The Oldest Ice Age Cave in America and What Time Is It?

by Bella Rum

We can’t get this thing straight. Throughout our adult lives, we’ve had no problem falling back and springing forward. How many times have we done this? Let’s see. We’ve been married 42 years… 43 in November. That means we’ve either sprung forward or fallen back 84 times. Today marks our 85th time resetting the clocks. Is that right? And we’ve never had a problem until the fall of 2010 when, in honor of all Europeans, H set the clocks back a week early.

This was my year to botch the operation.

C wanted to do something special with her sister on Friday night. H and I stayed with Dad until she returned at 2 am. H slept as I drove home. With only a couple of other cars on the road (half of them drunk), it was an eerie drive home. Let me tell you.

I listened to the radio for company. I have no idea how, but I landed on a channel out of Ashland -102.9 FM. I needed something to focus on as I sliced through the night at stupid o’clock. Two guys were chatting about a cave in Missouri. It was discovered on 9/11. A construction crew was planting twelve dynamite charges as they began the process of lengthening a rural road. Two charges were in place when the planes hit the towers in NYC. All explosions across the country were immediately halted. The crew asked permission for an exception because leaving two dynamite charges in place could be very dangerous. They were given permission to detonate the two charges. When the dynamite exploded, a cave was uncovered.

Not all that unusual really. You can’t throw a fossil without hitting a cave in Missouri, but this one turned out to be at least 660,000 years old. Two hundred feet from the entrance, claw marks from the extinct giant short-faced bear were discovered. A time machine back to the Ice Age, this cave was a very special find, and it never would have been discovered if the construction crew hadn’t been interrupted after placing only two charges. Twelve charges would have destroyed it.

Anyway, “the guy” in Missouri who checks out such things was called to the scene. He was quoted as saying, “When I was within 200 feet of the opening, I could smell the Ice Age.” Powerful quote, huh? You can read about it here – The Oldest Ice Age Cave. Very interesting.

The point is, I was snagged. I couldn’t stop listening to these two guys whose conversational tones filled the car as I made my way home in the crazy hours of predawn darkness. Next, they talked about some guy who traveled the world on a 10-dollar-an-hour job. Still interesting enough to keep me awake. But then they moved on to UFOs and crop art and eventually mutilated cows entered the conversation. The next thing I knew, I’d gone down the rabbit hole.

They started talking about “little people.” At first I thought they really meant “little” people, but I finally realized they were talking about leprechauns. Now I knew Sasquatch wasn’t far behind, and he wasn’t. Then… the highpoint…. they started asking for call-ins. People were calling in and claiming they had seen little people and UFOs and big hairy creatures. One guy saw a naked “little person” at work. So this is what kept me company as I drove through the night with H snoozing at my side. It’s good that he slept. He wouldn’t have let me enjoy my little trip into the mad and marvelous.  Some people just can’t suspend reality long enough to walk that road.

Okay, back to springing forward. We got home about 3:30 am. It was now Saturday morning, but I thought it was Sunday morning. Don’t judge me. I’d been up since 4 am Friday morning, and I had been walking through the Ice Age and contemplating leprechauns for over an hour. I figured I’d change the clocks before going to bed. It seemed like a good idea at the time. When I realized what I had done, I didn’t see any point in resetting the clocks. So we were on daylight saving time all day yesterday.

You know, some things were easier during the Ice Age. Cave dwellers didn’t have to worry about this stuff. Harriet wasn’t out there changing the sundial before going to bed.