Today I drove around a corner near my Mother’s house, which is on the Mississippi River, and slammed on my brakes. There was an enormous turtle sunning in the middle of the road and I stared at it from the top of my steering wheel hoping it would get busy and cross the street. He didn’t, so I got out of my car, leaving it in the middle of the narrow road to stop anyone coming around the corner from hitting me or the turtle.
First I tried shuffling my feet behind him hoping to spook him into running for the ditch. Apparently, he noticed the size of my shoes. Instead of running he turned towards my feet confident that his 2 foot mass trumped my size 5 sandal. He hissed and I think he even growled, a noise that would have made my dog run sideways away from him. Not that that is saying much since Jack has been known to runs sideways when the kids burp but you get the idea. We keep telling him to tell himself that he’s a big brave dog…whatever.
I briefly considered wishing the very large turtle the best of luck and leaving, but he was so extraordinarily large that abandoning him, regardless of how disagreeable I found him, would never be right. In light of the green swamp slim covering his back, the 2 inch claws on all 4 of his limbs and my neatly pressed white blouse, carrying him seemed unsafe, unsanitary and was otherwise out of the question since I was afraid of him. I kept telling myself, I’m a big brave dog but it didn’t work for me either.
I shuffled my feet a few more times and he continued to come after me, he didn’t appear to have teeth but I wasn’t willing to do any further investigation into that theory. After that I tried to taunt him into chasing my sandals to the side of the road but he remained unmoved. When that strategy also failed I went back to the car and inspected its contents as I considered my options. I grabbed a cardboard shipping flat, hooked the edge over the turtles shell and I scooted him to the shoulder of the road. At that point he began walking in the direction I was moving him, like an old man who just remembered where he intended to go right before he forgot. Minutes later the turtle was making his way down the weedy ditch and I was making my way home.