Friday, June 14, 2013

Smooth (but still Snappy), and a Short Commentary from Tallulah on Midwestern Conversational Mores

On Wednesday I ran into T., a turtle-loving friend (who was in fact wearing a turtle t-shirt that day). She has a large turtle enclosure in her back yard, and can reel off all sorts of chelonian facts and figures, especially as relating to the native Wisconsin species.

Of course I had to tell her about my Tuesday turtle encounter. When I described the Very Large Turtle I had seen, T. asked if the shell was bumpy or smooth.

"Smooth," I replied.

"Then it's not a snapper," she said. "It's a softshell."

This sent me back to the computer for some exhaustive online research (in other words, about 10 minutes' Googling), which confirmed her statement.

So the Very Large Turtle of Tuesday's post, the turtle with such an impressive turn of speed, is not a Snapper at all...'s a Smooth Softshell.

According to Wikipedia, Softshells "can move at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour". Pretty darn snappy, if you ask me.

~ ~ ~

I did wonder why Tallulah hadn't corrected me as to the V.L.T.'s taxonomy. "Why did you call it a Snapper?" I ask her.

"I called it a snapper because you called it a snapper," is her answer.

"But you looked at the photos. You commented on how old she was."

"Sure I did - anyone can tell she's got some years on her. The wrinkles alone are a dead giveaway, not to mention the size of that shell," says Tallulah (with all the healthy scorn of the young and wrinkle-free for those of maturer years).

"So how did you miss the fact that she's not a snapper at all?" I ask.

"I didn't miss it. I just didn't want to correct you."

"Why ever not?" I say, bewildered.

"Because this is Wisconsin. It's simply not done. We're only supposed to nod our heads and say nice things to each other," replies Tallulah.

"Agreement before accuracy, you mean?"

"Exactly. So you see," she says, "I was merely trying to fit in - and be polite, don'tcha know" (this with a virtuous air).

Repressing the urge to snort with derision (a result, no doubt, of my brusquely Californian upbringing), I respond: "Your endeavour to assimilate is much appreciated, Tallulah. But you needn't worry about hurting my feelings - I'd much rather have the straight facts. Especially when a blog post is concerned. Could you do that for me?"

"Yep," says Tallulah. "You betcha!"

"Thanks," I reply. "Now what would you like for lunch?"

"How about cheese curds?" she says.

(At least she didn't ask for beer and brats. We're fresh out of those.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Having spent a LOT of time in Wisconsin and having family members still there I have to agree with the great Tallulah, I do not ever and I mean ever correct them. I smile and nod my head.


  2. This is hysterical...don'tcha know! I love it.

  3. What Ellen said!

    The only things I know about Wisconsin I gleaned from Laura Ingalls Wilder's books ... even now I think of big woods and maple syrup whenever I see the word Wisconsin. The people in her stories were terribly polite so I guess young Miss T. Turtle has a point!

  4. That is one terrific turtle!
    If one needs to point out errors, it is difficult to do so without sounding like a boorish know-it-all! That little turtle is so wise, I am so glad you have her around.
    We have snapping turtles here in Georgia, they have very long necks and they really LOOK like snapping turtles, they can sever fingers with a single bite.
    (Or so I have been told, I don't get close enough to them to know one thing about them!)

  5. Smooth shell means this... And not smooth shell, means that...

    My turtle knowledge is growing.


  6. I am not sure I even realized that there were smooth shells. Always fun to learn something new. I think I am glad you were not so close to an actual snapper. And Tallulah never fails to make me laugh. ;)

  7. T is very wise. I LOVE cheese curds

  8. Really. I'm quite sure the reason Tallulah didn't answer was that she was stuck contemplating that word 'Chelonian'. Chelonian. It has a nice ring, but shrouded in mystery. Very thought provoking. :)

  9. Holy moly, the things I miss out on when I'm out on my bike. This week has been a gold mine for Tallulah, hasn't it?!? Or a sort of kind of family reunion??? :)


I love comments! Speak on....