Happy Saturday, friends. Here is the next chapter of my children’s book. I would love some feedback and even kind criticisms. Thank you.
Also, I am having trouble getting my tags to work correctly. You can read the story in full on the PAGE that is called Gracie, the Green Sea Turtle.
Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug. 🙂
“Wait up, guys!” Gretchen puffed. She was having a hard time keeping up with everyone, because she hadn’t eaten yet, and knew her blood sugar was too low. “Wait! I can’t run that fast!”
They all stopped and turned around. “What’s the joke, slowpoke?” Samuel laughed.
Gretchen had to smile. She hadn’t heard that expression since she was little. “Ha, ha. Very funny, Samuel. I haven’t eaten since this morning so I am really running out of steam. Do you guys mind if I go back and eat something quick and catch up with you in a minute?”
Gracie said, “Do you want me to come with you? Just in case you pass out and people start walking all over you or something?”
Gretchen knew Gracie well enough to know that was a payback dig for what she had said earlier. Gretchen nodded. “If you wouldn’t mind. I’ll grab something to bring with me, okay?”
The boys looked at each other and Eddie said, “Well, okay then. We’ll wait for you down the beach. “Let’s go!” he yelled to Samuel.
“Yeah!” Then the boys took off racing each other.
When the girls began walking back, Gretchen said, “I’m not really super hungry. I just wanted to say I was sorry about what I said earlier. It totally slipped Gracie. Please believe me. I would never want to hurt you like that on purpose especially in front of the boy you like!” She grinned widely.
“It was kind of mean, but I know. I just wish I wasn’t so stupid. I wish I didn’t have to work so hard just to get a B!”
“You are NOT stupid! I wish you would stop saying that all the time. I know that is how this disability makes you feel, but everyone has some kind of limitation in some area of their life. Look at the kids at school who are physically handicapped and in Special Ed! Most of them hardly ever think about it, because they just know it is part of who they are. I think you just need to accept your disability and make up your mind to work hard. I don’t mean to sound like your mom, but I just think you would do so much better if you did. You know I’m always here to help you, too.” She bumped shoulders with Gracie, and Gracie bumped back. Then they began giggling and decided to turn around and run towards the boys and the turtle.
When the girls reached the end of the beach, there was a small crowd there. They looked for the boys for a few minutes until they heard Eddie bellowing out their names and waving them over to where he and Samuel were sstanding. When the girls found them, they looked down at this amazing creature with mouths wide open.
Together they said, “Wow!” Then they bent down, slowly reached out and touched the sea turtle’s shell. The turtle’s eyes followed the movement of their hands, then she grunted.
Everyone crouched around her in a circle. They were all mesmerized by the enormity of her body. Her flippers alone were a couple of feet long and very wide. The boys didn’t have any words. They sat and examined every inch of her with curious eyes.
Suddenly she began moving her back flippers very swiftly. She began to dig in the sand. People grabbed their small children cautiously and told them to stand back. The kids squealed with delight. One child who looked to be about three years old yelled, “Look, Mama! She’s gonna dig a hole! She’s gonna dig a hole!” He clapped his hands and jumped up and down.
Eddie’s voice was speaking before he realized he was talking out loud, not just in his head. He was telling the child that she was digging a hole to lay her eggs in. The child put his hands on his hips and said, “I know! Everyone knows that!” The mother scolded him and made him apologize for being a smart-aleck. He did, but when she wasn’t looking, he stuck his tongue out at Eddie.
Samuel and the girls laughed, but Eddie scowled at him to try and scare him. It didn’t make any difference. He just stuck his tongue out again, but this time his mother saw him. She grabbed his hand and said, “Let’s go. If that’s how you’re going to behave, you don’t get to see the sea turtle anymore. I’m taking you back to your father.” Then she apologized to Eddie and left.
“Wow. What a goofy little kid!” Eddie said. “I bet he’s gonna get wailed on when he gets back to his dad!” Just then they heard a whack! and the little boy cryied out loudly. “Huh! I guess she didn’t wait to get him back to his dad after all!” Then he and the snickered.
“I wonder how long it’s going to take her to lay her eggs?” Gretchen questioned.
© Patsy H. Parker
Hello everyone. I’m getting back to my children’s book now that I have a little more time. The kids only have one more day of school before their Christmas break! However, our dog isn’t doing very well. She needs lots of prayers today.
Have a great day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂
When they came out of the water, Samuel shook out his long hair like a dog. The girls squeeled and laughed. They decided to go find Samuel’s mom. They reached the blanket a few minutes later and saw she had all of the food sitting out waiting for them. It was twilight by then, so they could still see what they were eating without flashlights. The tide was coming in a little bit, but they were far enough from shore so they didn’t have to worry about getting wet. Lucy saw the boys running towards her with the girls trailing behind laughing. She thought to herself how great it must be to feel so carefree.
Smiling, she waved them over to their spot. She said hello to the girls and welcomed them. “Wow!” Lucy laughed. “Did you decide to go swimming in your clothes?”
Samuel said, “No. The girls attacked Eddie, so I had to retaliate! Then it became a dunking contest, I think.” He smiled at Gretchen.
Lucy caught the look. She thought, Oh boy, he’s falling hard for her! How cute. Lucy asked the girls where their parents were to make sure they weren’t there alone. They pointed out Gracie’s mom.
“Is it okay if the boys come up to where my mom is so they can try some of her food, too?” Gracie asked.
“Sure. Do you guys want anything here first?”
Samuel said, “Heck yeah, Mom! Your fried chicken is the best! Of course,” he hesitated, “I haven’t tasted Gracie’s mom’s chicken yet.” He winked at her.
“Well, I’m sure hers is very tasty as well, Samuel.” She smiled at Gracie.
“Do you girls want to try a cookie?” Lucy asked.
“Sure. Thank you,” they said in unison as they reached out for one.
Eddie said, “You two sure do say the same thing at the same time a lot. It’s almost like you’re twins!”
Gracie said, “We might as well be. Our moms are best friends. We were born a month apart. I’M the oldest.” She elbowed Gretchen in the ribs.
“Yeah, I’ve been hearing that my whole life. She’s constantly rubbing it in.” Gretchen laughed. “But we both know I am smarter than she is. I’ve always gotten the best grades.”
Gracie’s smile faded quickly. She didn’t have a comeback for Gretchen’s boast either. Eddie noticed it and wondered if school was a sore subject he should avoid with Gracie. He filed the thought away.
They all sat down and started piling food onto their plates. Gracie said she wasn’t very hungry, but she took a chicken wing and some chips. Lucy asked her if that was all she wanted, and she replied that she wasn’t very hungry. Gretchen looked at Gracie and mouthed “sorry.” Gracie barely smiled and only nibbled at her food. After she was done eating, she said she wanted to go see if her mom needed anything. Gretchen asked her if she wanted company, but Gracie shook her head saying she would be right back.
When Gracie was gone, Eddie whispered to Gretchen, “Is she okay? She seemed to get upset about what you said. I thought you guys were just joking around.”
“She’s definitely upset! I shouldn’t have said that. It slipped. She has never gotten really good grades. No one could ever figure out why until last year when she had Mrs. Benson for English. Somehow she noticed mistakes in Gracie’s work that made her think she might have dyslexia. So she told Gracie’s mom. Her mom had her tested, and it was confirmed. It explained a lot about all of the problems she’s had all these years in school. It bothers her a lot, so she won’t talk about it with anyone…even me, and I’m her best friend! Her mom says she thinks Gracie just hasn’t accepted it yet. We are hoping she will come around before the school year starts again.
Eddie nodded. “Well, I understand how she feels. I have it, too. I was lucky enough to have a teacher in second grade who caught it. So there’s lots of techniques she can learn for studying that makes it a little easier once she learns them. It is still hard to study, though. Ever since I got help, I’ve liked reading a whole lot more. This might be a dumb question, but does she like reading?”
“She loves fiction, especially John Green’s books. But when her mom got one of them for her a couple of years ago for Christmas, she ended up reading it out loud to Gracie. I think that made her feel embarrassed, so she has been listening to books on CD ever since.”
“Well, maybe I can just talk to her about school sometime and bring up my dyslexia. Maybe she’ll talk with me about it. What do you think?”
“Hey!” Gretchen said excitedly. “I think that would be great! I hope she will talk about it with you. I hate seeing her like this. Oh look! Here she comes.” She held her index finger to her lips and said, “Shhh!”
Gracie was running towards them yelling, “Hey you guys! Guess what my mom heard?”
They all said, “What?” in unison. She stopped, bent over and caught her breath first. “She said someone about a half mile down the beach saw a sea turtle!”
The boys jumped up and said, “Really?”
Gretchen joined them and said, “Let’s go see! Let’s go see!” She was jumping up and down flailing her arms in the air.
Lucy said, “Well, don’t you want to eat first?”
The kids gave her a blank stare. Then Samuel said, “Mom, we want to go see it before it’s gone! Can’t you get someone to watch our stuff and go with us?”
She said, “No. I was just kidding. Go! Go! The food will keep. Just take the flashlight, and be careful.”
Samuel grabbed the flashlight and said, “Okay! We’ll be back in a little bit.” He turned to the others and said, “Come on! I can’t wait to see this! How lucky are we that it came tonight?”
Then they ran down the beach to find the sea turtle. Their laughter rang through the air while running as fast as they could.
© Patsy H. Parker
By the time Samuel and his mom reached the beach, it was nightfall. They turned on their flashlights even though the back lights from people’s beach homes were all on. They walked along for awhile until they heard Eddie calling Samuel’s name. They looked in the direction of his voice to see him jumping up and down and waving his arms wildly. Samuel ran over to the spot he had saved. When he got there, he dropped all the stuff onto Eddie’s blanket.
“Wow, Eddie, you found a great spot! We’re close to the water, but not too close so that everything gets wet when the tide comes in more. There sure are a lot of people here. I hope the girls show up tonight.”
“They probably will. They usually come every year.” Eddie said. “I bet that…”
“Hi guys!” The boys turned to see the girls running toward them. They gave each other side glances and sly grins. The girls stopped suddenly in front of them giggling.
“Beat ya!” Gretchen said.
“Did not. It was a tie!” Gracie frowned. Then she looked at Eddie and smiled shyly.
“Hi ya, Eddie. When did you get here?”
“Oh, just a little while ago. How about you?”
“Yeah, me, too. We came together,” she said as she looked at Gretchen. “So whatcha guys been doing?”
“Nothing much yet. Samuel and his mom just got here. I was saving our spot. My parents are out of town.”
Gracie’s brows raised. “On the Fourth of July? Why?” she exclaimed.
Eddie blushed. He tried to look like it didn’t bother him. “Oh, ya know, some convention for work or something. They aren’t big on celebrating it. They’re always home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, though. Where are your parents?”
Gracie pointed to a spot up by the concession stand and said, “Up there. That’s our usual spot. My mom comes out here at like noon or something to make sure no one else takes it. She sits on the beach all afternoon until my dad comes. I had to sit there for a while this morning while she fixed our dinner for tonight and packed it up. We’re having fried chicken (cold of course), potato salad, coleslaw (because I don’t like potato salad), some kind of weird bean salad, a watermelon, and brownies I think. Geez, you’d think we had like ten people in our family or something! She always makes way too much food, then complains later when we have so much leftover. I don’t get it at all!”
Eddie stared at her while she talked thinking about how much he liked her and how she had been talking all this time without taking a breath. Her hands were waving all around at the same time. He thought it was cute. Then he heard her ask, “Is your mom like that, Samuel?”
Samuel was just staring at Gretchen and spacing out. Eddie poked him and said, “Hey! Gracie just asked you a question, dude! Weren’t you listening?”
Gretchen laughed and lowered her eyes without really taking them off of Samuel. She said, “Yeah, we heard her. So, Samuel. Does your mom make way too much food for you guys like Gracie’s mom does?”
“Uh…oh…no. We never have anything left. She doesn’t eat a huge amount, but Eddie and I can put it away!”
“Oh, well, then you guys will have to help put some of our food away.” said Gracie. “My mom would probably appreciate having big eaters around again since my brothers aren’t here any more. You don’t have to eat the salads if you don’t want to. You can just help with the watermelon and brownies.”
Eddie said, “I happen to like bean salads. Depending on the beans, that is. You know. I like the ones that make you f…” Samuel hit his shoulder and said, “Hey! I know what we can do. Let’s go down to the water and look for shells!” The girls looked at each other knowingly and giggled.
They said in unison, “Okay! Race ya!”
Eddie and Samuel took off running through the crowd followed by the girls. They yelled after them, “Hey! Wait up!”
Samuel turned around and yelled while running backwards, “You said it was a race! Come on. Try to beat us!” He winked.
They pumped their legs faster until Gretchen tripped and fell. Then Samuel stopped and ran to her and said, “Hey, are you okay?” just as she winked at him and kept going. He looked confused for a second until she and Gracie both yelled as they kept running, “It’s the oldest trick in the world, dude!” and giggled. He laughed out loud and yelled back, “Oh yeah? Well, we’ll see if it works.” Then he took off running after them as fast as he could, but even trying his hardest, he couldn’t catch up.
When they reached the water, it turned out Eddie had won and was doing a splashing victory dance and yelling, “Whoop! Whoop! Who’s the fastest? Yeah, that’s me!” The girls were splashing him for a minute, then looked at each other, nodded, and ran at him full force, dunking him under. Samuel ran to his rescue, pulled him up and then dunked each of the girls. They continued this craziness for a few minutes until the girls called a truce. Then they all looked at each other for a few seconds and burst into laughter. Samuel had never felt so happy in his life.
Copyrighted Patsy H. Parker
At dusk Samuel and his mom started getting ready to meet Eddie at the beach. They could hear all the local people gathering near the shore already. The people who shot off the fireworks every year did it from the boat dock down the street by the harbor. They drove a boat out on the water as far away from the people as they could get. Samuel had never heard of anyone getting hurt from fireworks around there before. The men and women who put on the display had been doing it for many years.
Lucy asked him, “So do you have the blanket?”
“Check!” Saumuel said.
“The picnic basket?”
“Ch…hey! What? The food is IN the picnic basket, Mom!”
Samuel laughed and said, “Mom, you’re goofy!”
“Yep, that’s me! Okay, let’s go! Did Eddie say he was coming over or meeting us there?” she asked.
Samuel said, “Oh I guess he’s meeting us. He said he’d get there early and save our usual spot. I guess his parents had some kind of business barbecue to go to. He’s pretty bummed, so it’s up to us to cheer him up, okay?”
“That’s a shame. I can’t believe his father can’t just have one holiday with his family for a change. He really doesn’t know what he’s missing, does he?”
“Nope! Eddie’s such a great guy, and he never gets in trouble like other kids whose parents don’t spend enough time with them. I’m glad you leave your job at the office when you come home, Mom! I can’t imagine hardly ever getting to see you! That would be awful!”
“It would…just like racoons do to chicken eggs!”
She grinned, “Oh that’s just something silly my mom used to say. You remember how she was!”
“Yeah. I miss Grandma and Grandpa, Mom. It’s not fair that everyone in our family had to die!”
“Well, not everyone died! There’s still my sister.” She raised an eyebrow.
“Hmmm. Yeah, it’s not fair that everyone in our family died!”
“Samuel! She means well. I think losing Clay hit her harder than any of us, even me. They were so close. She loved you, too, of course, but there was just something extra special about their bond. I’m not sure what it was. I think being around us is harder for her now.”
“Well, let’s go, Mom. No more serious talk tonight, okay? Let’s go have some fun!”
© Patsy H. Parker
Samuel was a in kindergarten that year. School was almost over for the year, and he was excited, because he wanted to start learning to surf. She knew between Samuel and Eddie, Clay could learn how to surf in no time at all. They had both been quick learners. She remembered feeling a little nervous, though, since he was only five, but she figured he would be fine since Samuel and Eddie were taught to surf by some older neighborhood boys when they weren’t much older than he was. She really wasn’t worried at all.
One day after school she was watching them from the shore. They hadn’t gone out very far at all. Samuel told Clay to climb up on the surfboard carefully and slowly. Clay did exactly what his brother told him to do. Then he laid out flat on his belly. Samuel told him to start paddling his arms like he was swimming since Clay already knew how to swim. So Clay did that, too. They kept at it for about thirty minutes which was longer than Lucy thought he would last, but Clay became tired and hungry. Samuel said he needed to go back to Mom and get some lunch. He turned Clay around and let him paddle to shore. He and Eddie followed, because they were hungry, too. Yet, they were always hungry!
They were coming out of the water when Clay screamed suddenly. Samuel said, “What’s the matter?”
Clay just kept screaming and their mom came running out to the water as fast as she could run. Then Samuel became terrified, because he didn’t know what was wrong. He grabbed Clay and tried to pick him up just as their mom reached them. She said, “Let me get him, Samuel. Watch out!”
Samuel moved back so quickly that he slipped and fell on his butt. He was crying by then, because he was so scared. He kept yelling, “What’s the matter, Mom? What happened?”
She yelled, “I don’t know!”
Lucy picked up Clay, and that’s when she saw it. She grew really scared, but tried not to let it show. His foot had a huge welt on it. She knew immediately that he had been stung by a jelly fish. She had seen jelly fish stings before. Yelling at Samuel to get out of the water, she ran up to the beach with Clay as he was screaming. When she laid him on the sand, she told Samuel to run and call 911. She knew he needed an antihistamine and a strong one fast. She held him close trying to soothe him.
She began softly singing one of his favorite songs, but she could feel his breathing getting shallower quickly. She screamed to Samuel to hurry. Singing and crying by now, she held him as tightly and closely as she could. She prayed, “Please, God. Don’t take my baby. He and Samuel are all I have! Please let help get here in time.”
Samuel came running down the beach a few minutes later. He stopped quickly when he saw his mom wailing at the top of her lungs and rocking Clay’s limp body back and forth. Something didn’t feel right. He walked over slowly and said, “Mom, the ambulance is on the way.” She didn’t hear him; she just kept crying harder and harder, the tears pouring down her contorted face.
A moment later, they heard the sirens blaring toward their house. She was so thankful they lived close to everything in town. Soon the EMT’s came running down the beach, and the female one spoke to their mom gently.
“Mam. May we lay him on the sand?” She could see he was already gone, but they still started performing CPR anyway. They tried to revive him for ten minutes. Then the man said, “I’m so sorry, mam. He’s gone. He must have been allergic to the jellyfish. I’m so sorry.” He asked her if there was anything more he could do, and she shook her head. She picked Clay up while the woman helped her get up. She carried him to the house. In the fog of her shock she temporarily forgot about Samuel. As she walked on, he yelled, “Mom! What’s happening?” Then he looked at the EMTs and asked, “why aren’t you doing anything? Help him! He needs help!” He was screaming and crying hard by then.
The man said, “Son, there’s nothing we can do. It’s too late. He must have been allergic to the jellyfish sting. He’s so small, the venom ki…um…reached his heart too fast. He’s gone, son.”
“Mommy! Mommy, wait for me!” Samuel wailed as he ran after her. She stopped a moment and turned around realizing she had left him behind.
“Samuel. I’m sorry. Come on. We’re going to go lay him in his bed right now. Okay?”
Samuel cried and asked hesitantly, “He’s not gone, Mommy! That man said he’s gone! He’s right here. Why aren’t they taking him to the hospital or doing anything? I don’t understand!”
Lucy spoke in an almost monotone voice, “Sweetheart, come on. Let’s go in the house.” They walked slowly to the house, and the female EMT was already there holding the door open.
“Mam, is there anything else we can do?”
“Yes, actually. You may call my sister for me. I’ll give you the number. Come in.” Her voice sounded scary to Samuel. They went in, and she gave the lady her sister’s number. Then they went down the hall to the boys’s room and lay Clay down on his bed. She put a blanket on him, because he was getting cold. Samuel stood behind her holding onto her shirt like it was a life raft. He didn’t understand anything.
He cried and cried, and said, “Mommy. Why aren’t you waking him up? Please! He has to wake up!” He began shaking Clay’s shoulders and crying in his broken little voice, “Clay! Wake up! Wake up!” Then he collapsed onto Clay’s chest and cried his heart out.
To be continued….
© Patsy H. Parker
Eddie and Samuel paddled to shore on their surf boards. As soon as they reached shallow waters, they hopped off of them and dragged them to the beach. They picked them up and ran home as fast as they could. When they came to the house, they leaned their boards up against it carefully. Then bounding up the stairs, Samuel pulled the screen door open holding it for Eddie, letting it slam, then hearing his mother promptly yelling at him to stop doing that.
“Sorry, Mom. Mom! Mom!” Samuel was flailing his arms about and jumping back and forth on his tiptoes. “Mom, guess what? You’ll NEVER guess what we saw! Up close and everything! Guess! Guess!”
His mom started to speak when he blurted out, “We saw a sea turtle, Mom! A real live sea turtle up close in the water!” Her mouth dropped open the same way theirs had when they saw it.
“You did not! Really?”
Eddie said, “Yes, we did! Really! It was HUGE!! Samuel, tell her what it was doing! Tell her!”
Samuel became serious and almost whispering, he said, “It was chasing a lobster! We watched it for a long time, too! Well, it seemed like forever while it was going on, but it was probably just a couple of minutes.”
She said, “Did the sea turtle catch it?”
Eddie answered, “Yeah! It was so cool! Once it got hold of the lobster, it just started tearing into it. He shredded that lobster really fast! It was awesome!”
Samuel said in a mellow tone, “I wish you could have been with us, Mom. You would have loved it. It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, especially when we found out that huge thing in the water wasn’t a shark! We were afraid it was when we first saw it. What a relief!”
“Yes, what a relief indeed! Oh Samuel, I’m so glad you were in the right place at the right time! That’s so wonderful. I wish I had been with you, too. Hey, maybe it’s a female, and she’s going to lay some eggs on the beach! That would be exciting, too. We should take a moonlight walk tonight and see if it comes to shore. Only the females come to shore, so if it does, I bet that’s what she’ll do!”
Samuel looked worried. He said, “But mom! It’s going to be the Fourth of July in less than a week! What happens if it is a female who lays her eggs on the beach now? Won’t they get trampled when she leaves them?”
Lucy said, “I don’t know, but don’t they bury them really deep? Even if they get walked over, they might not get broken. We’ll just have to pray no one finds them and digs them up.” She smiled, then said, “Don’t worry. If she comes to lay eggs, they’ll be fine. Mothers know about these things.” She winked at him.
Eddie said, “Yeah, and maybe we’ll get to see it happen! Now THAT would be incredible! I’m going to go home and tell my mom and dad what happened. I’ll see if they want to come with us tonight, okay?”
Samuel’s mom said, “Sure, Eddie. Tell them I’ll pack some snacks.”
“Okay! See ya later!” Eddie said as he waved to them both. Then he ran out of the house, bolted through the squeaky back door and just when he almost let go of it, he stopped and let it close gently.
Samuel’s mother said, “Now, that is how the screen door is supposed to sound when it’s closed, mister!” She tousled his hair roughly and put one arm around his shoulders. “How about we have some lunch? What do you want? Salami and cheese or peanut butter and jelly?”
“I don’t know. PB & J, I guess. Man, mom, I really wish you would have been there with me. You know who else I was thinking about while we were watching it?”
Their eyes locked. He knew she knew, but he said his name anyway. “Clay.” Then he hung his head. Samuel was always afraid to bring up his brother. He never knew how his mother would react.
She put her finger under his chin and lifted his head and grinned. “You’re right about that. He loved sea turtles more than anyone I know! Maybe he can see all the sea turtles in the world from heaven! Do you think he can?”
Samuel shrugged, “I don’t know. Mom,” he said as he gazed up into her face, “I miss him so much. Why did he have to die? It’s not fair.”
She teared up even though she was trying desperately not to cry. She didn’t want Samuel to feel like he could never mention Clay if it was going to make her cry.
“I don’t know, sweetheart. We just don’t have those kinds of answers on this side of heaven. Someday we will, though. You’ll see. But I believe he can see us and misses us just as much as we miss him. He was a good little boy. You were a wonderful big brother to him, too, and he knew it. Let’s see, he would have been eight years old this year. It’s hard to believe he has already been gone for three years. Sometimes it seems like it was yesterday.” Then she breathed in deeply and said, “I’ll get your lunch. What did you want again? PB & J?”
“Yep! Hey, you remembered!”
She grabbed him and tickled him. Laughing, she said, “Never you mind, mister! I don’t forget everything, you know! Go wash your hands.” Then she tousled his hair lightly.
As she watched him run off to the bathroom, she cried a little. She always thought she would never survive it if anything ever happened to Samuel. Thinking back she could still see little Clay’s smiling face, his tears, and hear his laugh, although that was becoming more difficult. She saw herself holding him in her mind’s eye that last day.
To be continued….
© Patsy H. Parker
The next day they decided to go surfing. When Sam came up on a wave and was getting ready to stand up on his surf board, he yelled out, “Whoa! What is that, Eddie?” He saw a huge dark shadow moving around under the surface of the water.
He was scared and immediately gripped his board tighter. Hanging onto it for dear life, he managed to calm down and gazed out at the water just a few feet ahead of him. He let the wave go under him. Something huge was swimming around, so he stayed as still as he could. He wasn’t sure if it was a shark which was the one thing in the ocean that terrified him.
“Eddie, do you see that? What is it, a shark?”
Eddie looked over to the spot Sam was pointing to when suddenly the mystery creature broke through the surface of the water. Its huge head popped up and opened its mouth! In turn Sam opened his mouth in amazement. He could not believe his eyes!
“Wow! Thank God it isn’t a shark! Look at that!” Eddie yelled to Samuel.
It was a sea turtle – just what they had been waiting for every day since summer started! They stayed as still as they could, then slowly both boys held their breath and dropped below the surface to watch it.
Its body was at least thirty inches long. The turtle’s plastron, the bottom of its shell, was a yellowish color. The top of its shell, the carapace, was a dark green and brownish color. There were also some crusty barnacles and seaweed stuck to its shell. Being in Florida, which is in the southeast part of the United States, he believed it was a Green sea turtle. They were the most common type of sea turtle in that area.
Green sea turtles are not named this for the color of their shells, because some turtles of this species have carapaces that are a red or even brown color. They are named green sea turtles for the color of the fat inside their bodies under their shells. The boys had learned all about them in school.
Samuel was amazed as he watched the sea turtle catch a lobster and begin eating it. It took the turtle a few minutes to catch the lobster after chasing it and biting at it but missing it a couple of times. He knew they liked crustaceans – sea animals that had soft shells – such as shrimp, crabs and lobsters. They also like to eat algae, the green stuff that grows in the ocean.
The boys swam to the surface when the sea turtle swam away. They both popped above the surface of the water with huge grins on their faces.
Samuel blurted out, “Eddie, I can’t believe this! I never expected to just see a sea turtle while we were surfing! Did you?”
“No way! I wish we had an underwater camera. It would be great to be able to watch what we just saw over and over again. Maybe I’ll become a photographer and learn how to scuba dive so I can take pictures in the ocean! I would actually like to be able to rescue sea turtles, too!
“Me, too! Why don’t we do that together someday?”
“Sounds good to me, Samuel! Well, we should probably get going. I want to tell my mom about this.”
“Okay. Let’s go.”
To be continued…
© Patsy H. Parker
THIS IS THE CHILDREN’S BOOK I HAVE STARTED AND AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON. Let me know what you think! I would love some kind, constructive criticism from any writers out there, especially about verb tenses! Sometimes I wonder if I am confusing them?? Thanks.
On a beach in Florida, the sky is full of sunshine. Sam and Eddie, two boys who live close by in Sarasota, are building sand castles. They live within walking distance of the beach, and it is almost the 4th of July. Eddie is especially excited, because he loves the yearly fireworks. He and Sam like to sit on the beach once it is dark so they can watch the huge bursts of color fill the night sky. The local neighbors turn off all of their home and back porch lights so everyone can see the fireworks show better. People gather and bring cold cuts, chips, and drinks in their coolers and play. Some set up a volleyball net earlier in the day and play until dusk. Beach balls, surf boards, and buckets and shovels are scattered on the fine white sand. Coconut oil pervades the air along with the salty spray of the sea.
Eddie has short light brown hair, a thin build and lots of freckles. His smile is contagious when he is with others, especially his best friend, Sam. Sam’s blonde hair glistens in the sunlight, he is a husky guy, but flat-footed. He can run well even though it has taken him his whole life to learn how. When he was little, kids made fun of him until Eddie stood up for him against them all. He told them Samuel was born that way so they stopped eventually.
They are both ten years old and in the same class at school. They just finished fifth grade. Their favorite teacher is Mr. Scott, who teaches Science, their favorite class. The boys loved Science class the most in the Spring semester, because Mr. Scott taught them all about sea turtles. Even though they have lived by the ocean their whole lives, they have never seen one. Learning about them peaked their curiosity and desire to see one during the summer. So they decided they were going to spend as much time as possible at the beach this year.
Sam loved learning about these amazing creatures, because he goes out to the rivers and ponds close-by to hunt for small turtles with his dad. They hide in bushes and watch for them to come out to sit on the rocks and sun themselves. The kind they see the most is the common mud turtle. Sam has seen brown, black, and olive green ones, but he sees the brown ones the most.
One day he watched one crawl out of the pond up onto the river bank. He sneaked up on it very quietly and reached down to pick it up. As soon as he grabbed it, though, he smelled something very foul! He didn’t know that the turtles put out a very stinky secretion as their way of defending themselves against predators. He put it down right away and watched it go back in the water. He sat on the bank for a while longer until it surfaced again, but it only came up to sit on a rock in the water out of Sam’s reach. Even the stinky smell from the mud turtle didn’t keep him from going out most days to watch for them. It was something he and his dad enjoyed doing together.
“Sam!” Eddie’s voice pierced through Sam’s thoughts. “Where’d you go, buddy?”
“Oh, I was just thinking about that mud turtle I caught that time that let off that real stinky smell. That was so gross!”
“Yeah, I remember your dad telling me he was watching you and wishing he had a camera to get that funny look on your face on film!”
“Yeah, I bet he did. I can only imagine what I looked like!” Then Sam scrunched his face up, one eye closed and his tongue sticking out.
Eddie said, “You know what?
“What?” asked Sam.
“I want to see a real sea turtle! I loved learning about them in school.”
“Yeah, if we ever see a green sea turtle, you can name her Gracie after that girl you like! Gracie, the green sea turtle!” Then he gave Eddie a friendly punch in the arm.
Eddie said, “Or we could name her Gretchen after the girl you like!”
Eddie’s face turned as red as a beet as he grinned. Neither of them told anyone else they were already liking girls. That was the guy stuff they kept between themselves. They had a “code” about girls already, too. The code states that they couldn’t like the same girl at the same time. So if one of them liked someone, he had to tell the other to avoid this awkward situation. Also, when one of them didn’t like a girl any more, the other boy could not make any moves on her for at least two months after they broke up. It seemed to be working fine so far. During the summer, however, they were so busy playing out on the beach, surfing, and just hanging out together that they didn’t give much thought to girls.
Eddie said, “Yeah, well, I just hope we get to see a real sea turtle someday. Who cares what we name it? How can we even tell if it’s a boy or girl anyway?”
“I don’t think we can tell if it’s in the water! It would be so cool if one came up on the beach, but then for sure it would probably be a girl. She’d only be coming up here to get ready to make a nest to lay her eggs in.”
Eddie smiled big and said excitedly, “Why don’t we go look for turtle eggs right now? Want to?” He loved exploring and looking for things more than anything else, and Sam was always happy to follow along.
“Sure!” said Sam. “Remember we aren’t supposed to touch them, though, if we find any. Besides they may be buried too deep for us to see them anyway. I can’t believe people actually dig them up and take them!”
Eddie frowned, “Yeah, that’s not right. We have plenty of other kinds of eggs to eat. Why can’t people leave them alone?”
“What I can’t believe is that fishermen catch the grown turtles and kill them to use the scutes on their shells to make jewelry and stuff. What the heck did the sea turtles ever do to them?”
“Yeah. People can be so mean. It’s just that they want a way to make money, I guess. But it’s pretty cruel. Just think about it! A huge sea turtle is just swimming happily along and wham! Down comes the net over it. They probably get so scared!”
Sam grinned a little and said, “I wonder if sea turtles pee any kind of bad smelling stuff onto the fishermen who drag them up onto their boats?”
“I don’t know, but I sure hope so!” exclaimed Eddie. They locked eyes and both rolled in laughter making peeing sounds.
Then they stood up and brushed the sand off themselves. Sam said, “I’m hungry! Let’s go see what my mom brought to eat.”
“Okay. Race ya over there!” Eddie yelled as he took off running.
“Cheater! You didn’t say ‘on your mark, get ready, go!” Sam laughed as he tried to catch up. They ran together laughing all the way up the beach to where Sam’s mom was laying out a big blanket and getting food out of the ice chest.
She looked up and saw them barreling towards her. She smiled and said, “You boys must be hungry!”
They stopped suddenly, out of breath, and huffed out, “Yeah!” at the same time. Then they both said, “Jinx! You owe me a soda!” at the same time again. While they kept jinxing each other, Samuel’s mom just grinned shaking her head.
She said, “Okay, everything is here. Grab what you want. So what were you boys doing?”
Eddie replied, “Oh nothin’ much. We were just talking about wanting to see a real sea turtle! We learned about them in Science class this year.”
Sam interrupted with a giggle when his mom was just getting ready to say something, “Yeah, and we were trying to decide what to name it if is a girl!” But Eddie gave him a look that said ‘be quiet!’
Sam’s mom asked, “Why would you care if it’s a girl?”
“We wouldn’t. Eddie’s just joking around, Mom.”
“Well,” she said, “I know I sure would love to see one, too! And if it is a girl, I would name her…” she hesitated, “Gretchen!” Then she smiled and winked at them. The boys looked at each other thinking how strange that was. They wondered how she came up with that name!
Sam’s mom turned away from them and giggled to herself. She had known for quite some time how much Sam liked Gretchen. She thought they were cute together, too, but noticed they still seemed to feel a little awkward around each other.
TO BE CONTINUED……….
© Patsy H. Parker