One of the items on my bucket list is to go on an archaeological dig. I've always felt disappointed in myself that I didn't finish my anthropology degree. Heck, I didn't even come close to finishing. There were big roadblocks. I had no money and although I was perfectly capable I'd underachieved in high school, just enough to make me ineligible for the scant amount of scholarships that were available at the time (and rarer loans). Remember, we're talking the dark ages here.
Fast forward thirty years when I find myself taking another anthropology class, just out of interest this time. At fifty-something years old I wasn't about to re-enter college and even if that thought had entered my mind, my resources were otherwise occupied.
The class was great. I enjoyed the writing that was involved and according to the professor, I excelled. That's not hard to do when you're sitting in a class of young kids who aren't taking anything seriously, least of all the work involved. I was attacking it with a vengeance born of lost opportunity. The kids in the class were tolerating it, unaware of how stinking lucky they were to have the opportunity to get an education.
The semester was over and I was happy to receive an A. To my surprise the professor e-mailed me and offered me a position on a dig team that would be working in Sicily that summer.
"WHAT??? Me?? Archaeological dig in SICILY??"
Talk about exciting. THAT was exciting. It doesn't matter that "working on a dig team in Sicily" was secret code for, "We need an able-bodied, enthusiastic slave for six weeks who's willing to pay their own way."
The Farmer laughed. "HA. You can't do that."
I was sad.
He was right.
There was the little matter of my job. I frantically thought of ways that I could pitch this to the publisher.
"Mark, I could write a first person journal type account of my adventure and you could publish the entries as a human interest story in the newspaper. 'Local mom digs at important indigenous third Bronze Age town.' Don't you see how interesting that would be?"
There was a problem. I didn't write human interest stories for the newspaper. I wrote advertorial and sold advertising. That wasn't the deal killer though. I couldn't dig in Sicily because my own children were now in college and I was responsible for pay rents, tuition and wildly expensive textbooks.
I my mind I envisioned the Soup Nazi yelling, "NO SICILY FOR YOU".
There was no Sicily for me. I quickly descended from the clouds of possibility to the realities of life. The Farmer compensated by planning vacations to Central American spots where we could climb Mayan temples and gaze at ruins.
Another dig opportunity has presented itself and it's much closer to home. It doesn't involve a crash course in Italian, just a short 8 mile drive to Garfield Farm in La Fox, Illinois. Starting today they'll be digging at the location of the original log cabin tavern. The cellar will be excavated to determine the contents.
I've volunteered to be an unpaid slave, not so able-bodied but enthusiastic nonetheless.
Another cup of coffee, some comfortable shoes and I'm off to my "opportunity found".