The other day, I met Daily Globe photoguy Brian Korthals in the back alley as he was coming in to work for the day.
"We get to go on an adventure!" I told him. That in itself is code-word for something exciting.
Adventures with BK have included such things as a late night road trip to Brewster to cover the fire at Minnesota Soybean Processors, and a trip to visit the bison on John Bowron’s ranch along the Blue Mounds north of Luverne … a trip that included being chased by a bison!
Our adventure on Tuesday afternoon was a trip out to the Langseth family farm on the eastern shores of Lake Ocheda. I am writing a story for Saturday’s edition of the Daily Globe about shoreline erosion, and I needed BK to take an awesome photo.
When he asked if I’d brought along my boots, I said, "Of course."
They were just the wrong kind of boots. I had thrown my winter lace-ups (which also work well when walking through mildly soupy cattle yards) into the hatchback of my car, but what I should have packed was a pair of knee-high rubber boots.
BK, who apparently is prepared for anything, had not only a pair of tall rubber boots in his car, but a walking stick as well!
Anyway, we arrived at the Langseths and took a little drive up to an area of the shoreline that has some really bad erosion issues. BK’s plan was to walk farther down a walking path for better access to the lakeshore, and I just followed along, soaking up the sunshine and appreciating the serene lake setting.
I followed BK all the way down to the lakeshore access point, stepped over an old, decaying tree trunk, ducked under a tree branch and then stopped in my tracks. The narrow shoreline suddenly ended. I briefly thought about taking off my shoes and hiking up my pant legs. Had it been the middle of July instead of the middle of November, I just might have done that!
Instead, Paul Langseth and I turned back and let BK go on his merry way through the water.
It wasn’t until later that day, after the photo had been taken and we were back in the office, that BK shared with me one of his "finds" while walking along the lakeshore.
The Langseth property was, hundreds of years ago, a Native American settlement grounds. There are lots and lots of artifacts to be found, and BK has done quite a bit of searching there.
Anyway, BK came over to my desk and handed me this little artifact that fit nicely into the palm of my hand.
I looked it over from every angle, thinking that it looked pretty cool.
Now, I don’t know much of anything about hunting for artifacts or the realm of archeology … so I had to ask, "What is it?"
It is a piece of buffalo tooth … one tooth, with the enamel intact on one side, but not on the other (see the back side photo below).
Now, I’m one of those people who gets squeemish at the sight of a person bleeding, screams bloody murder when I see a snake slither through the grass, gags at the thought of changing the niece’s dirty diaper, and feels like I must join in when a sick kid does the projectile vomit.
So, when BK asked if I’d like to keep the "artifact" as a memento of our Lake Ocheda adventure at the Langseths, I kindly said "No," so as not to hurt his feelings. I then had the sudden urge to go to the restroom and wash my hands … with lots of soap and hot water!
It wasn’t until Wednesday morning that I realized BK left the artifact laying on his desk. A co-worker was using the computer to work on a photo, picked up the buffalo tooth and asked, "What is this?"
"Don’t touch it!" I said, realizing immediately what it was.
She dropped it and grabbed for the hand sanitizer as I explained the artifact. Funny, but once she learned it was a buffalo tooth, she wasn’t nearly as grossed out by it as I was!
I’m still not comfortable touching the thing, but I had to take a couple of pictures of it to post here with my blog for you all to see. And yes, just in case you are wondering, I made another trip to the restroom for a couple of shots of liquid soap and a good scrubbing under the hot water faucet!