Real oldies; the subject matter, not the song or any of the performers.

When I was a tiny sprout I had a bump of paleontology; at the time the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History was only about a fifteen minute drive away (and you could drive downtown, and park, and live to tell the tale). I remember being introduced to some curators who seemed vaguely charmed by the idea of a bespectacled little five-year-old ginger in small corduroy trousers who was fascinated with trilobites and ferns and knew how to tell a brontosaur from a brachiosaur and what a coelacanth was. They were tinkering with an exhibition and someone lifted me up to the seat of a chair so that I could look at the specimens scattered on a high worktable — being cleaned, or relabeled, or rearranged, I can’t remember.

Brontosaurs are passe, by the way. Apparently they were a mistaken classification of a type of apatosaurus. Who knew.

I have cigar boxes (King Edward VII brand) full of things like sharks’ teeth, and a brontotherium vertebra and an Eohippus jaw, though my only trilobite is a jacket pin, not a real casting. I used to sit with big children’s fossil books, half as tall as I was, completely screening me from the room and fantasize about being afloat in a Cambrian ocean, teeming, warm, silent and endless. I’m not sure which species I imagined I was.

So you know I gotta love these guys.

Oh Canada!


4 thoughts on “Oldies

  1. It’s O Canada, Sled as in “O Canada our home and native land…” and the song incorporates the first few measures of our national anthem. It has nothing to do with Oh! Oh etc.
    Of course Alaska has a small share of the Cambrian Shield but Sarah could’nt see that from her former office window.

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