Daily Archives: 05.19.2011

Operation: Turtle

There are a lot of different things you could say about The W family.  But there is one title that we all proudly bear.

We are Turtle Rescuers.

From an early age I was taught that if you ever see a turtle crossing the road during laying season (since this is pretty much the only time that they’re up to Risky Business), you have the obligation to rescue it.

Which, over the years, has led to me honing the skills of spotting the turtle, identifying the turtle (painted?  box?), picking up the turtle  and carrying the turtle to safety without it peeing all over me.

You know, really useful stuff.

I remember once, when I was in elementary school, Mom and Dad were looking for a new jeep.  After a bit of searching and test driving, they thought they had finally found the one.  And then the owner told them that he purposefully ran over turtles crossing the road wherever he saw them.

They did not buy the jeep.

Note: If you see a turtle trying to cross the road, pay attention to what direction it’s traveling in.  When you rescue it, make sure that you take it that direction.  Turtles are creatures who return to the same laying locations every year so if you don’t take them where they’re going, you might be undoing a day’s worth of work.

And they’re going to try to cross that road again.

While I originally thought that I might do a turtle-rescue PSA at some point this spring, that kind of fell to the wayside.

But then tonight happened, so I pinky swear this all has a point.

Here Marcus and I are, driving over to Mom and Dad’s house so he can drop me off before tonight’s bridal shower.  It’s 6 PM and we’re on a busy road with a speed limit of 50 MPH.

Which is all right and good until we, along with everyone else in our lane, swerve to avoid what looks like a roll of sod in the middle of the road.

And then it hits me.

Dramatic re-enactment turtle. The placement is actually fairly accurate.

It’s a giant snapping turtle that is so old, it has moss growing on its shell.

As we’re driving towards the road that will take us into the neighborhood, I’m trying to debate the merits of attempting to save a turtle in the middle of the road, surrounded by SUVs going 50 MPH.

Pros: Excellent karma.  Sense of vindication.  Inner peace.

Cons: You might actually get hit by a car.

By the time we made the turn into the neighborhood, we had already started making a U-Turn to go back for it.

Not that we’re experts at Turtle Rescue in high-traffic areas but in the 60 seconds we had to figure the situation out, we decided that the only way to make this work was to completely stop traffic.

Because that’s a totally sane train of thought.

So Marcus pulled into the lane closest to the turtle and flipped on our hazard lights.

And now I need for y’all to try to imagine the scene that unfolded.

Obviously I was totally prepared for the occasion, so there I am, kicking off my cork wedges, and pawing through my car for anything to wrangle the turtle with.  I ended up selecting the University of Minnesota umbrella and the white sheet I always have stashed in my trunk (the UGG boots were a close third).

Everything I’ve ever been told about snapping turtles involves them being able to move with incredible speed when they’ve set their minds to it, and being able to lunge at you with their mouths wide open before you can even bat an eye.

They are called Snapping Turtles for a reason.

Distance is key.

So here I am, in the middle of this extremely busy road.  Barefoot.  Wearing my new, pink Lilly Pulitzer shift.  Waving a queen-sized white sheet above my head with a University of Minnesota pseudo-golf umbrella looped around my arm.

And I am pleading with this turtle to stop walking UP the road and to just pick a side.

All the while, traffic in both lanes has completely stopped.

After staring me down for what felt like an eternity, I realized that I had a pacifist turtle on my hands.  She had zero interest in biting anything, but a lot of interest in taking her show from the middle of the road to the side of the road.

In peace.

But it gets better.  Because tonight is one of those nights where I was so absolutely touched by this soon-to-be-husband of mine.

After he dropped me off, he went back to make sure that the turtle had not managed to get herself killed.  And before he came to say hello to all of the shower guests at the end of the party, he drove down that stretch of road one more time to make sure that all was still well.

There is absolutely nothing he could have done for me tonight that could have ever possibly been more endearing.

Have you ever rescued a turtle?