I just have a lot to say.
April 2nd, 2016 by

“Let My Turtle Go”

Mother’s Day weekend, May 2013

Phillip and Brett had a joint birthday party at the lake.

photo 5 - Copy

Brett’s parents loaded the kids up on their pontoon boat and disappeared for a couple of hours. It was overcast and freezing. I cleaned up from lunch while they were gone and enjoyed a nap on the porch under a blankie. It wasn’t my fault the weather was yucky and they were gone so long.

They returned frozen and happy with tales from the island. And with a turtle. They found a baby turtle, freshly hatched, about the size of a silver dollar. Brett’s mom told my son that he could keep it. She put it in a red Solo cup. She told me that her boys had an unused tank—that she bought at a yard sale—that she would bring to my house later that night.

Thanks, Friend.

She brought the secondhand, secondhand tank and filled it with water and plugged it in in the playroom. She put some large rocks in it for him to climb on. She put blood worms in my freezer (which I forgot about until two years later when a storm knocked out our power for 48 hours and my refrigerator started bleeding).

Thanks, Friend.

My family soon learned that Brett’s family had a longtime love for turtles, stemming from a children’s book called Let’s Get Turtles that Brett and his brother made their mom read 1000 times when they were little. It’s about two boys who got turtles.

One time, they had a turtle named Shel that they kept in the yard, but he ran away. Not quickly, I imagine, but stealthily and unnoticed.

They weren’t using the little tank anymore, because their turtle had outgrown it. They found their turtle in the parking lot at the New Orleans zoo and brought him all the way home to Dothan, I assume, in a red Solo cup. They named him Zoos (pronounced Zeus). Phillip named his turtle Poseidon.

Poseidon lived in the little tank in the playroom from Mother’s Day until Christmas. We all grew so attached to the little feller that I asked Santa to bring a large tank to put upstairs, so he could be with the rest of the family in the den. We watched Poseiden pu-u-ull himself up the rocks, then dive into the water, then pu-u-ll himself back up on the rocks. He reminded me of the kids in the deep end at the Azalea. We tapped on the tank. We talked to him and giggled at him. We nicknamed him Little P.

One time, Chuck bought some goldfish to be his friends. He nibbled at their tails. They were the most skittish goldfish ever. We sensed he hated them, so we got rid of them.

Little P grew and grew and grew. People came to our house and said, “That turtle is huge!” Brett’s mom said he would grow to the size of the tank. Zoos was bigger than Poseidon and their tank was bigger and we didn’t know a thing about yellow-eared sliders and had never stolen a single turtle before, so we believed her like she was Google. Regardless, Little P didn’t have much room to frolic. We decided this past Christmas that in the springtime, we would let him go.

We discussed returning him to Lake Eufaula, but there is a pond in our neighborhood. We would like to wave to him as we drive by. Biscuit and I would like to look for him on our walks. We wanted to set him free, yet keep him close. There was a little colony of turtles—and no gators.

April 2, 2016

Abby was home for spring break. It rained and rained and rained. Then, Saturday dawned sunny perfection. Emma read online that fingernail polish wouldn’t hurt his shell.  We all love pomp and celebration.


If you’re ever at the duck pond and see a superhero turtle with a red P on his back, please tell him we said hello.

Thanks, Friend.



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