Just as we were coming back around the block toward our house, my husband spotted something on a neighbor's lawn. It was a tiny skull of some sort attached to a vertebral column with some ribs still connected to it. The remains of a small animal picked clean of all its flesh, its dry bones curled almost into a fetal position.
I immediately went to get my camera and find my son, who was watching some of the neighborhood boys shoot hoops in a nearby driveway.
"Where are we going, Mommy?"
"I want to show you something. It's a mystery. The skull and spinal column of a small animal. I'd like your opinion on what it might be."
He put his baseball cards in his pocket and knelt on the sidewalk to look at the specimen. "It could be a chipmunk," he suggested.
"Or maybe a bird?"
"Possible. I don't know enough about the skeletal anatomy of birds versus mammals to be sure, come to think of it, though I'm thinkin' mammal."
"Hey, look at that," I whispered to myself.
"What?" my son asked.
I said I would go back to our house to find my anatomy book. As I got to the door I heard one of the neighborhood boys ask my son why his mom had brought him down the road, then heard my son explain about the "cool" animal bones and invite them all to look. I had a brief mental picture of a group of neighborhood boys gazing intently at the little skeleton on the grass, and I smiled at the possibility.
"I think it's at the bottom of a whole pile of your medical books upstairs."