When I woke up this morning, the weather was nasty. The temperature had already reached 80 degrees and the rain had filled the air with with moisture. I took a deep breath and it felt like I was drinking water from a glass. After letting the cat out, I headed to the kitchen to make some coffee and put together some toast. This was part of my morning routine and my body could go through the motion on its own, while my brain wandered. The hot and humid weather reminded me of another time right after I got home from the war.
The summer of 1947 was a terribly hot summer and everyday that it would rain, the humidity would come out fighting just like it had this morning. If I remember right, it was a Saturday morning and I had nothing planned. I decided to head on down to the pond with my fishing pole. I didn't really care if I caught anything, the idea was to sit on the edge of the pond and dangle my feet in the cool water while I enjoyed the shade. So, I got my pole and tackle together and headed for the watering spot out near Stanton's Farm Road.
It wasn't long before I was settled in, watching my bobber floating on the still water. Soon, I caught sight of a turtle on a log. From where I sat, he looked like he was stuck in mid air. His feet were flying but he wasn't going anywhere. He looked likable enough, so I offered to lend him a hand.
"Mr. Turtle, can I offer you a hand into the water?" To my complete surprise, the turtle answered me back!
"No thank you" said the turtle, "that will not be necessary." Holy cow, a talking turtle!
"You can talk!"
"Yes, I can speak he said" between gulps of air. All the time, his legs never stopped. They just spun and spun like a whirligig. "It is a curse."
"A curse? It seems like a blessing to me, Mr. Turtle." By now, I had put my pole down, I wasn't interested in fishing anymore. "Why would it be a curse?"
"Well, now that I can speak, my big mouth keeps getting me into the worst of trouble. I just bet the catfish that I could cross the pond to the other side."
That threw me for a loop. Of course he could cross the pond, he was a turtle after all.
"Mr. turtle, that seems like a sucker's bet to me, of course you can cross the pond, you are a turtle."
"Oh no" said the turtle. "And call me Ted"
"Ok Ted, it is. And what seems to be the problem, you will surely win that bet."
Ted just turned his head and looked at me with a worried expression. "I can't swim and the catfish knows it!" His legs were still turning as fast as he could make them go. "But I got a plan!"
With that, Ted rocked his way off the log and into the water. I gasped, he could drown! But it wasn't to be. Ted's legs were spinning so fast that as he hit the glassy water, he shot across the surface like a skipping stone. Ted skipped eleventy seven times, enough to land him into the cat tails on the opposite side of the pond. I had never seen anything like it in my entire life!
I stood up to see if I could see Ted on the other side but, I couldn't spot anything other than some movement in the tall plants. I was a little disappointed. I wanted to congratulate Ted on winning the bet.
Unfortunately, I never saw Ted again. I just suppose that is the way it should be. Still, I give a chuckle when I think about Ted flying across the pond. Sometimes, I just bust out laughing to myself. When that happens, my wife looks at me like I have lost my mind. She doesn't know about Ted and his bouncing flight across the pond. She has no idea that what really makes me bust out loud is that, though I never found Ted again, I did see the look on the catfish's face when Ted skipped over his head and won the bet.