It has come to my attention recently just how important and valuable it is to be real with people. In light of this revelation, the direction of this blog may be changing. I say “may” because your input is important to me. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. The content of the following entry is as real as the reader wants it to be. The people’s names have not been changed. Any similarity to people living or dead is worth a raised eyebrow.
Grand Kallastocking Gazette
The name of this recondite little town is of Native American origin. It’s difficult to say what its original meaning was since it has gone through many shift changes in its history. The town’s senior members recall being taught that it meant “Great Spirit of the Midwest” although the current children of the town refer to it as “Big Socks” which the pregenerationalists find irreverent.
The town’s Native American roots are obvious for many reasons, not the least of which is the occasional find of an arrowhead. While digging in the dirt – a primary occupation of any child in a small mid-west town – the children of Grand Kallastocking have unearthed many and sundry arrowheads. There was one Florida transplant, Davy Stockmeyer, who freaked out when what he thought he’d dug up was an enormous shark’s tooth and even his limited fourth grade sense of geography caused him to realize the enormity of the find. It took the entire fourth grade class at Small Kallastocking (the elementary school), the teacher, Mrs. Breckinridge, the principal, Mr. Hinman, and half the reference books in the Small Kallastocking library to convince him otherwise. Even so, little Davy took a picture of it with his mother’s phone and emailed it to his friends in Florida with the caption, “You think you’ve got big sharks THERE!”
On this particular day, though, the unearthing that caused a social upheaval was when one of The John dug up a bone. The John was a family of Johns. John and Joni (not pronounced with the long o, but rather the short o) Johnson were from Flushing, New York. In keeping with what they considered an important and YouTube worthy theme, they named each of their offspring in the same vein – Jonathan, John-John, Johnna, Johnny. They nicknamed themselves The John from Flushing. That served them well until John Sr. was relocated and they landed in Grand Kallastocking. Still referring to themselves as The John, they lost the theme momentum and, consequently, their next child born was named Edith.
On this day, John-John Johnson, eleven years old, dug up a bone in the trees behind the town library. While his mother thought he was looking up research material for a school report on dinosaurs, John-John, inspired by the pictures of archaeological digs, took his research to the next level and, armed only with his Boy Scout knife and a new tennis shoe (the back still stiff enough to scoop), took to the trees and commenced to dig.
It wasn’t long before his knife chinked on something hard and, breathing rapidly, he bent over the excavation site and stabbed at the dirt around the hard part with his knife. Scooping the loosened dirt with his shoe, he soon was able to get his hand around the object and, twisting and grunting, he finally pulled free from its earthy grave a bone, approximately ten inches long and obviously not from any known human or animal source.
John-John, breathless with the triumph of discovery, sat back on his haunches and admired his trophy. Turning it over and over in his hands, his rapidly beating heart told him it was a major find, a newsworth find. And in the town of Grand Kallastocking news was delivered in just a few ways. John-John quickly chose his favorite method and commenced to screaming.
Before long, four children, six adults, and the manager of the library, Sam Wiggington, who refused to be called a librarian, were running to the back, the adults all expecting to find a crime in progress or a lot of blood. They stopped short when they saw John-John Johnson, a bone held reverently in his outstretched hands, his little face shining brightly and expectently. The children, caught up in John-John’s enthusiasm, were appropriately awed. The adults, however, dispersed rapidly and with great mumbling headed back to their prior activities.
Undaunted, even when they refused his repeated attempts to call them back, John-John turned to his eager, albeit junior, audience and proceeded to educate them on all things dinasaur and archaeological until a silence uncanny to the young settled over the group.
“What are you going to do?” It was little Machivelli (called Mac) Nicholson, his voice barely a whisper as he stared at the treasure.
Knowing there was only one thing to do, the only thing that would work in such a situation, the sure-fire way to get the attention due him, John-John gingerly set the bone back on the ground by the hole (to preserve the accuracy of the find, he explained later), and, shouting, “Follow me!” took off as if shot from a cannon to find his mother.
In the thirty-five minutes it took for John-John and his entourage which included all the children, plus six more picked up on the run, his mother, the editor of the newspaper whose arm she never loosened her grip on, and a news photographer stopped on his way to snap the Wednesday shot of the Grand Kallastocking Yard of the Week, Homer Grierson’s dog, Maisy, wandered along her path behind the town library and stopped in surprise when she found her buried treasure unearthed and lying on the dirt next to the hole she’d put it in. Picking up the bone, harumphing at the trouble, she trotted off to find another, more secure spot for it.
Due to Mrs. Johnson’s persuasive nature, the story still ran the next day in the Grand Kallastocking Gazette of the mysterious find of an odd and ancient-looking bone near the town library and its even more mysterious disappearance. John-John clipped the article, taped to to a piece of notebook paper, added his name and the date in the upper-righthand corner, and turned it in for his research paper. He received a C+.