Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Short Narrative

I am not sure if there is 100% overlap in those who read my blog and those who read my husband's blog, but I don't think there is. And the way George told this story was very sweet, but definitely a man telling the story- and a tired, worn out, down on his luck man at that. Or maybe it's just that he doesn't have my dramatic flare, not that many do. In fifth grade when "dramatic" showed up as a vocabulary word and our teacher tried to explain it, she mentioned that some of us may know someone who was dramatic. Elaine Turk's hand went up in an instant (Elaine Turk was always the type of girl who wanted to answer the teacher first) and she got a big smile across her face and looked over at me and said "I know someone... Abby Hawkins!" My teacher thought it was very astute of Elaine- she clearly knew very well what the word meant. I still did not understand quite what it meant, but the laughter of my teacher and classmates assured me at least that whatever it was, I was it. 

So, let's put my dramatic tendencies to good use. 

Yesterday, George came home from work with more than his usual weighed down look. The way he has been walking around here for the past few months looks like he has been physically carrying a heavy burden on his shoulders. Of course, metaphorically speaking, he has. But he looks tired. His shoulders sag. His face looks like all the muscles took a nap. I mean, he's still wonderfully handsome. He's gotten the young JFK comment very recently (that's the celebrity people compare him to a lot- young JFK). But maybe now he looks more like tired JFK (in the black and white shot) than say, this other color picture. It totally looks like him, doesn't it? The picture here is too small, but this is it bigger; I used this one because it is really the one that really looks exactly like him. Here's another- is it George preaching? Nope, it's John F. Kennedy delivering a speech! I never noticed until people started telling him. And too bad I don't look like Jackie O! Anyway, tired JFK George came home yesterday and laid his head on my shoulder. Then he stood up and said, almost whimpering (and George doesn't whimper), "something just happened to me that is a metaphor for my life." Of course, I asked him if a bird pooped on him, because that sounds about right. Nope. Worse. 

He was driving home yesterday from working 50 miles away and errands to south and west on top of that which added 50 more miles and lots of hassle to his day. You know those types of errands. Anyway, when he was almost home he saw a turtle in the road and thought what nice big turtle it was and how someone really should get it out of the road so it didn't get run over and how the children really would enjoy seeing that nice big turtle and how it sure would put a nicer twist on his otherwise super crummy day to rescue the turtle and bring it home. So he turned around and went back for the turtle. He put his hazard lights on and stopped to get it. He had to be careful of the oncoming traffic for the turtle was smack in the middle of the road. And when he finally got the chance to open the door and get the turtle, the turtle went under the car. At this point, traffic was coming up behind him at 50 miles an hour and he felt that he really must get out of the way lest he cause an accident. And so, he was forced to get back in the car and drive, hoping very much that the turtle would not be run over and would indeed make it to the other side of the road. But when he began to move forward, he heard "an awful crumple, crunch, popping noise." The very turtle he was trying to save from peril, the turtle he wanted to bring home to surprise and delight his children with, was now squashed by his hand. Wheels? Anyway, it's not funny, I don't suppose. It is one of those tragedies you sort of have to laugh at because of the horrible irony. 

But I didn't laugh yesterday. I felt so bad for George- and for the turtle. I had errands I had to get done so once the kids were in bed, I left George at home with his nasty frozen pizza (a special treat for him that disgusts me- it's like how some women probably feel about their husbands smoking), beer, Fantasy Baseball, and a quiet house in hopes that he would feel better upon my return. I was down our very long driveway and fixing to pull out onto the highway when I noticed a turtle in the road! Y'all, in the eight months we have lived here, I have never seen a turtle. And in the same day as George had a turtle tragedy, I found another turtle very close to its own tragedy. I parked in the driveway (which is more of a street at that point) and ran out into the highway (looking both ways first, of course), took a deep breath, and picked up the turtle. I picked up a turtle! I mean, maybe you are all seasoned turtle picker uppers, but I had never picked up a turtle. And I would be fine, glad really, to go to my grave never having picked one up. Only the love for my husband...and the fact that it did have a hard outer shell that doesn't move... and the knowledge that it would probably go into its shell when I picked it up... could have prompted me to run out into a highway with a 55 mile an hour speed limit and pick up a reptile. It made sort of a slurp noise when it went back into its shell, but I did not even drop it. For love of my husband, I clung to the slurpy, germy thing and actually set it down on the passenger's seat, usually my seat. 

But the drive up to the house immediately following my acquisition of the turtle was the most gleeful ride! I was so happy that I found just the thing to cheer George up. It was perfect, and so providential. It was a chance to redeem the metaphor, to turn the day around. And let me tell you, that is exactly what I have been praying for lately- good news. Good news for anyone anywhere, just a chance to see God's goodness in the world that seems increasingly harsh. I call it feeling a little Psalm 44ish. Anyway, George was pretty surprised when he saw me walk in the door, less than five minutes after I had left, with a turtle in hand. He took it upstairs to show the kids, who were already all tucked in, and when I returned from my errands, I discovered that the turtle was lodging in the basement for the evening. He is still there today, and the children have been enthusiastically checking in on him and taking him lettuce leaves (which he is not eating) all day. Every now and then one of them runs up to me in the kitchen to tell me "he's walking!" A turtle walking- it actually is sort of exciting. It's not something you see every day. 

Now we just have to think of a name for him. I suggested T. Rex. T. Rex the turtle- it has a nice ring to it. Amabel and August generously suggested "Sezzy," Elspeth's name of choice for anything from dogs to bugs to baby dolls. If you ask her what she wants to name something, she will say "Sezzy." I thought it was sweet of them to think of her wishes. The whole episode is rather sweet, really. It started out with such an ugly, unfortunate accident, and ended with a surprise opportunity, another chance at rescuing a turtle- a redo, if you will. (Not for the dead turtle though.) And if squashing the turtle you were trying to save and bring home to your family for their enjoyment is a metaphor for George's life, we can only hope that me rescuing another one to bring back to him is part of a bigger metaphor. Not sure how, but it is better than just "my life is like accidentally slaying a turtle that I was attempting to save" don't you think? 


Wright Family said...

oh, abby, i loved this! our computer was totally crashed so we had to buy a new one. now i am catching up on the blog world and my zillions of e-mails:) i loved your post about all the fun things to do in st. louis and i love your turtle post. praying for you guys every day.

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading George's post and now yours. We rescued a turtle from certain death when we lived in Texas. I have also seen turtles trying to cross some very busy roads lately. I don't stop for squirrels but I do for turtles and geese. But isn't just like God to let you know He is still there as you all wait. Joanie

jennifer h said...

Hurray for Sezzy. I hope the kids get some enjoyment from him and it keeps George's chin up for a good while. :)

Jessie said...

I love the second installation to the story!

annie said...

I love this story. We are a turtle-loving family, too. (We actually have 2 new little red-eared sliders. They are slightly bigger than silver dollars -- cute!) When we had terrapins we caught worms for them. Maybe yours would like that?

Fittsy said...

This is a sweet story, and I'm glad that you included it here.


RHB said...

like your turtle redemption story!

Katherine said...

i have been in my own, long world lately & looked up your blog again today. i just wanted to let you know what a beautiful picture of both you & george's accounts are of your marriage. God has so well placed you together, and i love how you are leaning on each other during this very long season.
i will continue to pray for your family! God is good!

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