When I was a kid,  we used to take family vacations from California to Lawton, OK to visit my Grandmother. Much of the trip was through the desert. One of the things I always enjoyed was stopping at the truck stops and curio shops. Most of these places had the run of the mill souvenirs, like Indian bead work and letter openers with “Flagstaff” burned into the handle. What captured my imagination however was the taxidermy work that was on display.350_wolf_taxidermy2 I thought that was the coolest thing. We saw everything from bobcats to rattlesnakes in every pose you could imagine. Usually they looked quite threatening.

When I was 11 years old, I found an ad in a “Boys Life”, or “Field and Stream” magazine for a correspondence course in Taxidermy. What a career! I would be the envy of all my friends. I could contribute to the family income. I told my parents of my newfound vocation. For some reason, in a moment of temporary insanity, they agreed to spring for the mail order taxidermy course. The time spent waiting for lesson one to arrive was interminable. “When will it get here?” I wondered daily.

Finally, the mailman delivered my ticket to fun and wealth. Lesson One of the home taxidermy school had arrived. I began reading it the moment I had the manila envelope torn open. This was going to be so cool. I’d show those guys at school who thought they were all that because they built all those mundane hot rod models. I could quit school to pursue my career as a taxidermist. I was gonna learn how to make a stuffed pigeon.

Now one thing that the magazine ad failed to mention, was that I had to come up with my own pigeon. Not only that, I had to come up with my own dead pigeon. They gave me the choice of three methods to put the bird to death. I never got that far.

Needless to say, Lesson two was never paid for,and thus never arrived.

I’m not sure, but I think my parents had forseen how this little adventure would play out, and figured they wouldn’t go broke on my taxidermy school.

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