Once upon a time, just the other day, there lived a family of five just down the street. Some days Momma stayed home, and some days Daddy stayed home. Every day Ava Anne, Savannah Lynn, and Hunter Thomas stayed home. Nothing extravagant ever seemed to happen. In fact, every day seemed almost the same as the day before. When Ava Anne, Savannah Lynn and Hunter Thomas awoke, they would tip-toe out of their bedrooms, down the hall, and to the kitchen. Momma or Daddy would be there or on the nearby couch, reading or eating or doing something uninteresting like sorting mail.
On this particular day, Savannah Lynn and Ava Anne had been awake for hours. They were playing outside in the warm, sunny day. They were swinging and running and playing all kinds of games in the yard.
As they were playing Tag Ava Anne tagged Savannah Lynn.
“You’re it!” She said with a gasp for air.
Ava Anne ran fast away from Savannah Lynn. She sprinted across the yard toward a large tree. Suddenly, mid chase, Ava Anne stopped. Savannah Lynn ran straight into her.
“You’re it!” She screamed.
“Look!” Ava Anne said, “It’s a turtle!”
Just a few feet away from where they were running there was a very large turtle. In fact, it was the largest turtle Ava Anne and Savannah Lynn had seen, except the old one at the zoo.
“Let’s keep him in the little pool!” Savannah Lynn suggested.
Ava Anne thought about it for a moment. She thought he might get out of the little pool. His shell was about as tall as the top of the pool.
“Well, we could put the pool in the garage and keep him in there,” Ava Anne finally said. “Let’s get it out of the barn and put some water in it.”
In no time at all Ava Anne and Savannah Lynn had found the kiddy pool, dragged it to the garage, and filled it with an inch or two of water.
“Now, how do we get the turtle in the pool?” Ava Anne asked. “I don’t think I can carry him.”
“Maybe we both can carry him,” Savannah Lynn said.
“Ok, let’s try it. You take that side of the shell and I’ll take this side.”
The girls were a little scared the turtle might be a snapping turtle, but they really wanted to keep him. Ava Anne knocked on his shell, and the turtle pulled his head inside. So, one on each side, they lifted him and slowly, slowly walked to the garage with the very large turtle between them.
“Put him down very gently,” Ava Anne instructed.
They had finally made it to the garage. They placed him very gently in the kiddy pool and watched. He did not do much. He moved his feet around a little and popped his head back out of his shell.
“Well, I guess we can just leave him here and check on him once in a while,” Ava Anne finally said.
“Yeah. I wish he could play with us,” said Savannah Lynn.
The girls continued playing outside, checking on the turtle every now and then. After dinner, Momma said they needed to say “good night” to the turtle and take a bath. They each patted him on the shell and said “good night.”
“See you in the morning,” Savannah Lynn said as she closed the garage door.
Next morning, Ava Anne awoke first. She rubbed her eyes and rolled over. Suddenly she remembered the turtle in the garage.
“Savannah Lynn!” Ava Anne exclaimed as she sat up. “The turtle!”
Savannah Lynn opened her eyes slowly. Then she remembered what Ava Anne was talking about. She sat up with a smile.
“Let’s go see him,” Savannah Lynn said.
The girls hopped out of their big bed, ran down the hall and toward the kitchen. Momma was on the nearby couch. She watched as they ran right past her and to the garage door. They flung open the door and ran over to the kiddy pool.
Savannah Lynn gasped. ”Oh, no!”
“He’s gone!” Ava Anne said.
Sure enough, their pet turtle had escaped. They were not sure how or where he had gone, but that very large turtle was nowhere to be found.
Momma came out of the house, walked over to the pool and looked puzzled.
“Maybe he just wanted to go home,” she suggested.
“But we were his new home,” Ava Anne said in a sad voice.
“Well,” said Momma, “Maybe he was hungry or he missed his family.”
Ava Anne and Savannah Lynn both sighed. They walked back into the house with their heads down.
“I guess we’ll have to find another pet today, Vannah,” Ava Anne said.
“Yeah,” replied Savannah Lynn. “Maybe today we can find an alligator! That would be way better than a turtle.”
“Yeah,” Ava Anne said, “an alligator.”