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Who left a painted reptile along I-20 in Columbia?

Who turned this fallen pine tree into a painted reptile on the side of I-20 near Clemson Road? We want to know.
Who turned this fallen pine tree into a painted reptile on the side of I-20 near Clemson Road? We want to know. Salley McInerney/Special to The State

Talk about a dinosaur Who Done It.

A reptilian mystery has raised its mighty green head right by the westbound side of I-20 in between Clemson Road and I-77.

A week or so ago, while traveling this particular section of highway, I noticed a fluorescent flash of green in the woods just behind a guardrail. The next time I drove in this direction, I kept one eye cocked toward the side of the road and sure enough, the green thing was still there. It appeared to be the body of an animal – perhaps a dinosaur – with a wide-open mouth, two white tusks and a small eye.

Curiosity has so far not killed this cat, so during my most recent trip along this route, I got off the highway at the Alpine Road exit and made my way, eastbound, on Polo Road, which parallels the interstate.

I scaled a rusty farm fence with equally rusty barbed wire strung along the top. It should be said here that crawling over a wobbly wire fence is a little like walking across a seesaw. At some point, the bulk of your weight suddenly shifts from one side to the other and the upshot is you’re launched forward and onto your derriere on the other side.

Which is fine because there’s nothing like a reptilian mystery to make a bruised rear-end the least of my bothers.

I crawled up a gnarly hill riddled with poison ivy (Three leaves? Let it be!), beer cans, Gatorade bottles and everything else that flies out of car windows.

The blowback from 18-wheelers roaring down the road was nerve-racking, but I found the creature.

It appears to be a dinosaur, but it could be a dragon. Or a snake. And come to think of it, those two tusks give it a little bit of a walrus look.

Whatever it is, it’s been created at the end of a long, downed pine tree. It’s been painted with bright green paint. The two wooden tusks, painted white, have been driven into the pine and an eye made out of something I couldn’t quite make out has been nailed into the proper place.

So who done it?

Somebody with a great sense of humor, a can of green paint, and probably a raging case of poison ivy.

And somebody I’d sure like to talk to, so email me at salley.mac@gmail.com if you can help solve this dinosaur Who Done It.

Salley McAden McInerney is a local writer whose novel, Journey Proud, is based upon growing up in Columbia in the 1960s. She may be reached by emailing salley.mac@gmail.com.

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