SHOOP! (shuh) Loop!

How to say things correctly in Mayan on Indigenous People Day

I am off to bed shortly. The Skunk Bay Webcam is showing some slight Aurora tonight. I am awaiting Covid test results and hoping these are negative so that life can return to the previous normal - and I can take this mask off my face in my own home. Tomorrow I am spending the morning online at the GeoSociety Conference in a session on the Bretz Floods, and in the afternoon on stuff related to my own paleo work. Wednesday I’’ll probably skip the final day. I can actually view all of these Zoom meetings and talks later this winter since they are all being recorded. It was amazing to rub elbows with such people as Walter Alvarez of KT boundary fame.

The session on Impacts in the Solar System was amazing. After 30+ years of its discovery the Chicxulub Impact Structure froom the event at the end of the Cretaceous is still mispronounced. On Indigenous People’s Day I set it right, hopefully. According to my friend Alejandro who runs the PAX Ethnological Musical Instrument Museum in Cozumel, its pronounced SHOOP! (shuh) Loop!. I mentioned this in the talk with audio on. I hope it takes…

Then some sadness this morning that I wish wasn’t true. These conferences always result in me searching for friends in my past. I’ve been talking a lot with my old friend and great paleontologist Dave Taylor in Portland, who lead an OMSI -based Paleontological Field Team in Eastern Oregon back in 1972. We were based at Camp Hancock mostly but then spent about 3/4 of the summer working in Mesozoic terranes measuring and collecting a section on the road to Mowich Mountain in the vicinity of Mowich Springs.

I decided to google one of my teammates who I had always wondered about to see if she was still around and what she did. Previous attempts failed. Carol Kalish went back to the East Coast that fall and we never heard from again. I should have tried harder, as she left us suddenly 30 years and 37 days ago thanks to a blood clot in her brain. She was one of my favorite teammates that summer. I found this lovely writeup about her:

She and I watched each others’ backs. It was her first year as a “Barfee” - and two of the older teammates were a bit much to us junior members. I had been a first year “Barfee” in 1971, subjected to similar abuse by the same two characters. On the Day of the Ichthyosaur, Carol and I got to ride in the cab of Dave’s truck, instead of the pecking-ordered dusty back of the truck. It was my reward for the Big Find of the day - an ichthyosaur fossil that Dave himself had missed despite exhaustive searching of every square centimeter on that outcrop, that I found literally right under his feet, 3 inches away. As a reward - I got to choose who would ride up front with me and I wasn’t about to choose my nemesi Herb M. or Johnny N. This is a true story so I am naming names. I know where Herb is these days and he did make a big name for himself in polishing silicified wood and he probably knows where Johnny is too. I am not going to ask and I don’t want to know. Johnny would raise the Confederate Flag at Camp Hancock occasionally. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he was one of the Insurrectionists. Or maybe he grew out of it.

This sudden privilege did not go over well with Herb and Johnny. That day I woke up feeling unwell (hence the term “Barfee”) but felt fine by noon. One of our friends showed up at noon and we headed up to the Northeast to this locality some 2 hours away, while the others were making a provision run into John Day and planning to stop there on the way back. We searched the outcrop and then headed for home around Five. Herb and Johnny were pissed.

Thus on the paved highway a water fight ensued between inside and outside, so Dave and I rolled up the windows. Then we turned off the paved Suplee-Izee highway to angle down to Delintment Lake. Normally we would get to our campsite an hour or so later in time for dinner.

We rolled in sometime around Midnight instead.

Motor Oil mixed with a Gallon sacks-worth of flour and smeared all over the windshield can impede one’s driving progress. We crawled back at about walking pace. I could barely see out on the right side through about 3 square inches of glass under the windshield wiper and Dave managed to keep us from plunging off into the occasional canyon far below, using my directions: “Three Degrees to the Right Dave! No, the OTHER Right!” We were navigating and driving in the fashion of the Perseverance Rover. Then there was the big smelly herd of sheep driven by some amused Basques who grinned at us, while we followed behind them for over an hour. They sorted out our predicament immediately. Finally the sun had gone down and I got to the point where I couldn’t see out my navigation window, after Johnny’s reapplication of more blinding provisions.

Dave found a shoulder on the left, made a u-turn and we just sat there. For hours it seemed. We were around 5500’ and it was getting cold. We were cozy in the truck. Herb and Johnny, still soaking wet from the water fight where most of their water attack blew back into their faces and clothes, started in on well-deserved hypothermia. They started to complain “Can we go home, Dave?” while we sat silent, at Dave’s request. We were not amused but it was too dangerous to step outside. We knew our foes all too well’

Finally the boys started chucking stuff - the provisions we would need for the remainder of the summer field season - over the side and that was the final limit. Dave went outside and I heard both going “Now Dave, be nice… nice! BE NICE DAVE!!! DAVE!!!!!!!” Dave, who is a Vietnam Vet, lept up into the bed and tackled both in a big crash. He then ordered them to gather everything up and clean the windshield. And to clean the truck at Dawn. We got home a half an hour later.

Carol and I got to ride in the front for the rest of the summer. The boys were banished. And better behaved, since Dave had his eyes on them.

Carol was a kind soul with a good spirit and a very brilliant mind! I am thankful that she was a part of my life and that she made her mark in the world!!!