Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The oldest member of my family is a turtle.  Her name is Turtle.

She is a gorgeous Eastern Box Turtle and she's in her eighties.

My father acquired her from a pet store in lower Manhattan when he was maybe seven or eight years old.  She already had a few years on him at that point.  They are still together.  She has been moved from apartment to apartment, home to home, alongside my father who still dotes on her.  We all adore her.  She's terribly clever and interactive and as charming as could be.  She's healthy and strong and quite happy in her own turtle-y way.  As an indoor-only turtle, necessitated by the fact that an eastern box turtle wouldn't stand a chance outside in the weather of the Colorado foothills.  Also because my father is far too fond of her to let her even face the tiniest threat from an out-door life.  She's never had to face predation or horrible turtle-pestering bugs.  Sure, there is a certain amount of enrichment that a turtle can get from being outside but this little one in all her glory has been WELL cared for and pampered and for as well as I've ever known her she hasn't suffered a heartbeat of malcontent.  Except possibly for that one year when I dug her up too many earthworms and she got kindof chubby.

She HAS survived the arrival and rearing of my brother and I.  She has survived innumerable encounters with cats and curious neighbors and house-sitters alike.  With Aplomb.

The current housecat, Kai, has taken it upon herself to act as Turtle's personal guardian and takes great pains to make sure that everything that happens to or near m'lady Turtle is within the bounds of safety.  I'm sure they have excellent conversations:

Turtle (in her eighties):  Hello, my dear.
Kai (in her eight-s): What are you?
Turtle: I am a turtle, and I'm the oldest creature here.  That means I'm your master.
Kai:  Neat! What does that mean?
Turtle: You have to protect me.
Kai:  Neat! What does that mean?
Turtle: Don't let anything hurt me.
Kai:  Neat! Will you feed me?
Turtle: You're not that bright, are you?
Kai: What?  Food?
Turtle:  Never mind, fluffy one.  Did I ever tell you about the time....

Yup.  I bet that's how it goes.  So here's to you, Turtle.  We love you.


Rainbow Hues said...

Such a cute story! Pets are truly a joy!

Poke The Rock said...

haha the conversation, i am pretty sure that's how it works.

maybe she needs a tiny tiara?

C. Kirk said...

New take on a man's best friend. It's probably nice to have a pet you can pass on to the next generation.

Chontali Kirk

Linda said...

Wow now I want a turtle too.
I had a small one when I was a child but it got sick and died.