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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks


Movies always seem to make archaeology look glamorous. I imagine the explorer wearing a pith helmet and cargo shorts with an olive green shirt. The more I think about it, that may be more of a description of a safari guide, but I picture the intrepid archaeologist, standing knee-deep in a trench using a paintbrush to release a sliver of pottery from its tomb of sand.

According to the movies, from that one pottery shard the omniscient scientist can tell us that it was used by an agrarian society that was indigenous to the area 3000 years ago. They were a peaceful tribe that traded homemade cloth for tobacco and arrows. How could they ever tell so much information from such a tiny piece of evidence? The movies may have skewed my view away from reality.

On Wednesday morning Paul and I were leaving for the airport, and as I loaded the last few dirty dishes into the dishwasher, I imagined what they could tell about us: Paul eats cereal for breakfast, while I use a plate, a glass for milk, and a coffee cup. We are really very predictable. I never notice things like that until I’m breaking my routine.

Paul and I have spent the last five days in Saratoga Springs, NY, and Concord, Massachusetts. I’ve loved every minute, but it does make me worry that frequently I am too stuck in my own ruts.

While we were in the area, we were able to catch up with Paul’s brother Arthur, his wife Debbie, their daughter and her family. I’ve mentioned my sister-in-law Debbie before and talked about what a good cook she is. I learned new things about her this trip, and no matter what I find out, I like her even more.

She’s about 15 years older than I am, and she has about 15 times more energy. She’s 5 feet tall on a good day and only if she’s pulling herself up to her very tallest, but she is an absolute firecracker with a giant presence.

She retired after teaching special-needs kids for 25 years, but retirement was not for her so she went back to teaching part time. She’s taking up golfing to fill her time till ski season begins.

While we were visiting, her granddaughter was showing us all some pretty cool tap dancing moves she had learned for the upcoming play she is in, and Debbie jumped up to try since she had taken a tap class a couple of years ago. Later we played a couple of improv’s games, and Debbie jumped in immediately.

Paul and I talked about it on the way back to our hotel. She is such a YES person. Whatever it is, she is ready to give it a go.

Paul is more of a YES person than I am, and even he was bowled over by her adventurous spirit. We talked about how we need to be careful, especially as we age, not to get into the habit of saying NO. It gets so easy to say, “Godspeed, we’ll just meet you at the end of the trail.” We might be saving energy, but we might also just miss all of the fun. I don’t want the archeologists to know all about me by my ruts.

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