Driving home from the garden center yesterday, Gary slowed down because a turtle was trying to cross the street. The turtle had 4 lanes to inch across at his leisurely, ambling pace, so Gary pulled over, and I ran into the street to grab the turtle before another car came along. The turtle pulled into his shell but peeped his head out like curiosity was killing him.
I started to walk back to the small pond he seemed to be coming from, then realized why he was crossing the street in the first place: his little pond was all dried up. I carried the turtle to the car and told Gary, “I can’t put him back there. It’s all dried up.”
Gary said he knew another small pond nearby, so I tucked the turtle into the floor of the backseat and got back into the car. At the next red light, Gary turned to check on the turtle and asked, “Where is he?”
Our new shelled friend was nowhere to be seen. “I guess he’s under my seat,” I said.
Ever try to get a turtle out from under a car seat?
At the park and the turtle’s potential new home, Gary tried to reach under the seat from the back to extract the turtle. Not having any of it, the turtle stubbornly tucked himself further under the seat. I slid the seat up so Gary could reach the turtle, a turn of events not pleasing to the turtle, who turned his head and hissed. Twice.
“Be careful,” I warned Gary. “He’s hissing at you.”
Extracting turtles from car seats evidently does not put Gary into a very good mood. “Who says he’s not hissing at you?” he grumbled before going back to swearing at the turtle, who responded by digging his claws into the car’s carpet and refusing to budge.
“No good deed goes unpunished!” Gary was getting rather exasperated. The turtle was getting exasperated. And me? I felt a good laugh coming on.
After a few more minutes of wrestling with the turtle, Gary had officially named the turtle “turkey-head”, among other affectionate nicknames involving curse words. Gary finally victoriously emerged with Turkey, who retreated back into his shell, and we carried him to the edge of the water.
“I don’t see any other turtles here,” I observed.
Gary looked around. “Oh, he’ll be all right here.”
“But he won’t have any friends!”
I could almost hear Gary clenching his teeth. “So…you want to take him somewhere else?”
As soon as Gary stepped toward the turtle, he scurried into some bushes along the water. I couldn’t hear what Gary was saying as he went after him, but I’m sure it was filled with profanity. As we walked back to the car with the turtle, I heard Gary mumbling something about turtle friends. I was busy petting the turtle’s shell and telling the turtle to just ignore Mr. Meanie’s negativity.
This time, I held the turtle on my lap, so there were no more episodes with digging him out from beneath the seat. We took him to another park with a pond, and as soon as we pulled up, we could see turtles sunning themselves around the water. Gary quickly pointed out that the turtle would have plenty of friends here.
The park was crowded, and the turtle was an instant celebrity. A little boy wanted to see him and touch his shell, and I explained to a few other people who asked about him that his pond was dried up and he needed a new home. I could practically hear theatrical theme music as I carried the turtle to the edge of the water and gently placed him inches from the water.
“Run! Run like the wind!” I joked as he just sat there.
Slowly, he poked his legs out from beneath his shell and felt the muddy ground like he was checking the place out. Just as someone suggested I place him closer to the water, and just as Gary was asking, “What, is this place not good enough for you either?”, the turtle lunged forward (well, as quickly as a turtle can lunge), dove into the water, and swam off.
“They grow up so fast,” Gary said with just a touch of sarcasm.
As we drove off, Gary said, “That spot where all those turtles were sitting now only has one turtle. We brought a bully turtle here.”
Nah, I’m sure our little turtle will make lots of new friends at his new pond…as long as they don’t try to get him out from under a car seat.