Saturday, March 01, 2008


You might recognize the title of this post- it’s the title of a skit from the old Monty Python Show. It’s also a comment on how easy it can be sometimes to hide in plain sight:

Here’s the story: a dirt-poor West Virginia father and his oldest son are playing horseshoes in 1928. An errant horseshoe kicks up a beautiful piece of quartz. The family admires it for a day or two, then puts it in a shed out back for safekeeping.

Cut to 1942: eldest son (dirt-poor family now has fifteen boys, by the way, and they’ve even been introduced to FDR because of the notoriety of that circumstance) is going to college. He takes along the piece of quartz to show to his geology professor. The professor has news for the boy and his dad: their “piece of quartz” is the largest diamond ever found in North America:


P.S. Cut to 1945: Eldest son has been drafted, and word comes to the family that he has been killed in action. Father never sells the diamond: he loans it to the Smithsonian Institution for several years, then keeps it in a safe deposit box at a local bank. It stays with the family until 10 years after the father's death in 1974, when it is finally sold.

P.S.S. As I've so often said, who needs fiction when there are so many amazing true stories waiting to be told?

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