This caper starts with a catch and ends with a fumble, but everyone wins.

Saturday morning, we were just starting the day when Jamie glanced out the kitchen window. Look at that across the street, he said, practically leaping with excitement. There was a giant turtle booking it across our neighbors’ lawn. At first, I thought it was an armadillo! It was moving quite fast.

I phoned Jodene and said, “Look out your front window.”


We got dressed and went over to see him. He was big and reptilian. And dry. He was a long block away from the lake already and heading in the wrong direction. Jodene got the hose out and sprayed him down, which he seemed to like. He stretched his neck out and started moving toward the water.

By this time, the turtle had drawn quite the crowd. Big excitement for Beard Ave. N.

Someone called 911, and they dispatched an officer to help rescue the poor guy. The officer who responded, a young reservist, clearly wasn’t happy to have caught this call. He drove up with lots of confidence, but we all saw his expression change when he got a glimpse of the snapper. He got out and pulled on a pair of gloves. Did he think those would protect him? No, he said, they were just to give him confidence.

By this time, the turtle had decided that he didn’t like being the center of attention. He went over the foot-high retaining wall, landed face first on the driveway, shook it off and headed toward the safety of the van parked nearby. Bob got a wooden plank up to block his way.

The course of action was decided upon: Get the big guy on a snow shovel. Get him in the back of the police officer’s truck. Chauffeur him to the lake.


Bob got one shovel wedged under the turtle, and fearless science teacher Barb quickly pushed the other shovel under to scoop him up. Bob then ran him over to the truck, and the cop closed the doors. Steps one and two complete!

Not wanting to miss the most exciting part, (How the heck were they ever going to get him OUT?) Joseffa and I got on our bikes and headed for the lake.

Bob, still armed with the snow shovel, climbed right into the truck bed. Neighbor Greg, barefoot, followed. Meanwhile the officer kept warning, Be careful! They are faster than they look! Greg, apparently not as fearless as Bob, abandoned the truck bed just before Bob got the turtle back on the shovel. He backed out, with turtle in tow, and jogged toward the water.

Then came the fumble! The big guy fell tail over shell to the ground, bounced and flipped into the water. He sat for just a heartbeat before swimming off to the safety of a nearby log and weed bed. Clearly, he had had enough of these crazy people.

As the officer closed up his truck, Greg asked, “So, where’s our next call?”

Here’s the video: