I need that on a bumper sticker.
Yesterday was May 6, 2022, and my eldest daughter’s college graduation in Campbellsville, Kentucky. She worked very hard to get her master’s degree at Carver School of Social Work. It was an incredible journey with twists, turns, disappointments and struggles, but she did it. By golly, she did it, and I could not be more proud of her accomplishment!
The plan is to meet my daughter and her family at a Dollar General store on the way then follow them to the college campus. I leave the house before 10:30 a.m. and soon turn onto a long, winding and hilly country road. About a half mile later, I happen upon a turtle in the middle of the road. As is my routine, I stop my car, undo my seatbelt, open the door and set out on my rescue mission. I pick the fella up as he hunkered into his shell and I carry him to the side of the road in which he was heading. That’s what animal experts say to do. Not like I did a couple of years ago when I rescued a turtle and thought driving it to a nearby park was the best idea, while holding the guy over my passenger seat as he proceeded to spray said seat with liquid feces. Pleased with myself for doing the right thing (this time…you live and learn, sometimes the stinky way), I get back in my car, fasten the seatbelt and thoroughly cleanse my hands with a sanitizer wipe. And, I get back on the road again.
About half a mile later, an attack turkey darted out in front of me and I nearly hit it with my car! I could’ve had a free Thanksgiving turkey if only it’d been a tad bit slower. Not sure what I would’ve done with a freshly murdered turkey. I had a full day of activities ahead of me. Perhaps I could’ve asked one of the local farmers to keep it until I came back through? Hmm. Onward to Campbellsville!
Not even a mile further down the road, I see a second turtle in the middle of the road. This is unusual. I don’t recall ever rescuing two turtles on the same road, or even in the same day. Nevertheless, I stop the car, remove my seatbelt, get out and rescue this misguided turtle by placing him on the side of the road in which he was heading, and ask him, “What’s up with you all today?” He didn’t answer. Satisfied with succeeding in another valiant rescue mission, I get back in my car, fasten seatbelt, cleanse my hands, and continue my drive.
I was able to drive about one and a half miles before I found yet another turtle in the middle of the road. Now we’re up to three? Wow! Once again, I stop the car, get out, pick up turtle, place said rescued turtle on correct side of road, get back in car, wash hands…and head further down the road.
Seriously?! This is nuts! What’s that? To my disbelief, in the middle of the road–it’s turtle number four! I repeat my rescue procedure to the letter, but this time I turn on my emergency flashers due to the location of said turtle being in a curve located on a hill. I carry out my brave mission, get back on the road where I immediately see a bluebird. It’s an indigo bunting, one of my mother’s favorite birds. That was a nice treat. You don’t see those very often.
Guess what? You guessed it! Not much farther down the windy, hilly road, I find turtle number FIVE. I stop, put car in park, and as I was opening the door to get out and perform another heroic rescue, that little fella flat took off. I didn’t know turtles could move that fast! I grabbed my phone to capture its movement and was able to get the last few seconds on his run on video. (Unfortunately, I can’t upload videos on my blog or I’d share it here, but I can post it on the Facebook page for my Itchy Nipples book!) Then, I’m back on the road. Again.
I was able to go maybe two miles this time, before I found kamikaze turtle number six! SIX?! On the same road, the same trip, the same day. It’s crazy! Is this national mass suicide day for turtles? (This is where I begin photographing the turtles as evidence, for who would believe this was really happening?)
I was a short distance from the Dollar General Store where I was to meet my daughter and her family when I saw turtle number seven. Now, this turtle did not resemble its predecessors. It was much smaller and was lying on its back. I get out of my car with some heavy trepidation since I could not tell if the little fella was alive or dead. I walk up to him, kneel down to get a closer look and he seems to have his eyes open. Or are they frozen that way? I tapped him gently and he hunkered inside his shell. Sigh of relief. He’s alive! I pick him up and see he’s not much larger than an avocado. So cute! I place him in the grassy area beside the road and feel very grateful I was able to save him from his imminent death by squashing.
Once I placed the little guy on the side of the road to which he was headed, I got back in my car, repeated my steps and continued on my journey. I wasn’t on that windy hilly road for much longer and did not see another turtle, turkey, or bluebird for the rest of my road trip.
I did, however, realize I was at the wrong Dollar General store when my son-in-law called to see where I was located. I said, “I’m at the Dollar General store in Springfield.” He said, “I don’t see you. We’re at the Dollar General store in Springfield.” I surveyed my surroundings and informed him that, “I see a church, that says something-something church of…oh crap! I’m at the Dollar General store in Willisburg.” That’s a small town about 12 miles from Springfield. Shaking my head in disbelief (well, not really–I do this kind of thing quite often), I tell him I’ll meet them at the campus, not wanting them to wait on me.
After the graduation ceremony and a lovely dinner at a steak house, I headed back home. Once I got to the notorious turtle trail road, I wondered if I’d see any more of the crawling critters and stayed hyper-vigilant, just in case. I didn’t see any. I thought, well, turtles must not travel at night. Then, as I was marveling at that fact, a red fox darted across the road, fully illuminated by my headlights. Well, there’s that! Foxes do travel at night.
Yes, I need an “I stop for turtles” bumper sticker!