A Dinosaur Bone
By James E. McEldowney
Bachelor Days Stories - Table of Contents The Mercy Ship Gripsholm

What would you do if when you went on an Easter Egg Hunt you found a dinosaur bone? The bone we found that Easter morning was so big we could hardly carry it.

At our college in India we always had an Easter sunrise service. One year Stanley Thoburn, who was the Principal, decided to have the service on top of a high hill about a mile from the college. The hill was called Bara Simla. That actually means large mountain. It was called that because very near was a smaller hill that was called Chhota Simla or small mountain.

That Easter morning long before daylight the students and staff left the college and walked to Bara Simla to climbed to the top. The stars were brilliant and although it was a hot morning, for it was at the beginning of summer, we enjoyed the climb. From the top we could look down over the city. What a pretty sight it was to see all the lights from up there. Then we had the service and Stanley preached an inspiring Easter message. Just as it was growing light everyone joined in singing "Christ the Lord is risen today." As the sky became brighter we were able to see the college and the rest of the city, Slowly in little groups everyone left the hill top and returned to the college.

Stanley and I were the last to leave. We walked down a path that went around the side of the hill and as we came near the bottom suddenly Stanley took hold of my arm and pointed off to the left, "Look, Jim, that doesn't look to me like a rock. I think it must be the end of a large bone." Whatever it was it was sticking out of the ground a few feet from the path. Sure enough when we examined it more closely, it was a bone.

Some years before when archaeologists had been looking for bones, they began digging not far from where we were standing. They discovered the bones of a dinosaur. It was a remarkable find. After they had dug the bones up they sent them to England where they were put in a museum.

"It looks to me like a dinosaur leg bone," Stanley said. We were able to dig a little around it with our hands and it moved a little. We tugged at it and it came out of the hole in the side of he hill. The other end had been damaged. It was either decayed or it had been eaten by termites, which are ants that eat such things. It was about four feet long and fifteen inches thick.

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"Now what should we do?" Stanley asked. "To whom should we report that we have found it?" Then I suggested, "Why don't we take it back to the college for now. We can decide what to do with it later." And that is what we did. The students at the college were really surprised to see what we had found.

Well days went by and we had not done anything with the bone. Before long it came time for Stanley to go back to America on furlough. Stanley said, "We ought to do something with that bone." I agreed. Then he said, "I know what we'll do. I'll put tar on it to preserve it and then wrap it carefully in gunny sack cloth. We will bury it here on the campus so it will be safe. You will soon leave on furlough, too. When we both come back we will decide what to do with it."

So we chose a nice place on the far side of the campus and buried the bone, not too deep, but so it would be safe.

While both of us were on furlough, Art Smith, an architect, decided to build a new house for his family on the campus. He didn't want to be right in the center of things so he went to the far side of the campus and chose a good spot to build his house. It was a very lovely small home and his family thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then Stanley and I returned after our furloughs. Art's home was a very lovely addition to the staff homes on the campus. But then we suddenly realized: Art had built his home right on top of the bone!

And that bone is there today, under that house. In some far off time if Art's house falls down and someone else builds there, I wonder what they would think if they would find a dinosaur bone covered with tar, wrapped in cloth, lying there. Now when you go on your Easter egg hunt, and if you find a dinosaur bone, I hope you will choose a better way to take care of it than we took care of our Easter morning bone. [by James E. McEldowney, Spring 1997]

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