Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eulogy for a Friend

Crush was a red-eared slider turtle, and a good friend. He was an old man. How old, I cannot say. I rescued him from a windowless elementary school classroom in Colorado where he lived in a small tank. Although it was not the best environment for him, he was obviously happy with the attentions he received from the children. Crush loved to talk to people and would often swim close when he heard human voices. He also preferred to be fed by hand and never once nipped my fingers. I did not teach him this; it was a skill he learned from the children at the school. They also, apparently, named him Fred, but I didn’t learn this until later. I named him Crush after a character in the movie Finding Nemo, but Fred seems more appropriate considering his age and personality.

I knew Crush was a male. I didn’t have to look it up in a book, but I eventually did. He looked like an older, wizened turtle. His shell was a little over 8 inches long. When we moved to Texas I dug out a pond for him in front of my bedroom window so I could listen for predators at night. He had many basking rocks and a terraced section so he could just sit in the water if he wanted. He also had an enclosed, dry land section, but he spent all of his free time sitting on the rocks, sunbathing. His pond had a very deep hole where he could hide if he felt threatened and it was covered by tree branches for extra protection. This was where he slept at night.

My favorite memories of Crush are when I sat beside his pond sipping my tea and he would swim up to the side and stretch his head out to look at me. He seemed to enjoy Texas so much more than Colorado because he spent more time outside. Of course, when there was a tornado warning I would move him inside to his "tornado shelter" fishtank, and that never made him happy!

Crush loved having people talk to him and he would swim nearby and stare up out of the water for as long as his company would stay. He swam near the top of his pond the day he died, and appeared to be fine. He climbed onto his rock and spent most of the day there. Later in the evening, when it was growing dark, I noticed that he was still sitting on his rock. I walked outside and called his name. His head was stretch out and he appeared to be watching the sunset. When I got close, I realized he had died.

Crush is buried near his rock with some food for his journey and a prayer. I will place a cross on his grave today. I can’t help but look for him on his rock whenever I walk by the pond. I have a feeling he’s still sitting there, basking in the sun. I miss him greatly. He was a wonderful friend.


Mary Cunningham said...

Oh, so sad! But, you must be comforted by the wonderful life you gave crush! He had to be one happy turtle.


Darla Sue Dollman said...

I do feel good about the life he had with me. I sometimes wonder about the many adventures he had before we met, but I know he had fun. He had an adventurous personality!