By Lorry Myers
It had everything a kid needed to fill their summer; waterfalls and wishing wells and wet rocks that shone like diamonds. The flowers were exotic and the air thick with growing things. We could come and go and meet our friends and we did that freely right up until the weather turned cold. Chance Gardens was for everyone.
Especially for kids like me.
The Garden was created by a big thinking inventor named A.B. Chance, and I grew up hearing his name and the legacy he left our town. Mr. Chance traveled extensively and marveled at the wonders in the world. He was also a small town boy who loved his small town. He began bringing the world back home with him; filling his backyard garden with travel treasures. From his upstairs window he would look down at the quiet beauty and knew he had to share it.
So, he did.
Mr. Chance opened his Garden to everyone and people came from everywhere to see it. A guest book lay open in the latticed foyer where the pen by its side never left. Guests signed in and as a child I would run my finger slowly down the list of names; names I couldn’t pronounce, from places I would never see. People came to Chance Gardens to see the treasures of the world and I was certain they came for the very reason I did.
To see the mummy’s hand.
Back then, the mummy’s hand was displayed in a trophy case that hung in the sunlit foyer of Chance Gardens. The case held other treasures like carved stones and ivory figurines but there at the bottom, for all the world to see, was a mummy’s hand.
A real-life mummy’s hand!
It had been severed at the wrist with a hint of weathered bone left as a reminder. The hand remained partially wrapped in a fragile, ancient cloth that covered it like a whisp of smoke. The fingers stretched out, the nails yellowed and brittle with age and on one of the fingers was a solid band of turquoise, a ring that looked too alive to be on something so dead.
I had never seen anything like it.
For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard