George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

On-highway favors: Collecting dirt for the in-laws

| October 03, 2012

My father-in-law collects dirt. Not in the sense that he’s a dirty guy, but he actually collects samples of dirt. No, he’s not a geologist. He just likes to collect things, and dirt seemed like a good idea to him. Actually, my husband collects dirt for him, because you can only get so many samples of dirt from your own backyard before it becomes a hole in the ground and the neighbors start talking bad about you.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill dirt collecting. It’s like an episode of National Geographic. Dad prepared a “Terra Firma Specimen Extraction Kit” (pictured) and gave explicit instructions on how samples are to be collected. He even included an “extraction tool” (which strongly resembles a tablespoon, also pictured) and tiny baggies with labels, so the samples can be tagged and cataloged properly. Dude is serious about his dirt collection.

My husband dutifully collects the samples, and always calls his dad to tell him where he got it, so he can pinpoint it on Google Earth. I just read this post back to myself and thought, “Wow, my Father-in-law is nutso and my husband is just as nutso to run around collecting dirt with a tablespoon.”

(Kidding! Neither one of them is nuts, they’re just really weird and possibly aliens — Kidding again! Love you guys! Please don’t implant a BB in my nose!)

Actually, we made fun of Dad’s hobby the entire time we were out. I’d tell my husband, “Set the alarm for seven, we have to collect dirt,” and we’d laugh and laugh. More than once, my husband walked off into fairly dangerous and possibly snakey territory to get dirt for his Dad. I’d yell out the window, from the safety of the truck, “Watch out for snakes!! Don’t step in that pile of Sasquatch dung!” and I’d take pictures of him shooting me the bird. Good times.

I think Dad has dirt from about 40 states now, and it’s actually a fascinating collection. He dried all the samples out, sifted them and put them into tiny test tubes that are all labeled with the exact location of extraction. There’s a wide variety of colors and textures, plain old dirt never looked so good. It’s definitely a weird collection, but a pretty one. I think when it’s complete and he has dirt from all 50 states, the mother ship will beam it and my father-in-law up.

(Totally kidding. They’ll take my husband first.)

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