“Mom! Mom! There’s a dinosaur outside!”
I looked up from my crossword puzzle. “Really?” Now what had Adam, my son, seen?
“Quick! Come see.” He grabbed my hand and I followed him onto the back deck.
He pointed. “It’s over there. You can’t see it now, it’s feeding on something, but just wait! Oh, there it is!”
Off beyond the trees, I heard roaring and grating and tearing and then it appeared above the trees, swung around and disappeared — the neck of a large yellow excavator ripping up the street in the next block.
I clapped my hands to my face in mock terror.
“Good gracious, Adam. It’s going to eat us!”
“No, Mom.” He rolled his eyes – I was so ignorant about dinosaurs. “It’s a herbivore, probably one of the brontosaurus species.”
“But, it’s so huge. It could squash us and not even know it. Or knock over our house. How would we escape?”
Adam patted his large watergun. “Mom, you don’t have to worry. I have my Blast-o-Matic with me. If it comes this way, I’ll dial it up to maximum and blast it into extinction.”
“But when you kill it, it will fall over and crush us!” I was trying hard not to laugh.
“Mom, don’t you remember?” He sounded so exasperated. “When my Blast-o-Matic is at max, it vapourizes things.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank heavens. Adam, you are such a brave boy. I’m glad you’re here to defend us.”
He smiled, straightened and saluted. “At your service, Ma’am!”
I went back inside, smiling. My little hero had things well in hand.
* * *
A couple of days ago, I did indeed see a large yellow “dinosaur” working in the street one block over. As the arm swung back and forth, into and out of sight, it reminded me of the long-necked dinosaurs that used to roam the earth. How big they were and how tiny we are! I just had to write this story about a boy with an imagination as big as a dinosaur and his mother, complicit in his fantasy.
Writing this story also reminded me of the many times my brother and I lived out our fantasies when we were children.
We traveled across Canada, even the world, by train – all in our dining room. We lined up the chairs, one behind the other; I was the passenger, my brother the engineer cum conductor. “Ticket, ma’am,” he’d say, and I would hand him my “ticket.” We traveled through the Rocky Mountains, across the prairies and through forests, to the sound of “choo-choo-choos,” steam whistles and clanging bells. Every now and then we went to the “dining car” to enjoy whatever it was that Mom – excuse me, the Chef – had prepared for us. Eventually we had to park the train, er, the chairs and return to – sigh – reality.
Long before Sputnik and John Glenn, we went to the moon and back, in a cardboard box. To adults, it looked like a cardboard box but to us it was the super-duperest, spiffyest rocket ship ever built. And guess what? Long before Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, WE discovered that it was not made of green cheese. Why would anyone even think the moon was made of green cheese? We brought back moon samples; at least, I think we brought back moon samples. Of course, all that traveling really worked up an appetite, so it was off to see what culinary delights NASA, er, Mom, had devised for space travelers.
This was well before we had TV. We had to devise our own entertainment, and devise we did. And no, it wasn’t playing “house” – “you be the Mommy and I’ll be the Daddy.” Heck, that was so boring!
We’d rather be outside, playing “cowboys and Indians” – now politically incorrect – or maybe it was “Cowboys and Rustlers”. Either way, there was a lot of running around, pointing our index fingers at each other, yelling “Bang!”, and falling down “dead,” only to be miraculously revived when Mom yelled, “Lunch!”
We pulled cattails from the nearby slough that magically became swords and we transformed into swashbuckling pirates battling the Royal Navy (and always sending the Navy high-tailing it across the seas) or we were Knights of Old saving Damsels in Distress (I refused to be the damsel in distress).
We climbed our favourite tree and became Robin Hood and his band of merry men, waiting in ambush for the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham. “Take that, you villainous cad!”
Or, once again, we were pirates, in the crow’s nest, on the look-out for gold-laden Spanish galleons. Arrr, me hearties!
TV ruined a lot!
#Dinosaurs #ChildhoodMemories #ChildhoodImagination #Fiction #NonFiction #MargaretGHanna #LifeBeforeTV #Play