“TURTLES-How We Fell Madly In Love With Phillip”

I love Turtles. They are the universal symbol of love and languish time. They are the most amazing creatures to watch and swim with, big and small. They remind us of what is important; love, team work, take time to smell the roses-enjoy the experience, and family.

When my kids were between 6 and 16 years old we had a pet turtle named Phillip. The children wanted Phillip so bad, we had heard he needed a new home. There was no contest; Phillip became part of our family. He was about a little bigger size than a salad plate. Everyone loved him. We fed him, sat with him, loved him, and simply enjoyed “being.” He loved hanging out with us just chillin’. One day Phillip disappeared. The children were devastated. Boo wouldn’t stop crying. BennyBoy was broken hearted. I was frantic wondering where Phillip was and afraid the children would find him days later smelly and “gone by the wayside” frightening them.

We got together and had a family council meeting and decided we would all look together as a group and search for Phillip in each room. There was no way he could have gone far. After all, he was a turtle! First, we gathered in the front room and looked high and low and behind the sofa and chairs, books and fireplace, etc. Then we moved to the family room, searched in and around the piano and furniture, in and around the plants-nothing. The kitchen was next. We looked in the cupboards, behind the stove and fridge, under the table and chairs, behind the door-nothing. We searched the downstairs bathroom-especially in the tub incase he decided he wanted to take a bath, then my room and bath. We searched in my drawers, my closet-through all my shoes, under my bed, in my bed, under my pillows-nothing. He wasn’t even in the shower misting. We repeated the same exercise upstairs throughout the children’s rooms. When we got to the boys room, we tore apart the knotty wooden toy box which Luke had long since pushed all the knots out so he could have a knot collection (to this day I only buy cabinets with knots including my wooden stair railings-love knots). If Phillip had somehow opened the lid and hid in the toy box (which only had two Tonka trucks inside, the cement mixer and dump truck) he would have plenty of air. Of course a turtle can’t open the wooden lid of a wooden toy box! We even tore apart the attic and could not find Phillip. Needless to say Phillip was gone! Vanished! Dissappeared! Never to be seen again! What happened to him?

We were worried how he’d eat and drink water. The more days that passed, the more obvious it was that Phillip probably died somewhere in the house and crawled away for privacy. The kids were somber for days. Three weeks later school was due to start for the new year. Since some kids were in Elementary and some in Jr. High and some in High School, their starting days staggered. Everyone was on a different plane of excitement.Phillip was finally forgotten for the time being and tears had dried up.

Then, a devastating thing happened on the first real day of school that everyone went to. My sweet teenage son Luke had an accident after school at work and tragically died. My life changed in an instance. One moment he was there and the next he was gone! Vanished! Vamoosed! Forever as I knew it! As arrangements commenced for Luke’s funeral the house became very busy with folks and family and travelers coming in from all over to support our family (gracious thanks to all).

It was the day before the funeral. The kitchen was crowded with folk and busy. All of a sudden my younger kids came running into the kitchen hollerin’ for me, “Mama Mama! Luke brought back Phillip!” The room fell to a hush as my face drained of color once more. I turned to look where the children came barreling into the room. BennyBoy was proudly holding Phillip in his hands to prove to me he was back with Z, Boo and Silstanding next to him (the big boys were elsewhere helping). I was dumbfounded! In a whisper I squeaked out, “Where did you find him?!”

The boys spoke in unison, with a little Boo grinning from ear-to-ear, “He was in our knotty toy box!”

I was like-“What????! Was the lid closed?”

“Yes Mama. We never got back in it after we all searched for Phillip a long time ago.” (And before you all ask, yes, Luke was in on that search-he was renowned in the family as the “best finder” of anything, missing binkies, bottles, shoes, the proverbial missing sock, car keys, etc. Whenever anything was missing, Luke had to help with the search. It was requisite. [Since the little boys have grown up, they have filled those shoes].)

I couldn’t believe it! We all sat down and discussed in detail of how Phillip was found. Nothing changed. It was exactly as I said before; the kids were playing in the boy’s room upstairs and the boys got into the knotty toy box to get their beloved two Tonka trucks-always kept in there for safety, and there was Phillip, sitting there as pretty as could be-starving and oh so thirsty.

We immediately retrieved food and water for him which he made “hay” with in quick haste. I asked the children, “How do you think Phillip got in the box?”

The children answered resoundingly, “Luke found him and put him in there for us ‘cause he knows how much we love Phillip.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room and everyone had the “tingles” and knew it was true!

To this day, I love turtles. They hold the dearest place in my heart. They represent love, family, languish time, my children, and yes, my son Luke. Every opportunity I get, I find turtles, watch turtles, and swim with turtles. They are indeed magnificent creatures. Some turtles are born and live on land and love the water, and some are born on land and live in the water. I love how turtle mothers lay their baby sea turtle eggs in the sand and one by one those little critters crack out of their shells and crawl all the way through the sand to water of the ocean and swim to a brighter future. How beautiful. Just because we can’t see what they are doing or where they are going, does not mean they are not on important errands, just as Luke was with Phillip, testifying that there is more that goes on than meets the eye.

Photo 1= Phillip

Photo 2= twin grandsons with side-cut display of baby turtles hatching in the sand

Photo 3= close up of turtles hatching

Photo 4 = even closer up

Photo 5 = grandchildren and myself on our way to the beach

Photo 6 = found actual turtle eggs buried in the sand, protected, waiting for their miraculous hatching day age old process and timeless

Urge global cruise line to boycott turtle cruelty

Urge global cruise line to boycott turtle cruelty

Carnival Cruise Line ships tens of thousands of tourists to Cayman Turtle Centre each year, where sea turtles are abused for entertainment and farmed for meat. Help protect turtles now! Sign the petition! 

Determined sea turtle crosses 4-lane road 4 times to lay eggs -FlyKeysNews.com

It’s sea turtle nesting season and I hope you’ll take a minute to read this story from last Wednesday. A determined but distressed sea turtle and 4 lanes of traffic. Not a good mix. 

(By Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen via FlykeysNews.com )

A loggerhead turtle became disoriented early Wednesday morning and crossed a busy four-lane Key West road four times after laying her eggs on a path across the street from Smathers Beach, police said.

Around 5 a.m. Wednesday, someone reported seeing a loggerhead turtle laying her eggs on the Bridle Path across the street from Smather’s Beach. When officers arrived, they found the huge turtle attempting to cross the four-lane South Roosevelt Boulevard and return to the ocean. They set up a perimeter, blocking traffic to ensure safe passage for the turtle.

“We were well aware of the dire circumstances the turtle was in, having crossed the road once to make a nest in inhospitable terrain,” said Officer Carter Sims, who was the first to arrive on the scene.

The officers protected the turtle as she worked her way back to the beach and along about 40 feet of shoreline where a raft of seagrass blocked her from reentering the water. Distressed, she turned back to the road, crossed the four lanes of blacktop and returned to the Bridle Path.

While two of the officers protected the turtle from oncoming traffic, others located the nest full of eggs. They surrounded the site with crime tape and contacted the Key West Sea Turtle Club rescue group for help.

In the meantime, the exhausted turtle again turned to the beach and began to cross the boulevard. Again. Before her traverse was complete, the group of turtle rescue volunteers arrived, providing the officers with enough manpower and expertise to return the turtle back to the water. 

Next, the volunteers were able to relocate the nest so the hatchlings won’t be at risk when they make that first dangerous run to the sea. In all, there were 125 eggs, according to the Key West Sea Turtle Club.

The incident is a good reminder turtle nesting season is here and there are things people can do to make it safer for them. If you live near a beach, turn off outdoor lighting at night and shade windows because turtles are attracted to light.“Key West’s beaches are closed to the public each night at 11 p.m., and this time of year it’s vital that people heed the law,” Crean said.

The story has a happy ending, thanks to the key west turtle club and the local police, but it’s a good example of the impact we humans have on these animals. Sea turtles are easily disoriented by light and sounds and it’s important to abide by restrictions put in place to protect them and, their eggs,  in this case125 eggs full of hope for her species future.

Here are some things to remember when visiting the beaches this summer (Via US fish and wildlife)

  • Minimize beachfront lighting. Close blinds and draperies in oceanfront rooms and turn off outdoor lighting.
  • Remove all recreational equipment from the beach when not in use. This includes: chairs, umbrellas, towels, beach toys, etc.
  • Do not construct beach fires during the nesting season. The hatchlings could become disoriented and crawl toward the fire.
  • Refrain from using flashlights on the beach at night.
  • Do not take flash photography of a nesting sea turtle or hatchling.
  • Remove all of your trash from the beach -This includes cigarette butts.
  • Do not trample beach vegetation.
  • If you dig a hole in the sand fill it in before you leave the beach for the day.
  • When boating stay in the channels and avoid seagrass beds. Do not anchor your boat in a seagrass bed
  • Leave the tracks left by turtles undisturbed.
  • Do not disturb nest markers. Most beaches have volunteer programs that protect and monitor sea turtle nests.
  • Report unmarked nests, hurt or dead sea turtles to the local police or sea turtle volunteer organization.



The purpose of World Turtle Day is to “increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive”.

Here are a couple of ways that turtles are getting help.

How are these endangered baby sea turtles finding their way home? Mostly by themselves, but they get by with a little help from their friends 😀 From @itsokaytobesmart

Turtles grow up without parents, which might sound lonely. But for threatened baby turtles raised in a zoo it’s an advantage: they can learn to catch crickets all by themselves. There’s a paradox, though. When they are ready to leave the nursery, there is little wilderness where they can make a home.

From @kqedscience‘s DEEP LOOK