Thursday, June 21, 2012

Turtle Wrasslin - a repost...since its been a year and I feel like it.

Turtle Wrasslin' and Almost Losing An Eye

So there we were....driving home down Highway 81, listening to a mystery on tape, when out of the blue,

TURTLE!

What?

Turtle! Back there! Pull over!

I had seen a suicidal turtle making a mad dash for the interstate. About the size of a dinner plate, it was hurtling across the shoulder at top speed, on its way to CERTAIN DOOM.

So, my wife, familiar with my tendency to be insane, pulls over and backs up. (We appear to be a little suicidally crazy too.) I pull on my shoes and jump out of the car. The Turtle is about to cross...the WHITE LINE OF DEATH!

My wife watches in horror as her animal loving husband runs up, bends over to pick up this poor, apparently depressed turtle, and then promptly kicks it back towards the shoulder. Spinning like a top, it lands in the gravel.

"What the hell are you doing?" cries my horrified wife.

What she didn't know was that was not a poor, depressed, suicidal turtle. Hell no! It was one evil, beady eyed, nasty, disgruntled snapping turtle that didn't take kindly to my interrupting his attack on these metal monsters that woke him from a nap....not too mention that goal kick.....that didn't endear me to him AT ALL.

I kicked him out of the way ( a toe nudge, really. He was heavy!) because I couldn't maneuver to pick him up so close to the traffic. HE may have been interested in dealing with the traffic... me not so much.

As I had run up to snatch him up to safety, that evil, beady eyed head twisted back on its snake-neck and damn near took a finger as a snack. THAT'S why there was a sudden "OH, S#!T!" and a sudden kick.

So, faced with a slightly annoyed, disgruntled, snapping turtle....and me never having learned that trick you see on TV where the animal handler neatly picks up the turtle by the shell, gripping it behind the head...I was stumped. Well, almost...the turtle missed....again. That turtle had a neck as flexible as a snake and 6 inches long.

I've never felt anything so strong that was that small. It was the original all wheel drive vehicle. Finally I got a grip on its tail and a hand on the top of its shell. Needless to say, picking up an already irate snapping turtle and holding it upside down does NOT make it any friendlier. It's neck stretched out backwards for my belt line so far that I worried about singing soprano. (I'm told that this is called "foreshadowing" in writing circles.)

So... there we were. Now what? I saw no ponds, streams, creeks, rivers, or puddles. The only place it could have come was from the hill in front of me. The steep hill. With bushes and saplings all over it. Covered in slippery pine needles. Did I tell you that my shoes were not completely on? Yeah......wait. It gets better.

So... up we go. Slip slidin' away....near the destination...the more you slip slidin' away.... Sorry. 70's flashback.

Anyway, up we go, darling daughter doing her best to help. Now, as one climbs a 45 degree slope, one tends to bring the arms in to keep balance......yeah...you see where this is going......

About halfway up the slope, that highly displeased, upside down, contortionist turtle makes an attempt to change my sex.....me not realizing how close my hands were to my body! All I see is a blur and hear a "snap!"

Turtles can fly.

Not very far, but they can fly. As I did, in the opposite direction, as my shoe comes loose. I go over backwards, the turtle comes sliding down after me...THE TURTLE! OH CRAP!. I'm dodging the sliding turtle and it wedges itself next to a sapling.

Darling daughter is doing her very best not to laugh.....which isn't very good. Gathering up the turtle, by the expedient handle of it tail, I begin to climb Mt. Everest again. Now...I'm in shape. I mean...round is a shape. So, its about 100 degrees, 200% humidity, branches scratching and bushes catching me. And we reach the top. Whew!

No pond. No stream. Not even a mudhole. I was really hoping that was mud all over the hind end of the turtle.......

Screw the damn turtle. Pitched him (gently) towards the fence, and turned my way back down.

Remember those branches? Yeah, the ones that scratch? Being the dutiful dad that I am, I held the branches back from my following daughter and also out of my face.

Branches break.

Hit me right in the eye. One half inch down, and it would have hit the eye and not the eye lid. 50 miles from well...anywhere.

That's how you almost lose an eye while wrasslin' a turtle.

Screw turtles. Ungrateful wretches.

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