Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Ungrateful Turtle

Route 66 State Park -- formerly a toxic dump once known as Times Beach, Missouri -- isn't far from here. The EPA incinerated the toxins, fixed it all up with bike and horse paths, and I figure it isn't any more toxic than anything else, so I went walking there this fine June morning. Several people were on the same road, jogging, biking, rollerblading.

A common sight in spring and summer here is turtles crossing the roads and highways. People (and me too) often stop to pick 'em up and put 'em in the roadside so they won't be killed. A few drivers like to run turtles over to hear 'em pop. That type will roast for eternity. But this lean white-haired bicyclist wearing a bike suit stopped and laid down his bike when he saw the big turtle in the road, just about the time I saw it.

The turtle was black and the size of a dinner plate. It immediately pulled in its head and legs as the kind man approached. Using both hands, he picked up the turtle -- and darned if it didn't shoot out two quarts of pee in a stream thick as a racehorse's, all over the poor Good Samaritan.

A mother and daughter out walking saw this too, and we all had a good laugh at the old guy's expense.

Moral: When you pick up a turtle, make sure it is facing you.

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