eight hours and thirty eight minutes, and the t of course stands for Tutankhamen.

I know I've been making a big deal of this, and the sad thing is that it's liable to be a bit of a letdown since I'm building it up so much. Maybe not--Monkey is practically beside herself, and Amy's dad is coming to see it with us, so it'll be two sets of father-daughter combos tomorrow morning. I believe I'm the only one to have seen the exhibit before, when I was ten in New Orleans, the oldest of four children my mother took.

It's amazing that we went at all. My two younger cousins, probably six and four at the time, had come to live with us in Louisiana, while their parents put together a move. My parents and four kids, none older than ten, in a 14X64 foot, three bedroom trailer. I was lucky at the time, because as the only boy, I got a room to myself. That it was the smallest room in the trailer was inconsequential--until my aunt and uncle showed up, it was my room, and mine alone.

My mom took a day off of work to get my cousins their vaccinations, and since we'd handled it so well, she took us to New Orleans for the Tut exhibit. It must have been late summer or early fall, and we stood in line for probably two hours or more. I remember my mom remarking later that we were so well behaved that a lady in the line bought us Cokes to share. When we got into the exhibit, I carried my youngest cousin, Sarah, the one I share a birthday with, so she could see the exhibits up close, and the other museum goers melted away so we could get in and see it.

We lived in rural Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain in a place called Big Branch at the time. It's the home of a five star restaurant called La Provence and not much else to this day. There were reasonably deep woods surrounding our place, and I remember walking through them for weeks after seeing the exhibit, looking for clues to ancient burial places, wondering if there were forgotten kings in the pine trees and the clay.

There aren't any woods here, unless you count the Everglades, which swallows up civilization as soon as it dares tread foot into its domain, but maybe Monkey will have a similar feeling. She's older now than I was then, but she's far more interested in all things Egypt as well. If I can sneak a picture or two with my camera phone, I'll post them tomorrow.

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