When I was in Grade 2, back in prehistoric times, I must’ve really been into football. I say “must’ve” because I honestly don’t remember. I am, after all, old — or so my kids tell me. To tell the truth, I only remember bits and pieces on either end of the incident I’m going to tell you about; although the incident itself is still as clear as a bell.
I had this friend named Morgan. Don’t ask me what his last name was. That’s one of the things I don’t remember. Not sure if I even knew it to begin with.
Anyways, on this particular day in Grade 2, it was Morgan’s turn for “Show and Tell”. Remember “Show and Tell”? That day in school where you got to bring something that was very important to you with you to school and share it with the whole class? God, I used to love that; especially when it was my turn.
It must’ve been a Monday because Morgan had gone to Drumheller over the weekend with his parents.
Drumheller, Alberta is home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology which currently houses Canada’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils. However, the Royal Tyrrell Museum didn’t open until 1985 and trust me when I tell you this was well before then. So, I’m going to guess that Drumheller had some sort of Paleontology museum open at the time because Morgan came back from Drumheller with an 8″ ceramic brontosaurus. It was this very ceramic brontosaurus that he brought to “Show and Tell” on the morning in question.
Now, I can attest to the fact that Morgan did indeed do his “Show and Tell” presentation for the class that morning. I can attest to the fact that when you’re in Grade 2, especially back in those days, ceramic brontosauruses are very, very cool. And I remember that Morgan was feeling about ten feet tall because he was the only kid in class that had a ceramic brontosaurus. (I’m not really sure what the big deal was. It’s not like he could play with it or anything. It was a statue. It was supposed to sit on a shelf and look nice.)
So… Morgan and I are walking home after school. Just the two of us. Parents in those days didn’t walk their kids to and from school. You just went yourself which, looking back on it, probably wasn’t such a good idea. Not that anyone snatched us or anything but seven-year-olds tend to get distracted rather easily and walking six blocks home from school could take an hour or more. When you got home, you weren’t greeted with, “Omigod! I was so worried! Where have you been???” It was more like, “How many times have I told you not to dawdle on your way home from school?!”
When we left school, Morgan was carrying this ratty old used up paper bag. We stopped across the street from his house, probably talking nonsense as seven-year-olds usually do. While we’re talking, Morgan set that crappy paper bag on the sidewalk and knelt down to tie his shoe.
I distinctly remember saying, “Hey, Morgan! Watch this!” and I took two steps back, lined up, and charged forward to take my very best attempt at a field goal with that well-used paper bag as the ball. POW!!!
The bag flew off the sidewalk and arced through the air, the envy of any place-kicker, followed by a blood curdling scream as Morgan burst into tears and followed it out into the street. For a second, I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was for.
Okay so, you know the sound a coffee mug makes when it slips out of your hands and lands on the floor, shattering into a million pieces? Yeah. Exactly the same sound a ceramic dinosaur in a crappy old paper bag makes when it lands on the pavement.
Morgan snatched the bag off the pavement and ran, screaming and crying, into his house. I stood frozen on the sidewalk, trying to figure out what the hell to do, sure that, at any moment, Morgan’s mom was gonna come out and flip out on me.
Just then, my dad pulled up beside me in his car, off early from work. Never in my life have I been so glad to see anyone. I hopped in and he couldn’t take off fast enough for me.
I’m pretty sure Morgan was not my friend anymore after that.