Mrs. Green sat down on the black patio chair on Sunday morning. It had been a long weekend and it was only Sunday. She did not expect to see Bartholomew this early but she had a strawberry ready and waiting just in case. He must be tired. She was tired. It was always so exciting in the spring when Bartholomew arrived.
The week had been fun and filled with visits and preparations. In and out visitors came to Mrs. Green’s house in the hopes of seeing Bartholomew. Friday afternoon School was out. There was a great deal of flutter and commotion in the Green’s living room and her helpers tumbled into the back yard as everyone came over to make signs for the big day.
Mothers and fathers, big sisters and cousins showed up in their cars to put out signs in every neighborhood in Ellicott City. The word was spreading and the excitement was building.
Saturday morning everyone arrived early at the conservancy. At the entrance a smattering of high school musicians from the marching band played a happy welcome to all who entered.
After a slightly tearful welcome and a thank you for the huge turnout the festivities began. There were puppies on leashes, hamsters in balls, bunnies in wagons, kitty cats, and one bearded dragon. Everyone lined up and was very respectful. Everyone wanted to race Bartholomew, the fastest turtle in Howard County.
Bartholomew had raised thousands of dollars over the years for Mrs. Green’s favorite Cancer charity and this year it looked like he was going to top it all. The turtle races didn’t end on Saturday. Once Bartholomew showed up for the season signs went up all spring and summer long. There were turtle race signs up in front of hundreds of houses and stores all over Howard County. All you had to do was display a sign in your yard or business and welcome anyone to race any pet by just showing up, knocking on your door, racing the pet and collecting five dollars for the charity.
Mrs. Green had started the tradition years ago when she was a little girl. She displayed a small turtle statue with a sign on it in her front yard that read “turtle races for charity.” It was all that simple. This tradition had gone on for years and years and had grown and grown. It made Mrs. Green so happy inside to think that this little turtle had done so much for so many people.
Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015
Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.