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  • Writer's pictureLeanne W. Smith

It started with the turtle 

Blogging about unexpected roads traveled.

Seeking to keep my chin up, and to help lift yours.

To fully appreciate my punchline later, you need to know it started with the turtle.

That morning, as Stan and I were still stumbling from the kitchen to the easy chairs with our coffee, he pointed out the front window. “Look! A turtle.”

Sure enough, a small terrapin was inching across our driveway. He had made little progress by the time Stan had his running clothes on and opened the front door. Stan, giving me a peek at the kid who once sheltered a baby skunk in his closet he loved critters so much, spoke kindly to the turtle on his way past, letting him know he was welcome on our driveway any time. “Take off your outer shell and stay a while. We like turtles around here.”

I stood at the front door watching Stan run up the hill, and Michelle come driving down our driveway in her big yellow laundry van. “Look at your turtle,” she said, holding our freshly pressed clothes out, passing them over gingerly, social distancing and all. I couldn’t help but notice she said “your” turtle. Yes, he was ours. By the time Stan was home and I had my own walking clothes on and did my pass by the turtle—who had still made little progress—I was thinking of a suitable name and wondering if he would like some lettuce.

But tragically, when I got back home two miles later, Zippy was gone. I texted Stan, already showered and out the door to work. Sad and accusatory language and visuals were used.

“By the time I left for work he was gone.”

Gone? Our Zippy? He must have really turned it on in that thirty-minute window.

That night, as Stan and I were back in the easy chairs talking about our respective days, we marveled once again at how our sluggish pet had vanished so completely and in so short a time. “What if he was turtle-napped?”

We talked of putting out a neighborhood sign: “Lost turtle. Moves slow. Might or might not answer to the name ‘Zippy.’ Return him quickly and we won’t press charges.”

Then Stan told me a joke he read once. “Lost dog. Missing tail. Three-legged. Blind in one eye. Answers to the name ‘Lucky.’”

All jokes aside...

What does it say about a woman so feeling the effects of isolation that she's willing to adopt the first turtle that comes her way? How quickly I got attached to the little tyke. But it sure did lead to a good laugh at the end of another day of sameness.

Speaking of sameness, I recently rewatched my own video. (Perhaps I was even missing myself.) If you've never seen me talking about my first book, Leaving Independence, you can view it here, where I mention how writing is necessary to my survival. Words have the power to lighten my heart.

You know what else feels good? Besides writing and laughing? Music! Cleverness! Entertainment! Which is why I recommend the following two musical variety shows currently available on computers and phones everywhere.


TOKENS launched a new podcast last week. What is TOKENS? The answer is here. Lee Camp, founder, describes this show that harkens back to an old-time radio broadcast as "a variety show about things that matter." The first three episodes on the new podcast include a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, a former Tennessee governor, and a former US Poet Laureate. If you enjoy the podcast, give it a 5-star review:

The Arcadian Wild

It's no secret The Arcadian Wild is my all-time favorite band. Yes, my son-in-law is the mandolin player, but even if he wasn't this alternative folk band is still fantastic. Two weeks ago TAW started a Thursday night livestream ($5 for a group of 1-3). It's quickly becoming a bright spot on Thursday nights for viewers nationwide. Check out a sampling of TAW's music here, and get your tickets by following the prompts on their homepage:

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