Pictures don't lie......
I decided to take a couple of days off and spend some quality time with the “fam”. So my sainted wife agreed to the four hour plus haul with me and the two “chitlins” for a trek to the Aurora Fossil Museum and possibly the GMR. I then explained to her that I was exhausted from playing some on-line poker tournaments till 4 a.m. and requested that she drive. After loading the car and strapping in my 2 and 5 year old girls, I reclined my car seat and joined them in a nap. Surprisingly, the trip went quick and I was awoken by a “wet willy” and a cross-eyed stare from my wife stating, “We are here your majesty”.
I did a quick stretch and quickly unbuckled my kids, whom as if covered with fire ants, were franticly trying to get out of their seat after seeing the abutting “Pungo” pile. They were used to their small 4’ x 4’ sandbox version with only three 5-gallon buckets of material in it. I told them that we would search for “fossils”; however, stated that we should tour the museum first. After looking both ways down Main Street, we crossed and proceeded to the museum. My older daughter then notified me of a “Caterpillar” that was coming up the side street. It was a front loader followed by two large dump trucks. One of the dump truck drivers rolled down his window and pointed to my car as if to inquire if it I was the owner. So I went back across the street and he informed me that they were from thePotash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) Phosphate Mine and they were here to remove the old spoil pile and replenish it with some new material. I jokingly stated, “I’ll move my car….but it will cost you a MEG.” He sat back in his seat, looked at me with a slight grin and then leaned towards the glove box. A few moments later….. “Catch”, he said (as he dropped a perfect 4” MEG to me). “That one is for your daughter”, he said with a smile. “I found it while loading up the trucks”. I held up the tooth to show my daughter, who was across the street waiting by the museum’s front door. Like the scent of blood in the water, my little shark saw what I was holding and tried to dart across the street. Luckily my wife had a good grip on her hand. I quickly obliged his request, moved my car and then went back to the museum for a tour. Afterwards, I took the family out for some lunch and by the time our meal was consumed the PCS crew completed their mission.
We arrived back on scene with no competition from other fossil collectors observed in the area. I stood back and viewed the piles. Where do I to begin? The kids bolted past to the left and right of me and they were crawling all over the piles picking up teeth, shells and other fossils like sea gulls coming across a large spread of spilled oyster crackers on a beach. The finds were plentiful and we really didn’t even need a screen or shovel. All you had to do was the infamous “Pungo Crawl”.
Then my 2 year old did her best “Maggie from the Simpson” impersonation (with her binky in her mouth) and said “Look Daddy…FOSSZELL!” She kept saying it over and over again as she pointed down at it. I decided to investigate all the commotion and crawled up over the Pungo pile to reveal what was lurking on the other side of the mound. My jaw dropped. I picked it back up, spit out some of the Pungo material and wiped my eyes. I screamed to my wife, “Come over here NOW!” The family gathered in a proud circle around our youngest daughter’s discovery. This is not possible I thought, for she found a MEG. Not an ordinary MEG, but one of those rare MONSTER MEGs. I prayed to the fossil gods that it was a complete one. I removed it from the pile and the dream, like the tooth, was shattered…..an almost six inch “halfie”.
After filling many containers full of teeth and other finds, our family’s fossil appetite was satisfied and we departed for home. We started the drive back along U.S. Highway 33 and came across a local radio station while scanning for some background music. I quickly caught a “Call In Contest” asking what the oldest town in North Carolina was. I (along with my wife) knew it (Bath, NC). She wrote down / repeated the number as I one-handed dialed it on my cell which I got through on my first try. I was asked my first name and then was put on hold. I could hear the program on my cell along with the delay from our car radio. The two contestants before me we wrong. My phone reception became clearer and I knew I was on live radio. “Bath”, I answered. The prize was a one night stay at the Hilton in Greenville, NC (apparently to try to stimulate some of the local economy).
I smiled at my wife and said, “Another four hours on the road till we get home or 30 minutes to the Hilton and the Green Mill Run tomorrow. She rolled her eyes and chuckled, “Bath.... that is what you are going to give these girls tonight at the hotel”. So later, as promised, I got the girls ready for bed. While supervising the teeth brushing I overheard the following as my wife surfed the television in the other room, “Gamin' fish, eh? Marlin? Stingray? Bit through this piano wire? Hooper, don't you tell me my business again! You get back on the bridge”. My head peeked instantly through the door and caught my wife’s eyes. She lowered the volume down and then laid the remote on the end table. I tucked the girls in and finished an awesome day with the remainder of an awesome movie.
We or should I say I awoke with great anticipation on what finds the GMR would reveal, but first breakfast. I looked down and admired my washboard stomach, even though it had ten pounds of laundry on it. I continued to “shovel” another helping of chezzy eggs and ten more slices of bacon on my already “maximum capacity” plate. “Fuel for shoveling”, I rationalized in my head.
We parked at the Elm Park lot so the kids could play in the playground. I promised the wife 2 to 3 hours of graveling and we would then go home. So I geared up and went to my favorite spot, the 10th Street Bridge area. I didn’t find much to start with until I got though a Homo sapien garbage formation. There was an area with some large concrete masonry blocks and busted concrete slab debris sections. I knew there was something good under this material and my hard work paid off.
My jaw locked, not from the tetanus setting in from the numerous cuts, but from what I saw in my screen in front of me. There it was a Carcharodon carcharias, an amazing narrow 3 inch plus specimen. That definitely put the Carcharocles chubutensis or should I say the “chub” in the old Megalodong. So… with new found Enzyte like stamina, I shoveled screen after screen with each load revealing a great white tooth ranging from 1 inch to 2.5 inch and to top it off they were all in perfect condition. The hits kept on coming and the GW teeth tally reached over the thirty-five tooth mark. I was thinking maybe I found a portion of a Carcharodon carcharias jaw dentition. Then another GW monster flopped in the screen, an over 3.25 inch fat upper tooth. My phone suddenly rang and saw my 3 hours were up. So with a huge grin I pack up my gear and headed back. As I entered the 10th Street tunnel, something caught my eye. I and many more before me must have walked past it a hundred times. I put my hand down and grabbed a real monster, an almost 7 inch Carcharocles megalogon. I just couldn’t wait to get home to clean and fondle my haul, at least that is what I explained to the state trooper who pulled me over past Raleigh in his NC finest unmarked vehicle. My 5-year old was crying in the back seat and asked me if I was going to jail. Then the officer inquired if I had any drugs, guns, knifes of any other weapons in the car. I replied, “NO”. He then changed the subject and asked if I found anything good. I reached over to the passenger side, pull up my backpack and got out my beast of a MEG. The officer’s eyes bulged out of his skull and asked if he could hold it. I reciprocated and as he held it upon further inspection he told me that he had to confiscate it. I thought he was joking but then informed me of some obscure law about transportation of weapons and failure to disclose said weapons. Apparently since the tooth, or should I say “weapon” was over 6 inches and serrated, the officer classified / considered it a weapon. Further, since I failed to disclose it, under NC law, my tooth had to be confiscated. I was becoming infuriated as he tried to calm me down. The officer stated that he was going to “let me go” with a warning. However, if I was going to be uncooperative he informed me that he could arrest me for a “weapons” charge and even threw in a trumped up bogus $1,000 fine because he “observed” me littering something out the window. The tooth wasn’t worth the fight or fine, so with a sigh and a half ass smile, I thanked him for the “warning”. I saw the officer walk back to his car as he gazed down at the “lifted” find. I gripped the steering wheel so tightly that the leather started creaking. As the officer pulled away I couldn’t help but to notice his bumper sticker…… I “dig” fossils. Do you ever feel that sometimes you are being duped? Well…… all in all it was not a bad way to start the Spring season off….on this… the first of April.
Brad aka Brachiomyback