In college, I worked at a restaurant called 94th Bomber Group. We dressed in ridiculous outfits that somehow resembled WW2 and people got to sit and watch planes take off as they dined. My sister worked there, my brother in law, the guy I was dating and at least a dozen of our friends. We ran that place like a machine. We all loved each other and knew exactly when someone was "in the weeds". After shifts, we would all hang out only to carpool back all hung over from a night of dancing and who knows what? It's funny. You never know when one of the best times is happening until it's over. At least, most of the time you don't.
We have been digging at Area 52 for 10 months now. Shane, Barry, Barb and I get along great and are able to get rock moving like we are on an assembly line. As many of you have seen in the pictures, at the end of the day, we all sit by the fire and just talk, laugh and maybe enjoy a cocktail. It reminds me of those college days and I am certain, Shane and I will look back at these time as some of the best in our lives.
Barry, Barb, Shane and I make up the Area 51 Miners business but we are not the only ones in the family. Over the past couple years, that family/crew has grown. We met Ryan through a mutual acquaintance. He came up to Area 51 to help dig an and just never stopped. Ryan and Shane feed off each other, cracking up the entire day away. Their inside jokes are a plenty and they almost complete each other.
Ryan stood up for Shane as a witness/best man in our wedding and honestly, there was no other choice with that. They are brothers, friends, mining partners and share the same passions. Listening to them geek out about minerals is delightful with their middle-school like banter. Ryan is smart, thoughtful and one of Shane most trusted friends.
Erik is a whole other type of person. He is foul mouthed and funny yet introverted. Erik would just assume dig by himself than spend any amount of time with people. I can truly identify with this. Back in the day, it was Erik who explained how to dig to me. I had been digging for months with seasoned miners but no one really took the time to explain to me the strategies, what to look for etc. Erik may not say it, and will more than likely deny it but he is a sweetheart. He just doesn't want to be hugged : )
Janelle and Todd started digging with us last year. Janelle and I became fast friends and I am pretty sure Shane would hang out with Todd daily if he could. Janelle works in the medical world, super fast paced stressful etc. but when she digs with the crew she has a way of making everyone feel welcome. She is giving, super friendly, and easy going. We also share a similar sense of humor which is scary. I don't think I have ever seen her without her beautiful smile lightening up the room (property).
Her husband Todd is super quiet, that is, until he gets on stage. Todd plays guitar, exceptionally well. He plays in a band call Albino Love Slaves, who I highly recommend. Todd is new to digging but he did find the nicest sceptor, to date from Area 52. He still beams at the moment it comes up in conversation. Out of everyone, I am so glad he found it.
Tammy and Sean are the latest members of the family. Tammy and I talk on the daily. She has been digging her whole life and knows her way around mining for sure. She also does jewelry and crafts that are just beautiful. Tammy may be the most appreciative and giving person I have ever met. My son just adores her and has even spoke about loving her even after meeting only one time. That says a lot about her.
Sean is no slouch when it comes to digging. That man can get down for sure. Sean is funny and easy to chat with. He and Barry are one in the same where they can just about build anything. As a person, he has a great sense of humor and a chill way about him. My son calls Sean the cool man. He thinks Sean knows it all. I think he may.
Bryan has been friends with Shane for several years. The story goes that Shane met him at the Herkimer Diamond show and invited him to a Canadian dig. After this, they never lost touch. He became like a brother to Shane.
Bryan is very quiet when he is digging. He gets in this state of Zen and just does his thing. When he finds something however, he explodes with joy and smiles ear to ear. His jubilation is so apparent, so contagious, that even his dog digs right along in the dirt when he isn't running around.
I get teary thinking about how Shane talks about Bryan. He honestly, adores the man. Bryan appreciates Shane's silliness and they share that live in the moment mentality, two peas in a pod. For me, someone who isn't always easy to talk to because I my anxiety has me questioning every word that comes out of my mouth, I can sit with Bryan and chat about crystals, or the Depp trial ( I was obsessed) or just nothing. I appreciate that more than anything.
Jake is a go-getter of a guy. He is a mixed martial arts fighter, personal trainer, gym owner, rock-hound and so many other things. We met Jake a couple years ago before Covid when he dug with us at Area 51. Jake loves nature. He hunts, hikes and spends a lot of time outside. He has a love of animals to the extent that he even rescued a kitten from the side of the road. I don't think I ever met anyone who looks at things like he does. He almost studies the environment or each crystal with this intensity, yet has the ability to notice people too. He has a heart of gold and the curiosity of a child.
He is quiet and reserved but easily played with my son, Joey who at four said, "Hey muscle man, wanna feel my muscle?" I froze not sure how Jake would react. He reached over squeezed Joey's tiny arm and said, Whoaaaaaa!" This past trip he and Joey played video games. My son is really drawn to Jake, I think most people are.
The reason I went on about the people in the Area 51 Family is to almost vent about how blessed I feel like we are. College years may have come and gone without me noticing that was one of the best times in my life. But this time, here in my 40's (29 if you are counting in female years) I am fully aware that this, Area 52, this moment, is one of the best times in my life and it's the people that make it that way.