As soon as I was old enough to follow the path through lush ferns and water flowers and walk the rickety board across the creek that marked the property line, I spent time with my great-uncle. I followed him around like a puppy; he was mostly patient with his short constant companion.
He taught me how to go clamming; play (and cheat at) croquet. To tread lightly with nature; find lady slippers (a type of wild orchid) on the forest floor; where whortleberry bushes were 1/2 way up the “mountain.” To fish with a hand-line; drive his putt-putt fishing boat (when there was no danger of me grounding it.) And, of course, I soaked up the wild and impossible stories that were a part of my adventures. I took them to be the absolute truth; his snappy blue eyes and silly smile never gave away his creative untruths.
Of course, as the child-me grew taller, I realized that most of these tales were came from my great-uncle’s imagination and his love of telling tall tales. My favourite remains the “true” story of the dinosaur eggs.
He would take me to watch the storm waves crashing against the rocks, pulling the beach sand back into the water. Afterwards was the best time to go looking for beach treasures. He had several buoys, their stripes weathered, loosened from nets or lobster pots. They hung from a stake in the back yard. Underneath, were grey, oval rocks piled up.
My great-uncle swore these were dinosaur eggs he had found in a secret cave. Any day now, the baby dinosaurs would hatch. He would give them away like kittens found homes. If I wasn’t at my grandmother’s, he’d save one for me. So, I regularly checked for cracks. When I arrived each summer, I’d run the short distance between the two houses to see the dinosaur eggs.
He would tell me he’d heard the babies moving around, making growly sounds. No matter how quietly I lay with my ear to a rock, I never heard a sound. The explanation — wrong time of the year; they only started to peck at the shell in the spring and fall.
The eggs never hatched for the child-me. I like to think when his son renovated the house, he left the dinosaur eggs. Some day, the babies will emerge.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Writing Prompt # 93: goya