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[Tidbits] Skeleton's Rings


Back to Pompeii and Herculaneum once again… a market center and a
quiet resort… overshadowed by a dormant and not to be feared Mount
Vesuvius. The opposite was true. The volcanic ashes once deposited so
long ago had produced fertile soil which now grew luscious grapes and
rich flavored wine.

Then… one day in August of 79 AD… the animals began behaving
strangely. The birds no longer sang. All the cats left town. The dogs
began barking without reason. I digress for a slight second. Did
someone once say we were smarter than animals? Puh-leeze.

August 20th. An earth tremor shakes Pompeii… sounds like distant
thunder fill the sky. And then all is quiet… till August 24… when
suddenly… a mighty explosion… the ground shakes violently…
broad sheets of fire are rising out of Vesuvius followed by a
mushroom cloud of soil and ash and pumice and more.

Disaster! The citizens drop everything. The flee en-masse. Over the
roads and building debris and fallen bodies… carrying what little
they could gather in the scant moments they gleaned before the
headlong rush to save their skins.

But some hesitate too long. They look for family. They look for
prized possessions. They look for their jewels. Gems and gold are
materials for barter any place in the world. A blanket of stifling
ashes envelopes the stragglers. Hails of stone bombard those
attempting to flee. Poisonous gases overcome those who have escaped
so far. Mudslides bury forever the bodies of the fallen.

Later… much later… in the early 1700’s… treasures begin to
emerge from these long forgotten graves. I have a picture of one. A
hapless victim of the catastrophe… caught and buried in that
mudslide of so long ago… his/her skeletal fingers still adorned
with gem laden rings… a last effort perhaps… to carry something
of value that might be worth money for food when one had nothing

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Current Tidbits… and you’ll see the skeletal remains … rings
intact… of one of Vesuvius’ victims.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark