"But I saw it... It was a dinosaur, and it was big and orange!" Sure you did...
The Dinosaur That Wasn't There
My mom and dad were both school teachers and taught summer school most summers in Dade County Florida. During this time my brother, Bill, and I would go to Decatur, Georgia to visit my grandmother, Nanny. We loved to go to her house. The neighborhood park was just the other side of her back yard fence and the public library was right down the street. I loved to read and spent a lot of time in that library.
We would walk everywhere because Nanny didn't have a car, but that was ok. It was beautiful in Decatur in the summertime. There was also a train track down the street and a Dairy Queen on the other side of the tracks. There was nothing better that a Dairy Queen Chocolate Malt on a hot summer day.
When summer school in Miami was over, mom and dad drove up to Georgia to stay with Nanny for about a week and then we would all head back home.
This particular summer we had spent it very much the way we always did. My brother was about 4 and I was just about to turn 8. We had played in the park, gone to the library a lot, walked around downtown Decatur with my grandmother and visited with her friends. We even tried to set traps to catch all the squirrels that lived in Nanny's yard so they wouldn't eat the pecans off her trees before they had a chance to fall to the ground. That, however, is another story that I will have to tell you about another time.
As the summer was coming to an end, my mom and dad arrived at Nanny's house. We had one of the best summer southern suppers you could imagine in honor of their arrival. We had gone to the farmer's market earlier that day so there were lots of awesome fresh summer fruits and vegetables to enjoy. Anyway, while at the dinner table Dad asked if we wanted to go to Stone Mountain Park to spend the day tomorrow morning.
"Yeah! Will we get to climb to the top of the mountain, and see the carving on the side, and go to the mill, and..."
"Yes, Laura. Calm down; we can do all those things," my mother said.
I was getting so excited I could hardly get the words out fast enough. Stone Mountain, it was a huge mountain of solid granite. It actually looked to be in the middle of nowhere and on the steep face of one side of the mountain was a huge sculpture in honor of the Confederate Soldiers that fought during the Civil War.
I could go on all day about Stone Mountain, but the real story here, on this trip, is the giant dinosaur.
We left early the next day and spent most of the day at Stone Mountain Park. By the end of the day we were all tired and so we headed for home. It was almost dusk as we were riding through the woods around the Mountain; Bill was just staring out the window. All of the sudden he got so excited.
He starting shouting, "Hey, there is a dinosaur out there. I saw it. It was in the woods!"
"Bill, there are no dinosaurs around anymore; they are all extinct. I learned about it in school."
"But I saw one; I'm not lying! It was really big and I saw it in the woods back there!" he kept insisting.
"Ok Bill, if you saw a dinosaur, what color was it?" my mom asked sarcastically.
Bill thought about this for a minute and then answered, "It was orange. It was big and orange."
At that point, we all started laughing and laughing. We couldn't help it, it sounded so ridiculous. Bill softly started to cry.
He kept saying quietly, "I'm telling the truth; I DID see it. I am not lying. Why don't you believe me?"
A few days later, we were all sitting on Nanny's back screen porch eating a wonderful breakfast that my dad had made.
Nanny was reading the Sunday morning paper when she was heard saying, "Oh my word! I never would have believed it if I didn't see it."
Looking at the puzzled look on all our faces, my grandmother began to tell us about the article she was reading. It turns out that there was a man that lives out near Stone Mountain. He had an unusual job. He makes life like and life size dinosaurs for use at miniature golf courses. There were several pictures to show the stages of progress as they are made. As it turns out, when they are painted with the primer and waiting for the realistic color paint they are... you guessed it, orange.
Bill had indeed seen a giant orange dinosaur in the woods on the way home from Stone Mountain. We all had to apologize to him for not believing him. He has never let us live it down. Any time any of us would try to get another to believe something we said we would say, "It's like Bill's giant orange dinosaur," and everybody would laugh.