The first time I’d heard of Lucy was at this afterhours spot in LA. A friend of mine had taken me there promising I’d love the reggae music and low-key atmosphere. I did. Red, ites, and green paint coated the walls crying out RAS-TA-FAR-I. Posters of Selassie, famous Reggae stars and the Lion of Judah were pasted up over much of the paint and red lighting tinted the rooms. Everyone paid attention to no one in particular. They did their own thing. They minded their own business. While I swayed to the sounds of Bunny Wailer on the dance floor, they found dreamlands through their ganja. That was their business and none of mine. What I didn’t know was that it was a place full of intellectuals.
I made my way to the door to stand for a moment – to gather some fresh air. Just as I tried to peel my eyes away from an older man who had been high for hours and noticed my presence, it was too late. It was then that he put me onto Lucy and her greatness. “You from the bone of Lucy?” he asked me. Huh? Who? I hadn’t a clue what this strange man wanted to know. “The first ape-man bone found in E-ti-o-pia. You from the bone of Lucy?” he repeated. Was he saying I looked Ethiopian? Like an ape-man? Still no clue, but he went on to talk about the bone of Lucy, Ethiopia and other things I could not make out. I listened, nodded my head and took off for home when my friend had finally returned.
Something about Lucy stuck with me that day and for days after. Was the wise high fellow trying to relay something about me I didn’t know about myself? Probably not. Lucy is one of the world’s most famous fossils. Unearthed in Ethiopia back in 1974, the 3.2 million year-old Lucy skeleton could never be an ancestor of mine. Or could it?
In any event, I recently heard news that Lucy will be displayed in the United States for the first time ever next year. According to this CTV.ca piece the Ethiopian public has only seen Lucy twice and the real Lucy stays locked tight in a vault, while a replica stays on display in Addis Ababa. The tour is scheduled to kick off next September and will run for six-years, traveling through Washington, New York, Chicago and Denver. Those who are lucky enough to check Lucy out will also be able to view 190 other fossils, relics and artifacts traveling with the ancient skeleton. I’d say this is an amazing opportunity for some of our museums here in the U.S. and that anyone with even the tiniest interest in the early beginnings of man should make sure to go to the exhibit. I personally, will make it a priority to attend one showing, but of course I have a special connection to Lucy.