There’s a small river town about a 20-minute drive from my house that Buzz and I haunt fairly regularly. There are good breakfast places, great junk shops, cozy little watering holes, train tracks by the river, and a weekend farmers’ market during warmer months. For years, we’ve gone up and down the main street, poking our heads in our favorite places, stopping for a coffee or a beer, or looking for some good photo subjects.
For years, I’ve noticed that there is a small crèche on the corner of a little dead-end side street. I always thought it was an amusing little thing because crèches are quite common, but not ones with a Godzilla figurine in it. After seeing it many times, I finally looked at it one day.
It is a memorial to a 17-year-old boy.
The Godzilla and the crèche sit under a store window on the corner. The blue protective backdrop is always cleaned and the paint freshened up. There are always auxiliary dinosaurs near the corner and all along the side street. Sometimes they’ve been beaten around by winter storms, but come back in a few weeks, and they will be cleaned, upright, and keeping Godzilla company.
Though I didn’t take pictures the first time I realized that the dinosaurs were a memorial, I finally did so this weekend. I also started wondering about the boy.
I couldn’t find much beyond a few snippets of the person he was. Or was becoming. In fourth grade, he was one of the winners of an essay competition about “What the Constitution Means to Me.” He played guitar in a rock band and his friends considered him quite talented. He died three years before his grandmother.
And he loved dinosaurs.