photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, July 22, 2010

She Loves Us, She Loves Us Not

We love the museum.

I know, there are alot of museums in the world- which one am I talking about?

All of 'em. We love ALL museums.

Huge serious big city museums. Little hole in the wall quirky museums- whatever they got, we wanna see.

One of the perks of our forced encampments in Houston for appointments at the cancer hospital has been to be immersed in the museum district of the 5th largest city in the US- and the best of these has to be the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

I didn't know alot about Houston 5 years ago.

One thing I really didn't know is that a good number of scientific exhibits come first not to either coast- New York or Los Angeles- or even to the Field Museum in Chicago, but to Houston.

We've seen some incredible things, some on permanent exhibit, some traveling exhibits- and the traveling exhibits have included three Big L's-

Lucy- the petite missing link hardly 4ft tall, who made Houston her first stop on a worldwide tour- her first trip out of Africa, ever. The great thing about these big exhibits is that they aren't "just" about the Main Course- there was a good hour's worth of history, art, stories and artifacts that led up to entering the darkened room with little Lucy's remains and re-creation. Shes so tiny, so fragile, you can't help but love her.

Leonardo- touted as "a dinosaur in the flesh"- Leonardo is not a fossil, but a mummy, thanks to the makeup of the mud he fell into trying to avoid an attack from a larger lizard (the theory according to the wounds on his body). Leonardo is a duck-billed dinosaur and actually still has skin, and tissue, and, unaccountably, the same jowls as our big floppy drooly pyr who lives on the porch. Again, there was a long series of facts, murals, fossils and information leading up to Leonardo himself- "outsides and all" at the end- the soft jowls begging to be stroked, but inaccessible through the case he's in, and you really can't help but love him.

And now, there's Lois.

Lois is a Corpse Flower- and the museum has had her for over 6 years. She's never bloomed...till now. There aren't very many corpse flowers, and those that are not in Sumatra are in botanical gardens or museums. The first explorers who came across these flowers in the wild left them a wide berth- their stench and size seemed proof enough that here were, in fact, man-eating plants.

Lois started her bloom a few weeks ago, then stalled, and is now verrrrrry slowwwwwly opening.

They're not really sure why it's taking Lois so long to open up, but the (insensitive) newspeople on the local stations have re-named her Slowis.

I have a theory.

Right across the street from the museum is the Pabst Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park, a wonderful theater we had the good fortune to see an excellent production of Cats at a few months ago. Weekend before last, the Papst Outdoor Theater hosted a production of Little Shop of Horrors. Shortly before rehearsals started, Lois popped up. But no one did anything with this amazing coincidence.

And the play went on without her, ending it's short run Sunday night.

Lois isn't Slowis, or being picky about the temperature or humidity in the Cockrell Butterfly Center- Lois is depressed because she was totally passed over for a lead she was, by all definitions, born for.

We went to see Lois Tuesday- and she was impressive even still in barely-opened bud form- right at 6ft tall she's almost as tall as Ward, and a good head (stamen?) taller than Alec. There are t-shirts, buttons, a Lois-cam and a large fan base all waiting for her to open. Alec was very disappointed that she didn't stink yet- and I told him that if she opened before we left, we'd go back to see her. We watched the Lois-cam religiously, but it never did happen before we headed home.

In spite of the non-stinkitude and closed petals, Lois is rare, and amazing, and so very special- you just can't help but love her.

And we don't ever take for granted that we've seen these three L's- incredible things most folks won't see one of, much less all three.

We may not have much in the way of money, and we've never been to Disneyworld or even Six Flags. But we have seen, up close and personal, Lucy, and Leonardo, and Lois.

And we gotta love THAT.

Lois-cam (for just a little longer, I'll bet)

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