En-Uk's Testudinal Email
On Wednesday, I saw my wife and two kids off to the airport for their trip to my hometown of Salem, Arkansas. They arrived safely in the Ozarks and have big plans, especially my ten-year-old En-Uk, who emailed to say:
Dear Daddy,Well . . . his correspondence is nothing if not concise, so I'll have to draw as much from it as I can interpret. No "love," I see, so I'll assume that it's just understood to be there, so taken-for-granted that it need not be mentioned. I'm not sure what he meant by his less-than-concise "tooday" . . . possibly influenced by the extra-long Wednesday of the flight across time zones? Or did he expect to do too much on one day? Yet, he seems to have wanted only to catch a single turtle.
I will catch a turtle tooday.
Actually, that's a big thing for him, and he's been talking about this for more than the past two weeks! Every day for about two weeks before leaving, he kept asking about the various turtles and tortoises in Arkansas. We've talked about the box tortoise, the soft-shelled turtle, the snapping turtle, and the painted turtle. Rather, En-Uk talked. Incessently. Particularly about the painted turtle, which I told him could be found in the South Fork River, a small river that flows through my hometown. Anyway, I answered his email with a slightly less concise one of my own:
Dear En-Uk,He's not likely to catch an alligator since they don't range that far up into Arkansas, and nobody will ever catch a 'bolagator', a mythical critter that's half alligator, half log. My cousins from South Carolina used to talk about bolagators, claiming that these critters lie quietly floating just at the water's surface, looking exactly like a log . . . until you get too close, and too late realize that it ain't no log. But he will need to watch out for poisonous aquatic snakes . . . such as the cottonmouth.
Good luck with your efforts to catch a turtle. They might be difficult to catch in the summer. But try hard. Perhaps you will catch something else . . . such as a poisonous snake! Or an alligator. Or even a bolagator!
Speaking of which . . . I used to catch cottonmouths for pets when I was a kid, but I wouldn't advise En-Uk to try that.