Did you get your shopping done and your cards ordered in time?  It's National Turtle Day!

The idea makes me think back to a little buddy I had one time I called 'Pokey.'

Maybe the statute of limitations is over by now, since Pokey was named for the lake we were camping at when he crawled into my like.  Lake Pokegama was the name of the lake, but memory doesn't include where it was, and according to the state Department of Natural Resources website there are four of them.

Just as I was walking from the cabin to the lake shore to skip stones or something I noticed a small creature on the forest floor.  Maybe the size of my 10 year old palm, it was moving at a slow pace and had a tough shell with points coming out of it.  How cool was this!  Pokey came home from vacation to the southern tropics of Janesville.

I only made the mistake once on the ride home from the Lake, putting my finger down toward the turtle and this little thing opened it's small, but tooth filled mouth and bit me.  OUCH!  I don't think I cried or yelled too much, but it hurt... call that a lesson learned.

Lakes were no where close to our home, but I did the best I could providing water and sand as well as the most appropriate food we could find.  Dad helped in this venture, Mom basically didn't make me throw Pokey outside which was very cool on her part.  Pokey lasted only a couple of months.  I buried him back in the part of our property we called 'the woods.'

You know, snapping turtles can live a long time, so I suppose had I left the turtle alone as I should have - he might be feasting on Bluegills and small Walleye to this day and ruling the roost.  If you've never seen an adult snapper - they are huge and can tear through a lot of fish.  I'd like to think an older version of me would have just watched him move along the needles and let him stay free.

So, in the name of Pokey, here's to turtles everywhere on their day - the one day they can really come out of their shell!

Come on now, you knew I needed to get that pun in here somewhere!