Horseback Archaeology Lessons

My grandkids and I were riding along in what we call the bottom pasture, a broad flat plain of grass between two tree lined creeks. We had two purposes. One was to find newborn calves and record their mother’s ear-tag numbers, and the color and gender of the calf. The other purpose was to have a nice trail ride. Trail riding is more about having time together than horsemanship. Trail riding is about being together, sometimes talking, sometimes just being. I like to ask the grandkids to tell me about their day at school. It varies how descriptive they are, but it gives them an opening to express themselves. There are no rules, just time, and the rhythm of the horses’ hooves. We were discussing a person who is overly talkative and I used the expression “She was vaccinated with a phonograph needle!”

The conversation came to a screeching halt. I realized that the only word in the sentence that these millennials could comprehend was “vaccinate“. They have no clue what a phonograph was, nor why a needle was involved. I had to explain about vinyl records, you know, the round platters with the hole in the middle with spiral grooves around them. Then I had to explain how the needle “picked up“ the vibration in the groove and put it through an amplifier for us to hear.

They’ve grown up with CD’s and DVDs, and digital sound. What I thought was merely a cute expression was an archaeology lesson for them!

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