Bones, bones, bones, bones, ossium, ossibus, kokotsus, des os, huesos, ossos, kokalos, ossi, knochen, mifupa, and more…bones, bones, bones, bones, bones, bones, bones………………………………………………..
Gentle readers, I got my wrist (bone) slapped a couple times in July. The first time was in the middle of the month when I was told by the Information Director of Missouri State Parks that I needed to contact Archaeologist/Records Management of Missouri State Historic Preservation Office. So, I called said department to explain that I write feather-weight history stories, and I intended to use the 100-page report on the 1993-94 archaeological excavation at Matson and share what I learned with my gentle neighbors.
Well…Madame Records Management let me know that she wasn’t even remotely pleased with my interest in this topic, and she seemed downright upset that I actually had the report in my hands. She said that if I were to request a copy, they would never give it to me, but admitted that they couldn’t do much about the fact that I already had one. At any rate, she asked me not to say that the excavation was in the Darst Bottoms, near Matson. (There goes my story.) And she told me it would be politically incorrect to show any skeletal illustrations showing which bones were found and which were missing. (Now, if she had said photos of the skeletons, I might have understood.)
Oh well, I just plowed on and finished my story. I hit send on Microsoft 365 and my story arrived at 122 inboxes. One faithful reader uploaded my story to the Augusta Community Facebook page as per usual, but dang if it didn’t get flagged and rejected as “going against community standards, could be regarded as offensive”.
Offensive? I know there is always a risk that my writing will occasionally offend someone…but Facebook??? Personally, I am not on FB, so I’m no expert, but I always assumed FB was about as sensitive as a toilet seat…thank you J. D. Salinger.
I think I had about 30 hours in that story, so I didn’t want to ditch it, so I bowed to some algorithm, and eliminated one combination of two words…those same two words, bones (skeleton) and dig (excavate), appear again in the story, but never more are they together. This time, my neighbor, Glenda submitted it and Presto!
Ultimately, I received some thoughtful replies regarding the newly titled story, Digging It. People, I love to read your comments, especially when you say what exactly you liked…or totally disagreed with…or what I missed. Also, when you read a story online at https://www.augustamomuseum.com/tell-it-like-it-was-with-paul-and-d - please feel free to submit a comment. I, in fact, read them and have learned a thing or 2.
There you go. I feel better. Rest assured, part 2 is coming, and for now, check out this photo of a fine digging tool from the Darst Bottoms: a stone spade, courtesy of Glenda Drier.
Stay tuned, stay calm, and stay curious.