One way or another, turtles have had a way of becoming a part of my family.
First, in order of time sequence, consider the tiny turtle my daughter, Pamela, gently lifted out of Lauderdale Lake, in Wisconsin, one spring morning. Yes, for a time, we took it home with us. It seemed content to walk across our large front floor room and we all spent a lot of time just watching it go back and forth from one wall to another. Then we began to wonder if it missed being in the lake. The next time we returned to Lutherdale Bible Camp, we all headed down to the beach and sadly but gladly put the turtle in the sand. At first, of course, it hid its head in the shell, then poked it out and headed to the lake. Slowly at first, but quicker by the minute, it hit the water and began swimming. For years, Pammy was sure she recognized it somewhere in the lake.
Then came the summer several years later when we were on a small boat near shore in the Mississippi River. Timmy asked if we could catch a turtle and bring it home. “I doubt you can catch one,” the owner of the fishing boat said. At that moment, Timmy reached out on a branch floating in the water, and pulled No.2 into the boat. Again, we brought it home, enjoyed it and then felt it time to return it. Same scenario…it seemed happy to be back in the rushing river.
Again, years later, my children were older and Danny, my youngest son, was in his senior year of college at University of FL in Gainesville. As he was driving back to his apartment after attending church one Sunday, he slowed down to avoid hitting a large turtle slowly crossing the road. He passed it and kept going for a while. Suddenly he slowed down and turned around. The turtle was still crossing the road with cars speeding by. Danny found a large box in his trunk and gently lifted the turtle into it.
“What to do with it now?” Danny wondered. Then an idea came to his mind. He decided to take it to the local community college, as it offered courses in zoology. It was the right choice. When he brought out an employee from the college to look at it, she got very excited and hugged Danny. Turns out it was a very significant type of almost-extinct turtle. By now, others were coming to view the turtle, who seemed curious about so much excitement. When Danny returned to his apartment and called me, we laughed at the fact turtle no.3 was now part of our turtle tales.
But that is not the end of our turtle tales. For the last two years, Jacob and Rebecca have shared my screened porch living in a large glass fish tank. They enjoy sitting on their pet rocks basking in the sun. There is enough water for them to swim along with some dry area. My granddaughter, Emily, selected them; she and her younger sister, Shelbi, named them.
I live a short walk to the Atlantic Ocean, and certain times of the year turtles lay eggs and become a major attraction. Watching them is fun. Turtles are in my blood, I believe.