I’m a creature of habit, tending to do everything the same way without change.
I find it comforting, however, sometimes it pays to switch paths.
There I was crossing the Park, on my way west, when suddenly Bethesda Fountain came to mind. It’s a favorite landmark of mine, I rarely see, since it’s not on my normal route, adding 5 or so minutes to it.
I know, I know, are you that anal?
When I came to the Boathouse where I’d take a right in order to see the Angel of the Waters, the name of the angel who sits on top of the fountain, something pulled me there.
Unbeknownst to me, it was a huge turtle tooling in the grass barely noticed, like he was in camouflage like an amphibious, mini Marine.
I happen to be a big turtle fan, so to say I was charmed is an understatement.
I then see a school group coming over the hill so I, in my reptilian glory scream…
“Hey, looky here.”
They were no more than 12 as they clustered around me like the pubescent paparazzi, taking snapshots of our shelled pal who posed as if he knew, hey, this is my 5 minutes of fame.
I loved how he didn’t hide in his shell. It was as though he was hosting them like unexpected visitors in his backyard
Their teacher, a Mrs. Longstreet, no relation to the Civil War General (I asked), started a whole dialogue with these kids about the difference between a tortoise and a sea turtle that had me taking notes.
Tortoises are land creatures, only popping in water to drink or bathe. A sea turtle however spends all its time in water.
“What about Big Sam?” asked some kid in a Yosemite T-shirt.
“Who’s Big Sam?” I said, like I was one of them.
“He’s the school mascot. He lives in the Science lab,” snapped a sassy, redheaded girl, like I was supposed to know.
“Mrs. Longstreet said, “Sam is a box turtle, and even though he loves to swim, he’s still considered a turtle…kind of half and half. Also his shell is different, like this fellow’s who I’d say, is a tortoise maybe related to Sam.”
The kids all laughed since apparently Big Sam is one helluva turtle.
I was so enamored of this woman having the attention of these children, not to mention me hanging on to every word she said.
After feeling I may have over stayed my welcome, I took leave.
Suddenly, the redhead yelled out, “Thanks Ma’am. We’ll show Big Sam he has a cousin not too far away.”
And as I turned back around, 15 school kids were waving at me like old friends.