Look, A Turtle

Look, A Turtle

A Story by busterlee

They came to visit.  I’ll say they were seven and nine years old.  I don’t remember. I have a picture of them in their matching muscle shirts and jeans, standing on each side of me in front of my Suzuki.  I remember the visit. I remember thinking that they were bored and needed entertaining so I took them for a ride in my B-210, the fish head, we all called it.  The fish head was named by an old girlfriend’s dad. He didn’t like me or my car. I didn’t care much for him either.

I didn’t have much money but I had a tank of gas and that little white bumble bee of a car could go a long ways on one full tank.  So we headed off down the gravel roads of Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. They were all covered in loose gravel and shaded by old growth forest.  I had found that particular road a few months earlier. It was a drive to take when you didn’t want to be at home or to be around anyone else.  It was a place that my two nephews might appreciate.

We stopped at the bat cave and read the do not disturb warning sign and peaked through the chain link fence.  I think Dustin, the oldest, mentioned vampires and we got a good laugh and a little bit of a chill in the thick growth of the forest.  Rocky’s freckled faced smile proved that he wasn’t really scared. I’m not sure if he was scared of anything. We jumped back into the fish head and left a cloud of dust between us and the bloodthirsty night dwellers.

I started moving the car from one side of the road to the other.  This amplified the sound of tires crunching dry loose gravel and left a pretty impressive cloud of dust in our wake.  The boys held a tight grip, one on the door handle, the other holding the console, as the car skidded down the road. I could tell the boys were impressed even though we were moving pretty slow.  

“Look, a turtle.”  I pointed to the edge of the road and gave the wheel a quick jerk.  The car slid sideways and came to a stop facing back the way we had come.  A cloud of tan colored dust swept over us. The boys laughed. I laughed. We got out and inspected the snapping turtle from a safe distance.

I straightened the car and we continued down the road to the Tennessee River where the whole shoreline was covered in mussel shells.  We skipped them across the water until we were tired and thirsty. We drove back home.

I enjoyed the time we spent together but I didn’t think much about it.  I figured it was just another ordinary day for them. I figured it was a day that they would soon forget.  It was simple, just time spent together by an uncle and two nephews. They went back home the next day and I went back to work.  

I forgot about the turtle but each time Dustin tells the story he mentions it.  Rocky remembers the fish head. They talk about that day like it was a big deal.  For some reason it seems to rate right up there with trips to Opryland. It was a couple of hours for me and a little bit of gas.  It was me giving attention to my nephews. It was them appreciating my effort. It was around thirty five years ago.

They call now.  They stop by on occasion.  We fish together. They don’t forget to include me in their lives.  They take time for their uncle. I appreciate them. I think about how there are no losers in the relationships I have with them.  Everyone wins. I hope they see it like that. I know I do. I always have. I think I always will.

Thanks boys.  Those few hours that I invested with you have paid back over and over and over again and I’m proud to be your uncle.  I’m proud to be your friend.

© 2018 busterlee

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Added on July 17, 2018
Last Updated on July 17, 2018
Tags: uncle, family, nephews, forest




I like to write. I don't know if my writing is worth reading but that doesn't seem to matter much. I think that I need to write and I know that I enjoy it. I believe that 90 percent of what we do i.. more..