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A Boy Named Sue

Woman About Town

I love that Tehachapi has its own Heritage League Museum, the Errea House next door to it and our Train Depot on Tehachapi Boulevard, because origins are important. This is why it’s worth the tedious two hour drive, through the Valley of Traffic, to reach one of the worst areas on the planet: to spend the weekend at Exposition Park. So, that’s what we did. Our first stop was the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

The whole day was culture filled, beginning with the much more contemporary sensation of “100 Bottles of Beer of the Wall”, thanks to my husband.

Once there, we found the perfect parking spot on the roof and in the sun. So, we all hopped out and continued our trek toward our destination.

Our first stop was the dioramas representing prehistoric scenarios.

“Looks a lot like us camping,” suggested my daughter.

“But they had to do this every day,” I educated.

“Can we do it every day, too?” asked my younger son enthusiastically. As my husband explained to him about the average struggles a prehistoric person might face daily, my son pointed to a disheveled cave woman, and giggled, “That one looks like Mommy in the morning.”

“They’re probably very nice,” my daughter added sweetly.

“That’s not a Neanderthal man,” commented my oldest son matter-of-factly, “That’s Big Foot!” he said lunging toward my little daughter, who grabbed her father’s leg in in fear. My husband gave him a look and pointed to the other side of the room, banishing him away from our group.

I caught a glimpse of a sarcophagus out of the corner of my eye and said, “No Mummies.”

“What!” said my middle son disappointed, “…then why are we even here?”

“But that’s a real live mummy!” I argued.

“It’s alive?” shrieked my little daughter.

“No,” I answered quickly.

“It’s dead,” said my oldest son from across the room staring at the thing. “It’s definitely dead… like 3,000 years dead.”

“Cool!” said my younger son running up to the display. I steered my youngest one away from the possible psychotic episode, toward something more pleasant with less overload potential, and headed to the dinosaur skeletal displays. I said to my husband, “These are probably better for her.”

“Oh absolutely,” said my husband sarcastically.

“Do you think they’re a little too authentic?”

“Of course they’re authentic… they’re real.”

“I mean do you think they’ll scare her?”

“They scare me!” said my husband. “They are 40 foot long carnivores that probably hunted in packs!”

“Oh, how cute!” said my daughter excitedly pointing up to the T-Rex grouping. “They must be a family! What do you think his name is? ” she asked.

“I think his name is Sue,” I answered pleasantly.

“You’ve gone too far,” my husband reprimanded me, “naming the T-Rex.”

“It’s true dad,” said my oldest, “they actually do give them names.”

“But a boy named Sue,” said my middle child indignantly.

“Life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue,” said my husband.

“It’s kinda like a pet,” my daughter cooed, then added, “but why does it look like those mean Neanderthal people are pointing a spear at Sue?”

“Maybe he pooped on their lawn!” said my younger son cracking himself up.

By the time we had made it through the exhibits, we adults were exhausted. As we exited, my daughter inquisitively pointed at one of the micro life forms decorating the walkway on the way out, “What’s that?” she asked.

“That’s an amoeba,” I answered matter-of-factly, glad that I had noticed the placard on the way in.

“And what’s that?” asked my son excitedly, pointing at something different. I had no idea so I said cheerfully, “It’s Daddy’s turn”.

My husband glanced over at it and confidently answered, “That’s the species Dermatophagoides farinae.”

“Wow….!” The kids responded, excitedly running ahead, to investigate this treasure further.

“I’m very impressed,” I praised my husband. “What exactly is a Dermato..... whatever you said?“

It is a common household dust mite….but that,” he said amused, pointing at the image the kids were hovering over, “I have no idea what that is.” I gave him a hard shove.

Once in the car and on our way to the hotel I asked, “What did you like best about our adventure?” hoping to engrave their cultural experience forever in their minds.

“100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall!” exclaimed my daughter cheerfully clapping her hands with excitement.

Before I knew it, my entire family burst out in song with my husband, once again, leading the way. Tomorrow we will be heading to the LA County Museum of Art.