“Grampi! Stop the car!”
“What?” Grampi replied as he looked around and started slowing down.
“There’s a turtle in the road…stop the car now!” Samantha screamed. Grampi dutifully pulled the car to the side of the road. They had already gone way past the turtle, but Grampi knew from experience that Samantha would not calm down until they had rescued it. Samantha was eight years old and loved animals more than anything else in the world. Especially animals that needed her help.
After putting on his emergency lights, Grampi said, “You guys stay in the car, I’ll take care of the turtle.” Gran, Samantha and her little sister Sophie turned around in their seats to be able to watch and make sure Grampi executed the rescue mission successfully. Samantha and Sophie gasped as another car passed. It came just inches away from turning the turtle into a turtle pancake. As soon as the road was clear, Grampi ran out and grabbed the turtle out of harm’s way. At first Samantha was upset because she thought Grampi was going to put it down on the wrong side of the road. She learned last summer that if you get a turtle out of the road, you should always put it down on the side it was walking toward. Otherwise, the poor thing just has to start over and would go right back into the road again. Grampi was bringing it in the wrong direction!
Before Samantha could object, she heard Gran call out to Grampi, “Oh no you don’t! Don’t bring that thing is this car, it’ll hurt the children, it’ll bite us!” Gran was almost to tears and Sophie was giggling as Sam realized that Grampi wasn’t putting the turtle down at all. He was bringing it back to the car. A wide grin broke out on Sam’s face. She hadn’t been very excited about going to the store, but finding a turtle on the way home and getting to keep it made the trip worth it.
“NO NO Nooooooooo!” wailed Gran. Samantha could see that Gran was scared so she tried to calm her down. “Gran it’s OK. It’s just a box turtle. Mom lets us play with the ones at the nature preserve all the time.” Gran was not soothed. She was terrified of all reptiles, whether it was a snake, lizard, or even a turtle. If it was a reptile, Gran didn’t like it. Samantha’s mom called it a phobia.
Gran had been rummaging around her seat and triumphantly held up a plastic bag. “If you are going to bring that thing into this car, it goes in the bag.” she declared. Grampi looked at it skeptically, shrugged his shoulders, and obliged. He carefully lowered the turtle into the bag and started to hand the bag back to the children.
“No you don’t.” said Gran, “You think it’s a nice turtle, but we’ll ask their Mom before they can touch it. It could have a disease, or be a different kind than the ones at the preserve. Put it on the floorboard.” She pointed to the floorboard at her feet. She was worried enough that she wasn’t letting it near her grandchildren. This made for an interesting ride home because the turtle was scared of the bag and clawing to get out. Gran was scared of the turtle and screamed every time it moved. Luckily, home wasn’t very far away.
Samantha’s mom was a zoologist, which means a grown-up who still likes playing with animals. She knew cool stuff about all sorts of animals. Samantha knew as soon as her mom gave the OK, she’d be allowed to play with the new-found turtle. Samantha also knew that it was, in fact, a box turtle. She could have told Gran the scientific name, Terrapene carolina, and whether or not it was male or female. Animals were her thing too, and she had learned a lot from her mom. Sam sighed. Why don’t adults ever believe that children know anything?
She was broken out of her thoughts when the car turned into the driveway and came to a stop. Sophie was already out of her booster seat and opening the car door before Samantha could even unbuckle her own seat belt. Sophie was always trying to outdo Samantha. Sam picked up the speed and raced her little sister to be the first to tell their mom. “Grampi got us a turtle!” they both yelled at once. They were in the middle of telling their mom all about the heroic rescue and how funny Gran’s screaming was when Grampi walked in with the turtle.
“We found him in the middle of town. There wasn’t a safe place to put him so we brought him home. I figured you would know what to do with him.” Grampi grinned. Samantha knew he was having fun with this too.
Title: Samantha Loses the Box Turtle
Author: Daisy Griffin
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services