When You Don’t Have Cable

Daughter Nora, at sixteen, has raised the cheerful mockery of her parents to a high art.

“This is what happens when you don’t have cable,” she said after I explained that we were watching not one but two turltes in the backyard. See, we’ve got two turtles, but we hardly ever see them, and it’s been since forever that we’ve seen both at the same time.

Lissa was still in bed this morning when Sadie raised the alarm. I though she was just barking at the back door to come in, but when I went out she was barking and dancing around two turtles scrunched inside their shells by the back door, trying to avoid Sadie’s excess of enthusiasm. I brought Sadie inside, alerted Lissa, and an hour of amusing turtle watching began.

First one of the turtles (they are named Speedy and Olivia, though we are not entirely sure which is which – they look quite similar) bumped at the other one, crashing into its shell. Then they wandering began. Lissa took many pictures, referred to old photographic documentation to try to sort out the question of which was Speedy and which was Olivia. Olivia climbed up into one of the little bird baths that sit on the ground. She’s a desert turtle. That seemed odd.

Nora mocked us, suggesting alternative names for the turtles and repeating variations of the cable TV joke. She even turned on her computer, that she could mock us in her blog. But she did have to venture outside to see for herself the turtle sitting in the pond.

“She thinks we’re kooks,” Lissa said, “but she did want to come out and see the turtle in the water.”