Monday, November 3, 2008

Dinosaur Egg

Recently at work I had occasion to unload a task on a colleague named Rocky. (No, I'm not proud of it, but he and I often take up slack for each other, so I don't feel any guilt either.) So I sent Rocky an email expressing my thanks for his help.

The Rock replied: I'm working on another "deal" for you. I expect fruition soon.

So of course, I had to respond: Oh, I see. You pick up only the dry cow paddies.

Rocky then shared: If you could see the paddies I get to wade through, all your hair would suddenly turn gray and fall out. Oh, wait a minute...

As the balding gray-haired one between us, I had the good sense to fire back a note conceding his victory in this skirmish of wits.

But Rocky's and my little cow-paddy exchange has unearthed from the recesses of my cranial wayback machine a dusty story that's worth sharing.

Back in 1988 I left Joyce at home with two toddlers and took our oldest son Andy on a trip to visit my brother Roy and his family on the banks of the Yellowstone in Forsyth, Montana. (Okay, so I'm an insensitive lout.) But anyway, when Andy and I arrived, Roy and his family went all out to make sure we sucked every bit of the marrow from Forsyth's entertainment offerings. We saw the Air Force radar site, the rusty metal implements at the pioneer museum, an ancient Disney movie at the local theater, and prehistoric evidence of dinosaurs on the ranch of a man named Swede.

I see it clearly in my mind. Standing on a partially eroded slope, Swede picked up an elongated rock, looked it over carefully and then informed us that it was a fossilized dinosaur egg. Andy and his cousins gathered around to fondle this magical rock. Swede challenged them, "Boys, you know this hillside was apparently a dinosaur nesting ground. There are fossils like this all over this hillside."

The kids scattered and began bringing Swede every geological chunk they could find, begging him to determine its fossilhood. Andy hopefully held up a particularly promising petraglyph for Swede's interpretation, but Swede demurred, "You might want to ask your dad what kind of fossil that one is."

Little six-year-old Andy (cradling his precious hemispheric stone with both hands) looked to me expectantly. A cursory inspection of Andy's relic quickly revealed its true identity, so I counseled, "Andy, that's a fairly new fossil. It's what's known as a 'dessicated bovine deposit'."

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