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Just the other day, Tuesday, February 15, 2005, I solved an ancient personal mystery. When I was very young, three maybe (I don't think my sister was born), I walked in on a TV show in progress and I didn't know what it was about, but I knew what I THOUGHT it was about. And all my life I've wondered, and sometimes I asked people if they remembered anything like that and they looked at me blankly and shook their heads slowly. I thought for a while in the 70's that maybe it was some reference to Norse mythology, but the men were in regular clothes. I remember there was background music, kinda spooky. There were men pulling up and up and up on what I always thought was the root of a tree, and they kept pulling but it never got to the end.

I definitely remember that it was a tree.

So last Tuesday I was pulling some weeds we have. I don't know their name, but weed killer doesn't hurt them a bit. They have a long taproot like a dandelion. It has rained a lot here. I was pulling them gently so the whole root would break off. I thought of how I had learned that by playing with Silly Putty when I was little, and if you pulled fast it broke, but if you pulled slowly it stretched out until it was thread thin, and that works with roots in wet ground too, kinda.

I first played with silly putty when it was new, in the 50's, when I was a little kid at that four room house we lived in in Fort Worth, Texas, two blocks (theoretical blocks, no houses between) from my granny and papaw.

The thought came to me about them pulling that tree root out of the ground, men holding their hands around it and pulling up.

And I knew what it was!!!!

The tree was an oil derrick. The "root" they were pulling out was the drill casing. I'm 51, and I kept that image in my head until I understood it.

It was Texas in the 50's and it must've been a TV show about oil drilling. Maybe local, maybe some particular well or field or company. The background music was probably the dramatic background music was probably intended to represent the risky tension of now knowing how an expensive drilling project will turn out. They probably said "tree" (the nickname for the scaffolding/tower-rigging that's there when a well is being drilled) and I thought they were pulling a tree up by its roots.

In the early 1980's, Keith lived in Salt Lake City for a year, working at a geology lab and dealing with "core samples" (what comes out of the hole when wells are drilled), transporting, marking and mapping those. There's an ever-growing map of underground geology because of those core-charting projects. Still, in all that time, and hearing his stories, I still didn't tie that to my mysterious tv show about the tree.

It took pulling weeds without conscious thought to bring that image back.

Cool, huh??