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A Twist in the Tale: We Do Not Have a Dinosaur

By Jenny Kalahar

Dinosaurs are not a modern-day pet, unless you count their distant relations like parakeets and lovebirds. Still, if they did still roam the woods and hills, I’m about two percent certain that some of the dinos would take an interest in domestic living.

There’s an old, unexplained photo floating around the Internet of a man holding a sign stating that he does not have a dinosaur. I’ve often puzzled over the story behind that sign. I decided to tell myself just exactly what went on one day when a family drove off to have a look for themselves back in the 1930s.

we-do-not-have-a-dinosaur

People came from little towns and big

Driving rutted Dust Bowl unpaved roads

Past fields of nothing, as far as any shaded eye could see

To the man who had a dinosaur

 

Pennies were spent to fill gas tanks

Grandmas were hauled off from front porches

Dads stopped working on their tractors for the day

So they could see the dinosaur

 

I was but a dirty, roughed-up boy of ten

When my family gave in to temptation

My mother tossed her apron and went with us

When we went to see the dinosaur

 

We sang wild songs in harmony

And had a picnic of sandwiches and tea

We were the jolliest bunch of hard-luck folks

Who’d gone to see the dinosaur

 

It was half-past noon that Kansas day

When we met the crowds on highway twenty-three

So many folks in cars and trucks

Had come to see the dinosaur

 

We piled out of our jalopy then

And stared in wonder at the beast’s great pen

The fence-boards must have been two-stories high

And behind them lived the dinosaur!

 

Just as we were beating the dust from our shirts and pants

To get in line to cross the gate

A man so thin, so browned, came through it with a sign

That said “We do not have a dinosaur”

 

A cry went out from those who could read

A rumbling like thunder shook from the crowd’s throats

I was brave enough to ask the man himself

Why he said he had no dinosaur

 

“I had him, yes. A monstrous one

With yellow eyes and grayish hide

But when we woke and his scent was gone

We knew we’d lost our dinosaur”

 

But he had postcard photos and pennants, he said

That showed his dino’s likeness on their fronts

All manner of souvenirs he had for sale

Cheaper now that there was no dinosaur

 

As we drove home slowly, not singing, not jolly

Sally clutched her dino postcard to her chest

And said she’d never forget her trip

The day she’d seen a dinosaur

 

I couldn’t believe what she was saying!

We hadn’t seen him! He wasn’t there!

I’m pretty sure . . . or had we really seen

A bona-fidey dinosaur?

 

By the time we’d bumped up to our shack

My memories were growing dim

The neighbors came to ask excitedly

About our visit to the dinosaur

 

Dad talked the most, holding wide his arms

And Sally showed her postcard around

The girl I liked linked her arm through mine

And . . . I told her all about the dinosaur

 

Jenny Kalahar, her husband Patrick, and their pets live in Indiana where she sells used and rare books and writes novels and poetry. Her two novels about fostering cats are Shelve Under C: A Tale of Used Books and Cats, and The Find of a Lifetime: Another Tale of Used Books and Cats. Her collection of nostalgic and humorous poetry is One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. For more, visit her blog, Bookselling and Writing with Weegee.

More from Jenny:

Pets and Their Favorite Songs

Safe Adventures for Pets

Poem From an Adopted Puppy

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