The same day we had our armadillo encounter, we also found a HUMAN BONE. That's right. As in Homo sapiens. It was the lower half of a femur (the thigh bone) down to, and including, the knee joint. We didn't think to take a picture of it. I can only assure you it's true.
We were on the back nine of our walk, as it were, when my husband veered off the path and picked up something behind a large tree. At first I thought it was a tree branch, the kind where the bark has peeled off to expose the smooth inside portion (the cambium?), but on closer inspection I realized it was a bone. Half of my brain yelled, "Holy crap! That's a human bone!", while the other half said, "No way, Jose. One does not stumble over human bones while out on a power walk."
"Is TOO a human bone!"
"Is NOT, dumb ass!"
"Hey!" (This from the ass in question.)
"Shut up, you! No one's talking to you!"
This interior, not to mention disturbing, conversation would have gone on indefinitely, except that my husband made the boner of all comments. "I think it's a cow bone," he said. COW?
"Ha, ha! He thinks it's a cow bone!"
"What a dumb ass!"
Our daughter, who took an anatomy and physiology class in high school, studied the bone and announced with all the gravity of one who has dissected fetal pigs and homeless cats, "It's a human femur." BINGO!
My husband pitched the bone back behind the tree, where it split neatly in half from the impact on the soft ground. I think the sudden realization that he might be holding somebody's personal body part goosed him. Also, he was worried he might get implicated in a murder. I know this because he asked, "Can you leave fingerprints on bones?"
All the way back to the car we bickered about the bone. I insisted he had a duty to report his finding to the police. Richard, however, was still half convinced the bone had bovine origins, and was not keen to be the laughing stock (get it?) of the Richardson police department.
"Hey, Stan. You hear about the guy who thought he found a human bone and it was really a COW bone? What a dumb ass!"
I kept after him and finally he consented to call the police, but only to shut me up, and not because he was channeling his inner Dudley Do-Right.
Calling 911 was out of the question:
Dispatcher: 911. Make it snappy; my shift's over in five minutes.
Husband: I found a bone.
Dispatcher: You found a bone?
Husband: My wife is making me call. She says it's my duty as a citizen, or some kind of feel-good crap like that.
Dispatcher: Sir, what kind of bone?
Husband: That's a good question. My wife and daughter think it's human. I think it's a cow bone.
Dispatcher: A cow bone? Sir, if this is a prank call, you could be in very big trouble.
Husband: No! No, no, no, no, no! It's not a prank. I really did find a bone, but it broke, and...
Dispatcher: It broke?
Husband: I threw it on the ground.
Dispatcher: You threw it on the ground?
Husband: Do you always repeat what people say? It's very annoying.
Dispatcher: Sir, why did you throw the bone on the ground?
Husband: Because I picked it up?
Dispatcher: You picked it up?
Husband: See, you're doing it again.
Dispatcher: Sir, when did you find this alleged human bone?
Husband: This afternoon, after we saw the armadillos...
Nah, 911 was clearly out of the question, so he called the RPD's main number and, feeling like an idiot (he told me), explained about the bone he'd found. To their credit, they took him seriously, or maybe it was a slow day --- it WAS a Sunday --- and arranged to meet him at the park. As my husband said afterwards, the officers were very nice, but it was embarrassing walking through a busy park accompanied by two uniformed lawmen, like he was a freshly caught pervert they had found lurking in the bushes.
Turns out, our daughter was correct; the bone was human, not bovine, equine, porcine, or any other kind of -ine. The officers bagged it and that was that. We have walked by the "crime scene", as we call it, several times since then, but to my disappointment, no other people pieces have turned up.
Nor have we seen our little armadillos.
Crime scene: http://nycrpd.org/?p=8827
There's a nature trail very close to our house, Spring Creek Nature Trail in Richardson. The hubby and I often walk there on weekends. This particular trip, we were accompanied by our daughter, who is home from college and bored out of her mind.
We were more than half-way into our walk, when we came upon three little armadillos. They were busily rooting through the soil, and completely oblivious of the three scary humans watching them, even when my husband nudged one of them with his shoe. I always thought the reason 'dillos wound up as roadkill was because they are slow, and also because they have a peculiar habit of jumping straight up in the air when startled. I can't figure this jumping up bit from an evolutionary standpoint; what, exactly, does this accomplish? Because it sure as heck is not a good thing to do when a car is bearing down on you. Now I know there's another reason for the prevalence of squashed armadillos on Texas highways: it's because they are stupid. A three minute encounter will convince you of that.
We see a lot of wildlife where we live. Rabbits, possums, raccoons, snakes, lizards, toads and even the occasional coyote, but this was our first armadillo sighting. My eight-year-old self would have raced home for the old bat cage, but Prunella version 6.0, is more cautious. For one thing, armadillos can transmit leprosy to humans.
Speaking of possums, I'll never forget driving down our alley one night, kind of late --- I'd been out carousing with friends --- when a possum, a big one, trundles out and stops right in front of my car. My garage was three driveways behind him. I would have goosed the horn at the critter, but it was late and I didn't want to disturb my neighbors. So he stood there and I sat there and it was a regular Mexican stand-off. Finally, I backed up into the nearest driveway, hung a turn and drove away thinking I'd come up the other end of the alley (BEHIND the possum), so I could pull into my garage. In the time it took me to swing up the other way, my marsupial friend had waddled its way down, and was now blocking me from the other direction. We eyeballed each other for a time before I gave up and parked in front of the house that night, which was a mistake because my husband gave me grief about coming home too drunk to park in the garage. I told him about my nocturnal encounter with the possum, but he didn't believe me.
This is quite possumly the world's stupidest blog post.
Whelp, here it is, the middle of July. It's the annual summer malaise, and I have been truly and awfully bad about blogging lately. I did post a couple of Roadkill recipes, so I wasn't completely negligent, but those don't really count. There's just something about the good ol' summertime that brings out the lazy, hazy, crazy side of me. On second thought, eliminate crazy. It's just lazy and hazy around here.
I wish I could say we've spent the past month traveling in Europe or cruising the Mediterranean, but we've been sticking close to home. Come August, we will hit the ground running, and it will be a busier than usual fall.
Our daughter is home from college, of course. She wasn't home five minutes when she announced that she wished she was back in Lubbock. After spending the better part of a week trying to assimilate her junk into the general ebb and flow of the house, I was ready for her to leave, too.
Our younger son graduates from Texas A&M next month. He also commissions as a 2nd lieutenant on the same day, so we are headed en masse to College Station in a few weeks. For reasons I'm not very clear on (and it's probably best it stays that way), he has to move out of the house he's renting at the end of this month to go live in an RV until graduation. Trust me, after seeing the house, living in an RV will be a step up.
My only experience with RV'ing dates back to a ninth grade trip to New Orleans and a speech and debate tournament. The father of one of the girls owned an RV and generously offered to help caravan our nerd troop to NOLA. Naturally, EVERYONE wanted to ride in the RV, but there were too many of us to fit, so we had to take turns. I remember us kids sitting in the back around a large table, our adult chaperones in the captains chairs up front. To coin a pun, we drove Mr. Haggard (I kid you not, that was his name, and by the time the trip was over, he looked it, too), owner and chauffeur, crazy with our requests for pit stops. He would point out that there was a fully rigged bathroom on board and to use it, but there was no way we were going to use the onboard facilities. What if, despite the roar of the engine and the thrum of the tires, your friends could hear the tinkle in the bowl? What if, God forbid, you had to go number 2 and the smell escaped? One boy, Ted, finally did muster up the courage to use the toilet, and I remember we sat and giggled, guys and girls alike, while Ted did his business (or pretended to) just behind the accordion door. We were SO mature. (Ted, bless his heart, was working as a roughneck on an oil derrick one summer between college semesters, when he was accidentally struck in the head and killed. It was my first time ever to attend a funeral. It was an open casket and I remember being upset because his hair wasn't "right".)
As I type this, the older kiddo is 35,000 miles up in the sky on his way to Denver to visit his girlfriend. They met at a wedding in March, exactly four months and three days ago; he was a groomsman, she was a bridesmaid. They dated for two months until she graduated from SMU and had to head back home for an internship. This will be the first time they've seen each other, and I kidded him that I hoped the reunion goes well, that after two months apart, they aren't both going to go "OMG, what was I thinking?"
I will try to be better about blogging. No promises, tho'.
Lazily and hazily,
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