In that pet store, we found something I truly didn't expect to see. Teeny, tiny baby turtles.
We knew we had to have one.
The little old man at the cash register rather looked like a turtle himself. As we purchased the turtle and a tiny dish with a plastic palm tree to keep him in until we could afford a tank, I noted that I thought it was illegal to sell turtles in North Carolina.
"It is." stated the little old man.
"Oh... Well, you're not going to get in trouble, are you?"
"Absolutely not! I don't sell turtles! I sell turtle shells. Just so happens the turtles come with 'em."
Joseph and I were cracking up.
The old man crossed his arms with an enormous grin on his face and added, "Besides, I'm 98 years old! What are they gonna do to me?"
He certainly had a point.
We went home and set the little dish up with it's palm tree on the dresser in the living room that we shared with Kentucky. She said she didn't mind adding a turtle to our set up. We all wondered if that little dish would keep the little turtle safe, but Turtle Man had assured us it would be fine until turtle got bigger.
We named the turtle Ieyose, because that was how Adelaide pronounced the word "little" and were quite satisfied with ourselves.
A few days later, though, I came back from class and Ieyose wasn't in his habitat. I dumped the water out and picked through the pebbles. I dumped the pebbles out. No Ieyose.
I scanned the floor, looked under the carpet, through the dresser drawers, unfolded all my clothes and shook everyone's shoes next to my ear. Still no Ieyose.
Kentucky ambled in, asked what was going on, and then joined me in my search. We pulled books from their shelves, unmade our beds, pulled the cushions from the couch and then lifted it up to see if he was under it. It was to no avail.
Genevieve heard us throwing things around and came over to see what was the matter. I was on the verge of tears. I knew that a water turtle could only survive for so long in such a dry environment, and we had been at it with the searching for hours.
She helped us look a little more, and then finally just put her arms around me and prayed that God would bring our sweet little turtle out into the open where we could see him. And that he would be unharmed.
There was nowhere else to look. We gave up.
A few days went by. Then a week. 2 weeks.
Joseph and I decided to go get another turtle from Turtle Man and a proper tank this time to go along with it. We would just name it Ieyose and pretend we had never lost the first one.
In this tank, we put pebbles, river stones, and buttons. We set it up with a filter and stuck a big rock under the filter so it made a water fall and threw in little plastic floating lillypads. It was a magical land of hope and wonder. This turtle would stick around.
The very next day I came back from class to a surprise.
When I peeked in to check on Ieyose... there were two turtles! Both perfect and healthy! I was dumfounded. Where did this other one come from?
I went looking for Kentucky and found her in the kitchen.
She told me what was up. Earlier in the day, she had been vacuuming our little shared living area, and suddenly, there was a turtle in the middle of the floor! He was all dried out and gross and crusty. She thought he was dead. His tongue was even hanging out - which was something neither of us had known was possible for turtles.
As a hope against hope, she had picked him up and placed him in a bowl of water, hoping he would re-hydrate. And he did.
It was miraculous. He was good as new. Joseph came home, and we renamed him Heavy (Adelaide's word for big).
He was our little prodigal turtle. We were so happy to have him back.