For What It’s Worth

Surprise! Surprise! (First of a series)


Not all surprises are created equal.

I have heard it said that life is full of surprises; and, based on my life experiences, I would agree with that assertion. Surprises may be an unexpected birthday party. Or a visit from a relative or friend. Or finding a quarter lying on the sidewalk. Or your husband calling home on an ordinary day, not a special occasion, and saying, “Don’t worry about supper tonight, honey, we’re going out to eat.” (Did I just hear someone whisper, “Now, that would be a surprise!”?)

Sometimes, a surprise can be an unusual happening. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I dumped my two morning pills into my hand from the pillbox on the bathroom counter. Then, noticing that I didn’t have a glass of water handy, I meandered into the kitchen to obtain same. When I started to toss the pills into my mouth, I noticed one was missing. I must have dropped it when I dumped the pills into my hand. Retreating to the bathroom, I checked the floor. No pill. So, I must have dropped into the carpet while walking to the kitchen. A painstaking search produced no pill. Chalk up one pill.

Then, last night while at the computer checking email before going to bed, I happened to rest my hand on my lap and felt something in my robe pocket. You guessed it. That long-lost, little purple pill was in the robe pocket. Surprise!

That surprise was not a hard one to swallow, but I have noticed in some of my reading of late that not all surprises people experience are as welcome as my finding a pill in a pocket. For sure, not all surprises are created equal.

A couple in Canada can attest to this. Early this past June Ken Campbell of Sarnia, Ontario, was digging some postholes in his backyard when he stumbled onto some buried bones. Encouraged by his wife, Nicole Sauve, he dug some more to uncover the bones and found a 400-year-old skeleton.

Instead of a skeleton in their closet, they had one in their backyard. But that was only the beginning of the surprise. Now, they face a $5,000 bill, and I haven’t seen a news story telling whether they have paid the bill or have been successful in appealing the assessment.

When the couple notified police of their discovery, police cordoned off the area and called in a forensic anthropologist to examine the site. The anthropologist said the skeleton is likely that of a 24-year-old aboriginal woman who died in the late 1500s or early 1600s. A newspaper reports says that the anthropologist contacted the Registrar of Cemeteries, which then informed Campbell and Sauve that they would have to hire an archeologist to examine the rest of the backyard.

At their expense! Hence, the $5,000 bill. The news story reports that property owners are legally responsible to pay for such an assessment “if human remains are found on their land.”

Perhaps there remains a moral from this story. Maybe the moral is not to be surprised at what you find if you go digging into things. Or, maybe the moral is not to keep digging if it looks like you are uncovering a skeleton.

Maybe, just maybe, the only moral is don’t be surprised to discover that all surprises are not created equal.

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2 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Cindy says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the property owners have a bone to pick with the lawmakers.

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