenaline like other times he had made a hopeful discovery. It was probably just a piece of old glass. He shoved it in the little bag with his other finds and nearly forgot about it. Thankfully, his friends stepped in at the last minute.
It was common practice for everyone in the park to take their hauls to the main office and have an expert inspect to see if there was anything of value. The rest of the group pushed Kinard to do the same – the inspect was free after all. He shrugged and dumped his stones onto the counter. The employee’s attention went to the dark stone, and his eyes turned as huge as dinner plates.
The man grabbed the stone and ran to the back office. Finally, Kinard’s heart started to frantically pound in his chest. Excited jitters exploded through his body when he was asked to join them in the back where the superintendent of Crater of Diamonds State Park waited for him. Kinard could barely breathe.
Crater Of Diamonds
Why was the small park called Crater of Diamonds? Because millions of years ago, volcanoes spewed lava all over the area. The discovery of diamonds had turned it into a mine, but there wasn’t enough to make any significant profit. In the 1950’s the State took control and turned it into a tourist destination.
Countless people, including Kinard, sifted through the dirt looking for precious gems. Most of the time, they were worthless – just pretty stones that made for a good holiday story. However, the stunned banker had to sit down when they told him that he had not only found a valuable diamond, but he had also discovered the second largest one in the history of the park.
Weighing in at 9-carats, the value ended up at $250,000. But Kinard didn’t care. There was easily a small fortune in his future if he wanted to sell it, but that was the last thing on his mind. He thanked the workers and rushed to his bank to put it in a safety deposit box. He boss, did have one burning question.
“Are you going to quit?” Kinard answered with an adamant, “No.” He was still young and wanted to work. For now, the hobby that had started in second grade, and had finally paid off with a wealth of experiences and memories, was enough for now. He also had some advice for anyone who wants to explore like he did.
“Always have your finds checked.” But more than that, he reminded people that it’s not just about going to make money. Hobbies like these are all about having great moments with friends. Which is why his officially named his discovery the “Kinard Friendship Diamond.”