Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dinosaurs and Grandchildren

Dinosaurs and Grandchildren
Recently I heard about a new find of the largest dinosaur that ever existed. The completeness of the Dreadnoughtus remains, discovered in Argentina in 2005 and unearthed between 2005 and 2009, allowed scientists to estimate its weight with unusual precision. At 65 tons, Dreadnoughtus was heavier than many models of the Boeing 737. It's the largest dinosaur whose weight can be accurately calculated, says discoverer Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University, who named the beast after the vast 20th-century battleships called dreadnoughts. Well, this finding took me back to a very special conversation with Connor, one of our grandsons who grew up in the dinosaur-rich West.

One night as I was telling him bedtime “bear stories,” he asked about dinosaurs. What was the biggest her asked? I think he already knew the answer, but was just checking in on my knowledge. I said, maybe it isn’t the longest, but the most ferocious was Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Mesozoic age. It was the true “king of the jungle” at the time. They called him “T-Rex.” It was over 40-feet and 12-tons and carnivorous, eating everything in its way having 12- inch septic teeth. In fact, it was discovered just a few miles from your home here in Montana. Well, apparently that fact did the trick as Connor’s eyes opened wide and he stuttered, “Does he eat little boys.” At that shaky utterance I needed to tell him that he no longer exists to hurt little boys, but he sure used to. I’m not sure if our conversation was preparing him for bedtime or for taking up arms to protect the family compound. I suspect the latter.

Years have gone by and Connor is still interested in dinosaurs and arming himself as a hunter-marksman as well. Now that is a family tradition being passed down, not necessarily because of dinosaurs. We gave Connor my old solid bronze miniature dinosaur collection from the Milwaukee Museum as his own. They stand alert on one of his collection shelves in his bedroom today. 

I’m still not sure if my bear and dinosaur stories are right for bedtime, but Connor and his two brothers sure enjoy them as they huddle together with a bed quilt pulled up to their noses for protection. I guess this kind of story from a grandfather named “Paga” is just part of the right of passage for little boys to ponder as they go to sleep in peace with monsters prowling around looking for someone to devour outside.  

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