Today I got an email from my sister-in-law, Nely. Attached were photographs of a giant turtle and the cryptic message, Sam thinks I am so mean.
I immediately telephoned and asked, ‘What is this? Did you make turtle soup today?’
Nely replied that she needed to start the story from the beginning, and so do I. Nely has two dogs and two cats, plus a senile mother, and a live in fiancée, Sam, to take care of. Shaggy, the poodle has diabetes, but as her Serbian veterinarian says, he’s not fat, he just has big bones.
Now, I’ve written about Sam before, but reader, I must share with you what a kind and delightful man he really is. A few months ago Nely told him, ‘Sam, I’m just not that happy any more.’ Sam was crushed by this and wanted to know what she meant. Nely replied, and gentleman readers take note, ‘You never hold my hand any more, or tell me that I’m pretty or bring me flowers.’
Sam silently ruminated on this all evening long. In the morning, Nely, hair in disarray, mascara raccooned around her eyes [ she was too tired to wash her face the night before], wearing a giant t-shirt that the cat managed to puke on during the night, staggered downstairs for a cup of coffee. Sam looking up from his paper, said with gusto, ‘Nely, you’re looking beautiful this morning.’ What can I say other than, you have to love him for trying!
A few days ago, Sam took Shaggy to the vet for a check-up. When Sam got back, he led Nely out to the patio, poured her a glass of wine and announced, ‘I have fantastic news!’
Nely asked, ‘Did we win the lottery?’
‘No, It’s better than that,’ Sam explained. ‘I got us a fantastic deal on two German Shepard puppies.’
Reader, I don’t know what the economy is like in your neck of the woods, but in Illinois you can’t give horses, dogs or cats away.
‘What is he thinking, Nely? You already have four animals,’ I say.
‘I don’t know, Lily, but he comes from a household with two mastiffs, an alligator, a snapping turtle, a huge lizard, a cat and two sons, so it must be too quiet for him here,’ Nely explains.
‘What did you say,’ I ask.
‘I started shouting, no, No, NO, so loudly the neighbors came out to see what was going on,’ she says.
Sam, needless to say, was devastated. For two days he pouted, nagged, said he would scoop all the poop and do all the dog walking. He even promised to eat all his vegetables.
The second evening, while the two of them were sitting out under the gazebo, he said, ‘I have an idea. We’ll just take the biggest one. She weighs four pounds more than the other puppies in the litter.’
Just as Nely was finished shouting, ‘The answer is still no!’ they both saw something coming down the street. At first they thought it was a raccoon, but as it got nearer, they realized it was a very large turtle.
‘That’s it,’ Sam yelled, throwing up his arms, ‘God heard me and sent a pet!’ He then ran out of the yard to take the turtle off the road.
‘You can’t keep that turtle, Sam,’ Nely warned him, ‘it’s got huge claws and jaws, what if it bites the cats?’
‘We’ll build a fence around the pond,’ Sam promised, ‘I’ll keep him in the garage in winter.’
The answer was still no, and Sam was bitterly disappointed, though Nely did agree to take the turtle off the streets and keep it while she asked the kids in the neighborhood if anyone they knew had lost it. When nobody claimed it, she called Animal Rescue which sent over a woman with a cooler.
‘Oh, you’ll need a bigger container than that,’ Nely told the woman.
‘How big was that turtle?’ I ask.
‘Bigger than my feet, Nely explains.
‘That’s not so big, ‘ I say.
‘Twelve and a half inches. I measured,’ Nely says, referring to her feet.
By now I am howling with laughter. Well reader, the turtle turned out to be an endangered species, about thirty to forty years old, male and apparently can walk up to two miles a day which according to my calculations considering its puny stride, would be equal to thirty-six miles for the average human, not to mention the fact that it’s carrying its house on its back. In any case, the turtle was removed to an appropriate habitat, and Sam is still whining about the puppies.