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A snapper saved

 

D. J. Sweetenham

Guest Columnist

  One morning last week, I was taking Sammy and Dee for their morning drive and instead of going out of our driveway and turning left, for some reason I decided to turn right. This took us down to the northern end of the lake. As we approached the bend in the road around the lake's end, I noticed something in the center of the blacktop which, from a short distance, looked like a crumpled up black garbage bag. One of my pet peeves (and I have several!) is garbage, which has not been placed where it belongs, i.e. in a garbage container.

  Anyway, I slowed down with the intention of picking it up and disposing of it when we returned to the house. Pulling up alongside the object, I opened the car door and stepped over a really unpleasant looking snapping turtle. I had never seen one up close before, so this was a real find for me. There were no other cars around, so I figured I would take my time and examine it for a few minutes. I carefully picked the turtle up and was surprised at how heavy it was. The carapace, just a fancy word for “shell,” was all black with hard ridges and looked like some weird kind of sci-fi battle tank.

  I turned it over to get a better look at the occupant, who really didn't appreciate having his sunbathing session disturbed, and he let me know it by trying his best to snap my fingers holding his shell. I was holding him with my fingers well back on the sides so he couldn't reach me with that ugly beak, but that just put my fingers in range of his back feet which were well armed with a set of toenails like teeth on a back-hoe! With my curiosity satisfied, if not fully, I held onto that snapping and thrashing monster as I danced around the back of the car with him fighting like a demon all the way and placed him, not too gently, on the lake side of the road, where he could easily get down into the water. 

  Before I released him, he expressed his “thanks” by squirting water, at least I was hoping it was just water, all over the front of my jeans. There were no other people around to witness this en-counter, but my kids, Sammy and Dee, were barking their heads off in the car, thoroughly enjoying the spectacle of their dad hopping around the car, holding onto but trying to stay away from a very angry snapping turtle. My only consolation was the thought that at least he didn't get run over by a car or truck. Not that time, anyway.

  We continued our ride with both of my kids giving me a good “sniffing.” Sammy decided not to climb up around my neck where he usually likes to ride. As we approached the exit from the Swan Lake subdivision onto Swan Lake Road, I noticed something laying in the ditch, right at the junction. I had to stop at the stop sign, and I looked over into the ditch where a beautiful, adult female deer lay, dead. I couldn't see any signs in the grass verge where a body might have been dragged and dumped in the ditch. I could only assume that someone had been going too fast through the stop sign and hit the animal as it was crossing the road. Just because a driver was in too much of a hurry to get home that night, an innocent creature lost its life. The body stayed there for several days before it was removed; perhaps as  a notice to drive no faster than your guardian angel can fly!

  D.J. Sweetenham, originally from England, is the author of Bumps in the Road and Bumps in the Road - Part Two, highlights of his interesting and far-flung life. D.J., his wife, and two small dogs live in Stockbridge.

 

 

 

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