When the sun began to sink low to the horizon and shadows became
long, an exhausted but exhilarated Howard returned home with
his prize. It still had pieces rock and dirt clinging to it,
and could use a good scubbing, so he went out to the backyard
washing sink to clean it off under the faucet. As the dirt washed
away, and he had time to think about it, he began to question
just exactly what it was that seemed odd to him. He had seen
other skulls of the local Indians before in books from the Southwest
Museum in Los Angeles. But something looked a bit different
with this skull.
It seemed to have
a much more gentle slope from the eye sockets up and over the
top of the skull, not the usual abrupt rise he'd seen on the
other skulls in the books. Was this important he began to wonder?
And the fact that it was encased in very solid rock began to
puzzle him too. How long would it take for soft sandy soil to
turn into hard solid rock, he wondered? Surely the local Indians
couldn't, and wouldn't, bury this individual in solid rock.
He knew how hard it that rock was was, and knew that he'd never
heard of nor seen any type of Indian tool that could dig through
that kind of material. And the fact that the first bone he'd
found - which he now recognize as part of a leg bone -was found
at a random angle above and behind the top of the skull. It
just didn't fit in with the idea of a normal burial.
Maybe the bones washed out of the hills above a long time ago,
he thought. Or maybe this individual - Howard had begun to think
of the skull as a man - had been crushed under some sort of
rock avalanche, or trapped in a fast flowing stream and buried
under the mud, which after maybe a thousand years would turn
to rock, or.... well, he just didn't know.
His mother, Grace, came out to see what Howard was doing and
to tell him to get washed up for supper, when she saw the skull
in his hands. Howard proudly and excitedly began showing it
off to her. Grace Wilson was a sweet and nurturing soul who
loved that her son was so interested in the local Indians, but
the thought of a dead man's skull in her house gave her pause.
"You're not going to bring that old thing in the house...are
you?" she asked.
"Yes! Of course!" said Howard happily.
"I think you should throw it in the trash" Grace
replied hopefully, "I don't know if I want it in the house."
"Oh, but I'll keep it in a box so won't ever have to see
it." Howard replied smilingly.
Grace could now see that it was very important to Howard,
and like it or not, she also knew that there was going to be
a human skull in her house.
"Ok then, wash up now and come in for supper", Grace
smiled in resignation.
I'll toss it in the trash when he's forgotten about it,
thought Grace to herself. He'll never miss it.