Mother was washing dishes when I burst into the back door.
“Mom, I found a meteorite!”
She shook her head and tried her hands. “Really?”
I handed her the rock I’d found – heavy, black and pock-marked. I’d seen pictures of meteorites and this looked like one to me. I’d run across it back in the mesquite brush. Astronomy fascinated me. Living out there on the far edge of town, I had a good view of the heavens. Night skies tend to be clear in south Texas, down in the Mustang or Wild Horse Desert. My grandmother gave me a book – The Stars for Sam – and I’d studied the pictures. I was sure I was right. I'd found a real meteorite. Mom wasn’t so sure.
The first Texas meteorite ever discovered was a huge one. Early traders heard the tale from Indians – a big rock that never rusted. The first white man to see it thought it might be platinum. Indians thought it was holy. They left offerings beside it.
After several tries, a crew moved it to the Red River and floated it down to Shreveport. It weighed over a ton. They labeled it “The Texas Iron.” But what was it? Rocks had been discovered that seemed to come from – where? Some other world? Was this one such rock?
The Texas Iron was eventually shipped to New York, where an assay confirmed that it was an iron-nickel meteorite. For a time in the 1800’s the Texas Iron was the largest one known. Today in resides in the Peabody Museum at Yale, where it’s labeled the “Red River Iron.” The Texas Iron is still the largest meteorite yet found in Texas.
My little meteorite was examined and confirmed to be genuine – Dr. Leroy Brown, my uncle, certified it. Sad to say, it was lost some place during our move from the country into the city of Kingsville.
But I still have the memory, stored with all the other happy memories of growing up in South Texas.
November 2, 2014
“We all have our time machines. Those that take us back are memories. And those that carry us forward are dreams.” – H.