Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fine furniture

A week ago last Thursday, my Mom signed me out of the facility for a couple of hours and brought me back to my "museum." We filled my favorite cabinet with my favorite things (pictured above), and set it up in my room. It's like a Quigley's Cabinet microcosm: fossils of a fern, a crinoid, and bird footprints; a postmortem tintype and an antique photo of a dissection; the skull of a rabbit on a stand that has a museum label on the bottom and a crocodile skull that was given to me by Georgetown University Press when I transferred positions; 2 sculptures by my friend George Higham; an emu egg, an impala horn, and a turtle shell complete with bottom carapace found by my friend Sue in her yard; an Egyptian statue that belonged to my octogenarian friend, embalming historian Edward Johnson; a Day of the Dead sculpture of a skeletal surgeon working on a patient (that one was given to me by my brother-in-law when my lung collapsed in 1990); a set of books by 19th c. British naturalist Frank Buckland; and bugs fossilized in amber received as gifts over the years from my sister. But perhaps my most prized possessions are a mammoth tooth and woolly mammoth hair. Since that is my favorite extinct species, my eyes were drawn to a recent weird news story in which mammoth remains were found in Siberia. Such a quantity of bones and tusks were located that it is believed the area may represent a mammoth graveyard. The discovery was not a surprise to the locals. Says researcher Viktor Kotlyarov, “Some villagers used vertebrae as stools at home.”

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