VIOLA - There's a dinosaur in my house. Day and night, it sits on a tall, narrow table near my front door. When I'm engrossed in a book or taking a nap, it can shriek and scare the daylights out of me. Soon it will be extinct.
Somewhere there must be a museum with antique artifacts where eventually my dinosaur will be on display. Certainly, my dinosaur’s parents and grandparents are already there.
I’ve become attached to my dinosaur even though I sometimes cringe when it cries out. I like the security of knowing it’s there; never having to search for it is a bonus. I like carrying it outside to keep me company when I’m waiting for someone or need to start chores. And, I especially like the fact that it never poops out on me when I need to have a good talk.
My parents’ dinosaur had its own cubby and the longest leash my mom could find. With a cigarette in one hand she’d carry it all over the kitchen, stopping at the stove to poke a fork in the boiling potatoes as an ash from her cigarette would fall in. My mom seemed to have a special relationship with their dinosaur and spent a lot of time dragging it around; my dad not so much.
In those days, I could often be found in my bedroom down the long narrow hallway. The ceiling was black (I begged my dad to paint it and he complied!), the carpet red-and-white shag, and the white walls were covered with poster of horses, dogs, the Beatles, and Davy Jones from the Monkees. I had a cheap record player on which I wore out 45 rpm records before getting the albums. I remember as a young teen—Deep Purple, Harvest, and Jesus Christ Superstar—cranking the music up for full enjoyment.
Stretching the dinosaur’s leash as far down the hall as it could go, while my dad yelped that she was ruining the paint on the corner of the walls, my mom would bark at me, “Turn that down!” But as long as she was holding the leash, I didn’t worry—she couldn’t quite reach me.
Dane’s niece recently made a request when we were at the Thompson farm. She asked Dane to show her kids his record player and records. It seems they had a conversation about records and the kids were dumbfounded: “What’s a record? Is it like a CD?”
Dane was amused and we chuckled, but we both realized (1) we’re getting older and (2) children do not own or even see records or record players anymore. Those are dinosaurs too, although thankfully not extinct.
When Dane slipped the album out of its jacket, the children’s eyes widened as they exclaimed, “That’s huge!” When the music started playing, they asked, “How does it work?”
Nowadays, it’s common for us to buy and listen to music digitally, so even CDs are on the endangered list; we’re also missing out on the great art of album covers. But thankfully, vinyl seems to be making a comeback. By the time Dane’s great nieces and nephews are entering high school, I bet they will own a record player.
As for my own dinosaur, a landline, I fear its time is ending.mI’ll be forced into getting a Smartphone that I’ve managed to avoid till now. I dislike not being able to look in a phone book for the telephone numbers of my friends and family who have already chosen to throw out their landlines. I worry whether, in an emergency, people will be able to find their phones, not remembering if they left them in their purse, under the mail, in their cars, or even at the store. And consider how few accidents are caused by landlines compared to cell phones—although my mom once knocked over a beloved glass vase from my grandmother by pulling that cord a bit too far.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but maybe I’m not the only landline lover. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a new record player, and while spinning a record relax with a tub bath, knowing that for now my dinosaur is still sitting next to the door, waiting to ring.