Today is World Turtle Day, not to be confused with National Turtle Day or Bring Your Turtle to Work Day.
I have three stories about turtles … four if you count how many times I read Dr. Suess’ ‘Yertle the Turtle’ to my kids. And I don’t.
1. My brother had two teeny tiny turtles named Doublemint and Spearmint. I know. Technically less of a story and more of a fact.
2. A huge tortoise found its way into our backyard in Colorado Springs when I was young. Huge. Big enough for me to ride on. He just showed up one day, like he owned the place. We fed him copious amounts of lettuce and raw hamburger which was gross. He ate right out of our hands. Which was also gross. He reminded me of my Grandpa which made me love him more than a little girl should love a land-dwelling reptile. Not that Grandpa ever ate raw hamburger or from my fingers, but I loved how he kinda looked like a turtle. Here he is … what do you think?
I’m sure we named him, but for the life of me I can’t remember. Grandpa, of course, was named “Grandpa.”
It broke my heart when Turtle decided he’d heard all of our jokes and eaten enough of our gross hamburger and simply disappeared forever. In that way he was decidedly not like Grandpa who never left without slipping me some coin.
3. When I was a mere wisp of a girl, we were on vacation driving through somewhere hot … Texas? Oklahoma? … and I saw two wild turtles plodding along the side of the highway, making their way through the desert. Who knew they lived in the wild?! It was quite the revelation to me, Suburban Girl. My superpower, by the way, was avoiding cracks while jumping rope so as not to break my mother’s back. So far, so good.
It occurs to me I have not seen a turtle since I was 9 years old, except in zoos and pet shops and other animal jails. But if I did, I would speak soothingly to it and offer it lettuce and raw hamburger. It would be gross.
It’s nice to know some things from my youth will never change.
How will you celebrate World Turtle Day?