Tale One: Driving along the curvy road from San Marcos to Wimberley, I stepped on the brakes as a young man was running down the side of the road toward me. I could see a car stopped ahead and another person emerging. Oh my, thought I, surely there’s not a wreck. As I got closer to the man, he bent over to exam something near the pavement – a great big turtle, lumbering toward the road. He quickly turned it around and got it back away from its impending doom. I chuckled and drove on thinking of other times I’ve seen people jump out of their cars to help turtles. I wondered if these folks would do the same for a person wandering on to the road.
Tale Two: My mother is a hummer. At times, this can be annoying since she hums almost all the time without realizing it. She can even hum while she eats. (I’m glad she hums in tune.) When I was at the nursing home the day of the turtle, Mother was humming that old hymn, Help Somebody Today. She stopped midhum and said, “I wonder why I keep humming this” and then she went right on.
Tale Three: The same day of the hummer and the turtle, I went to the grocery store, which is one of my least favorite chores. Grumpy and tired, I entered the baking isle, noting a young woman, studying the spices. She looked up and when I made eye contact, she asked if I knew which chili powder was the best. “You see,” she said, “I’m trying to make chili for the very first time and my husband doesn’t think I can do it.” I helped her pick out the chili powder and asked if she had a few other things. She took out her recipe and we went over it as I made suggestions and explained that the long green pepper she had couldn’t be substituted for a regular green pepper unless you broiled the skin off first. (She was sure she didn’t want to do that.) Finally, since she still looked worried, I gave her my business card and told her to call me if she got into trouble. She thanked me saying that her mother doesn’t cook.
Synopsis: At home, after the above three episodes, I realized how they all fit together and I felt good about the day. Mother is still teaching me; one turtle has been saved to race the hare another day, and a young wife, hopefully, has made chili. The message is clear, you never know when you will have a chance to save a turtle. I’m going to seize the opportunity no matter how small it seems.