World Turtle Day 2012

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Ahh, turtles. And tortoises. Chilled out caravaners of the reptile kingdom. I’m glad you get a day to yourselves.

As a child, I had a pet tortoise. His name was Tommy, and while I was young I can still remember him slowly wandering around the garden and eating lettuce. After all, that’s what tortoises do.

Well, that and hibernate.

It was during his hibernation one year that Tommy… Disappeared. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but I recall being told that it was time for him to wake up, going out to his makeshift home, looking inside and…

He was gone. And I was shocked and sad but it didn’t make any difference, he had disappeared without a trace.

Mom and Dad came to the conclusion that he’d woken up early and simply wandered off. I don’t think that’s what happened, but nearly thirty years later they’ve stuck to that story, so I’ll believe them, or at least believe that’s what they believed.

There’s a part of me that wants to accept this story, and hold on to the idea that Tommy is out there somewhere, slowly exploring the world and munching lettuce. It’s a nice thought.

As an adult, I’m not so sure. I suspect theft – apparently there was demand for black market tortoises. I can’t prove this, of course, but I like to believe he was happy in his new home, and that he got over the emotional trauma incurred by his unscrupulous kidnapper being banged up for a string of unrelated but serious offences. After all, a man capable of stealing a tortoise is capable of anything.

I appreciate that I’ll never know the full story. But I just wanted to tell it, because today is World Turtle Day.

Vaya con Dios, Tommy.

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