Another Friday! Can ya stand it? O Mighty iPod, deliverer of rhythms, recycler of the past, what does my weekend hold in store?
Day of the Eagle by Robin Trower
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers by ZZ Top
Waitin’ for the Miracle by Leonard Cohen
Just a Song Before I Go by Crosby Stills Nash & Young
Nausea by Beck
Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash
Substitute by The Who
Black Thumbnail by Kings of Leon
The Mighty iPod seems to have hit some sort of time-warp-style pocket here, for the most part. Also it seems to have developed an existential problem, what with all the waitin’, comin’, and goin’…
At any rate, there’s no need to bicker and argue over what it all means. We did that throughout the work week, didn’t we? Shall we just proceed to the weekend?
But first! A story.
When The Boy and I were young, we were quite poor. There was a time, when I was 26 and he was four that we could no longer afford meat. We grew our own vegetables that summer, and we ate a lot of oatmeal. The Boy became very good at picking green beans, tomatoes and onions; and I often had my oatmeal without milk so that he could have mine.
It was at this time that I grew to understand the origin of the term “salad days”.
I had finished school and picked him up from daycare one summer day when I saw something very large in the road. It was a four-lane paved road in Wisconsin – two lanes in each direction – and I was shocked to see the largest snapping turtle I’d ever seen – to this day! – in the middle of it. That turtle's shell must’ve been two, maybe three feet across.
I pulled over and turned to Dylan, who was belted in next to me.
“You stay here. That turtle’s got three lanes to cross and I’m going to help him.”
I slammed the door.
I ran out to the turtle. There was a lull in the rural traffic, and I stood next to him.
“Hey, Turtle. What’s up?”
The turtle turned, his oddly bird-like face looked up at me. It was then that I remembered that a good-sized turtle like this could take a finger off.
“You stay here.”
I ran off to the side of the road. I’d find a large stick, push it toward him, he’d chomp down, and I’d pull him off the road with it. Voila! Turtle is moved off the road safely, Boy learns how it’s done, I can safely dream of migrating turtles.
That was the plan.
I found a good thick stick, a perfect turtle-baiting stick. I turned to see cars coming.
The first one went by. The second one saw the turtle and swerved – unnecessarily. The third car, freaked out by the second one’s swerving, swerved, too; and the fourth car?
The fourth car struck the turtle.
There was a loud, exploding CRACK followed by loud, explosive screaming.
The crack was the turtle’s shell.
The screaming was me.
I ran into the road, tears running down my face.
“Oh, God. Oh, Turtle. Bite this. Bite this!!!” I pushed the stick at the turtle, who snapped weakly at it – and laid his head on the tarmac.
Another cry escaped me as I threw the stick in the ditch, grabbed the turtle by its shell and dragged him off the road and into the cool grass of the ditch. He must’ve weighed 30, maybe 35 pounds…
He didn’t open his eyes.
When I straightened up, I could see that Dylan had removed his seat belt and was standing on the front seat, watching me. I stood across the road from him, waiting for the traffic to go by, sobbing. I saw his lips move: Mommy.
“I’m a coward,” I said, climbing into the car. Dylan put his arms around me and pushed his little face into my neck and I cried harder. “I’m a coward, Dylan. I went out to save him and I didn’t do it fast enough and now he’s dead.”
Dylan rubbed my back and made “shhh shhh shhh” noises in my ear. I had stopped crying and was hiccupping when I put his seat belt back on him and we pulled the car back onto the road.
It was quiet.
“You sure he’s dead?”
He was quiet, and I could see him weighing his words.
“Maybe we could eat him, huh?”
The thought of cracking open that enormous shell was too much for me, but to this day, I admire The Boy’s practicality.
Have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be here Saturday and Sunday, if you’ve nothing else to do…
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