Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dinosaur Times

At the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.

Landon looked up at the menacing dinosaur skeleton towering over him. His mouth formed an "O" of wonder as he stood beneath it. This looked much scarier than his plastic dinosaur set.

"Grandpa, what was it like back when dinosaurs were alive?"

Grandpa whistled and shook his head. "You don't want to know," he warned Landon.

"Tell me!"

Grandpa stroked the beard on his chin and snuck a quick glance at the dinosaur again. "I don't know, Landon. Are you sure you're big enough to hear this? I don't want to scare you."

"I'm not scared!"

"Well then, you're braver than I am. Because those dinosaurs were a scary bunch, always stomping along and gnashing their teeth. They'd howl something awful! Especially when they caught a whiff of... nope, I can't say it."

Landon's eye grew as large as boulders. He tugged on his grandfather's pant leg. "Tell me! Tell me!"

Grandpa looked down at him and waved him off. "I shouldn't have said anything. Let's go see the polar bear exhibit." He pretended to start in the other direction, but Landon pulled his pant leg again.

"No, Grandpa! Tell me! A whiff of what?"

Grandpa grimaced and shook his head. "I don't think you should hear this."

Landon waited expectantly, holding his breath.

"You sure you want to hear this?"

Landon nodded. Grandpa shrugged his shoulders and shook his head again. "Okay. You asked." He crouched down to his grandson's level and peered up at the dinosaur with him. "They'd start gnashing their teeth and howling like all get out whenever they got a whiff of..." he paused. "Little boys!"

Grandpa straightened again. Landon grabbed his hand and pressed himself against his grandfather's leg. He inched away from the dinosaur.

"Good thing they're extinct," his grandfather said as they started walking toward the polar bear exhibit. "Not like those polar bears." He stopped in his tracks. "You sure you want to go see those polar bears?" he asked Landon.

Landon nodded. Grandpa shook his head and let out a low whistle. "You're braver than I am."

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