Friday, September 18, 2009


Another Of Dudley's Prized Posessions ...

is this gold lizard inherited from his grandfather. After completing his graduate work in geology at Stanford University, Dudley's grandfather went to work for the Pure Oil Company of Houston, TX. This was sometime soon after the end of WWI. He spent several years exploring for oil down in Central America until the early to mid 1920's when he moved to Texas and began exploring for oil all over Texas as well as all over North America during WWII. "Gran" gave me this gold lizard a year or two before he passed away. His mind was sharp as polished steel up until the day he died in 1988 at the age of 95. He was totally bedridden his final years having had a leg amputated due to a blood clot and loss of circulation. It was hard on a man that played golf and remained active well into his 80's. He was called "Pancho" by his colleagues and was known for walking miles in a days time over rough terrain as he practiced geology the "old school" way on foot. Younger geologists less than half his age had a hard time keeping up with him. When he gave me the talisman (A talisman is a small amulet or other object, often bearing magical symbols, worn for protection against evil spirits or the supernatural) he related the story of how he had acquired it. He told me he had been working in the jungle down in Central America and had purchased it from a local villager who worked part time as a grave robber. He bought the gold lizard from him and tucked it safely away in the bottom of his duffel bag. He recounted that sometime later, he was traveling on a steam ship on one of the area rivers. He had stowed his gear below decks and said it was too hot to sleep down there. He had taken a cot and set it up on the deck of the ship in a spot open to the breeze. He was sleeping soundly during the middle of the night. The steam ship was going full steam ahead when suddenly and without warning it ran aground on a sand bar. Gran said he was thrown forward to the deck of the ship and remembered stacks of cargo crashing down around him. In the chaos that followed, he said all he could think about was making his way below decks to retrieve his gold lizard! Sometime later, he and the lizard made a safe return back to Texas. A few years later, he was working in Greenville TX and was walking down the street early one morning. He became ill and a young lady sitting on a porch swing of her parents front porch went out to offer help. She helped him onto the porch and they sat and talked for a time. They got married sometime later and raised two sons and were married for over 50 years until my grandmother's passing. The first two photos are of the gold lizard my grandfather brought back so many years ago. The photo below that shows a pre Colombian cast gold lizard in the National Museum of Costa Rica. Being gold, the lizard no doubt has value but Dudley would never sell it, to him it is priceless.

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