Turtle demo at Canyon of the Eagles (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

This turtle was part of a demonstration about local reptiles at Canyon of the Eagles, a rustic resort on Lake Buchanan in the Texas Hill Country.

We were there to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday, which included me setting aside my dislike of the kitchen earlier that day, and baking him a from-scratch Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake complete with a Longhorn motif made from pecans.

My daughter and son both thought that aliens had invaded my head – they’ve never seen me cook much, but I used to love baking and decided I’d tackle a layer cake for Dad because, really, how often does someone turn 80?

Anyway, the turtle….a Canyon of the Eagles staff member who loves reptilian critters brought her own menagerie to do a presentation called “Shake, Rattle and Coil” for about 35 assembled guests. All of the wildlife was representative of that found in the local area, including some pretty lively and harmless snakes, but I was struck by how the assembled kids and families reacted to the turtles.

Big deal, right? Turtles.

I had a turtle named Ralph in first grade – his shell got all mossy and icky so one day I scrubbed it with household cleaner, which led to his unfortunate demise.

A couple of the presentation turtles were pretty big, though, and they set off wandering among the chairs of those gathered around to get a close look at the various creatures.

The kids loved them, the adults laughed, one lady with beautifully manicured toes shrieked in mock horror and lifted her feet as the turtle crawled by….it was a fun moment of appreciation for something that wasn’t terribly exotic or colorful, but was worthy of appreciation as a “local.”

Sometimes we need reminders to recognize and salute Nature’s plodding workhorses, rather than her more outlandish and preening creations.

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I'm a writer and speaker specializing in tourism, travel and social media. NHRA drag racing fan. Co-founder of Tourism Currents. U.S. Navy veteran. Caffeinated.