Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Turtle Week at Camp Amy: Franklin's Legacy

A lot of you have written to me asking about what happened to Franklin. Thank you for your concern for our smelly renegade camp mascot, and I apologize for leaving you hanging. Turtle Week is not coming at you in real time--it actually happened a few weeks ago and I have had the story outlined, but not finished, until now. I give you the final installment of Turtle Week at Camp Amy...

Turtle Week at Camp Amy Part III: Franklin's Legacy

(If you haven't already done so, first read Turtle Week Parts I and II.)

The morning after Franklin left camp we went to the library in search of turtle knowledge. While Ella looked at a book about Carnival Celebrations in Brazil and Addison rid the lower shelves of reading material, I scanned the animal area of the children's department for books about turtles. I found books entitled (and these are the real titles-the selection was so ridiculous that I wrote them down) Crows, Musk Oxen, Beavers, Rascal, Crafty Canines, Venus Fly Trap, Animal Sharp Shooters, Luna Moth, Termites, Eels, The Life and Times of Ants, Electric Fish, The Adventures of Shark Lady, and Parkinson's Disease, but not a single one about turtles. Sure, this was just a regional branch and not the main library, but come on! I expected El to be disappointed when I told her there weren't any turtle books at the library. And she was... for a second. Then her eyes lit up again. "I have the goodest idea of what we can do, Mommy! We can get a book that a turtle would like and put it out in the yard and maybe Franklin and his family will come read it and then we will see him and his family!" So we had to check a book about a beetle out for Franklin. And his family.

Later that day a skid steer loader came plowing through our back yard and demolished all rational hope of finding Franklin (and his family) in a magical corner somewhere. Now that the entire yard had been dug up, I thought the oldest would accept that her turtle had gone off to other lands, be they celestial or, hopefully, on the other side of the fence. But no. "Do you think Franklin liked that tractor or did it scare him and his family?" "I don't think he was in the back yard when the tractor came through, Buddy. I think his family lives somewhere else and he went to go see them," I told her. She followed up with, "Do you think he will come read his book soon? We should put it out there in the dirt for him! And his family!"

The next day we went to the pet store to look at the turtles. Ella talked about it the whole way there. "Maybe Franklin will be there at the pet store!" Noooo, I told her, Franklin was outside somewhere. "Then maybe it will be Franklin's family at the pet store! We never saw them before!" I can't blame her for not giving up on her dream of reconnecting with Franklin and his family--After all, I hadn't given up on Turtle Week even though we hadn't had a turtle since Tuesday. After a quick layover in kitten and then bird land, we made a beeline for the reptiles and amphibians section. The first terrarium in which I thought I remembered there being turtles housed a snake. The next one was full of scorpions. I picked El up to look in the top row. No dice, just more snakes. Maybe I was in the wrong aisle. In the next aisle we found lizards, iguanas, spiders, hermit crabs and crickets, but no turtles. Addison kept looking in the terrariums at her eye level, saying "ttttttt" and shrugging her shoulders at me in a where-the-heck-are-the-turtles-you-promised sort of way. "Hold on, buddy, we'll find them," I promised her, then hunted down a salesperson. I explained to the salesperson that I couldn't find the turtles and asked if I had just missed them somewhere. "It's illegal to sell turtles in the state of North Carolina," she replied, "So you won't find them here or in any pet store." Damn you, turtle gods! It was time to finally admit defeat. The dream was over, for me at least. Turtle coloring sheets, turtle books, turtle crafts, turtle math, turtle knowledge in general--none of it was meant to be.

We have a shoe cleaner on our porch that looks like a turtle. It's covered in really tough long bristles. When Addison went outside after her nap she laid her head down on that thorny turtle and gave it a hug.

That was Thursday. On Friday the new grass came. Ella waited until the day was almost through to tell me she sure missed Franklin and hoped he and his family would come visit soon. I told her we might find another turtle some day. She told me she hoped it would be Franklin. And his family.

It's the end of the week, and as I sit here and look out at my beautifully sodded back yard I can't help but think about Franklin. I'm almost certain he escaped in time, but if he didn't he is making great fertilizer--maybe Franklin didn't bring us summer learning, but he sure did leave a legacy of a great lawn behind.

Franklin, where are you?

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  1. Too bad for Franklin but your yard is beautiful!!!

  2. Christine JohnsonJune 27, 2008 at 8:53 AM

    Sounds like your children need a pet? Do you have a cat or a fish or something? You can always plan for Open House at the NCSU Vet school, first weekend of April.