1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nature Notes--A Winter's Tale About Moe and Joe

What? Have I twice said well? When was 't before?
I prithee, tell me. Cram 's with praise and make 's
As fat as tame things. One good deed dying
Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.
Our praises are our wages...
--from William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Act I, Scene 2--

Before I begin my story about Moe and Joe, I'll treat you with a sursum-corda look at my pink Gerbera daisies and one of our two baby pink grapefruit trees. They do tend to brighten up an otherwise fading-into-winter landscape here in Northwest Florida. Secret Aging Man picked our one grapefruit since this picture was taken a few days before the last full moon, and let me tell you, it was juicy but lip-puckering tart. If I were the kind of person who always says "I told you so," I would have reminded him that we had a discussion about the optimal time for picking the fruit. I'm learning to bite my tongue, though, about certain things. Most situations in life just aren't worth picking a fight, even if it does boost the old ego or enhance the mojo to take someone else down a notch or two. Secret Aging Man has endured enough ego deflation or mojo meltdown being unemployed this past year to last him a lifetime. It's still true, for better or worse, that a man's notion of self-worth is married to his ability to provide for his family. Thankfully, SAM's persistent, yearlong job search has paid off, and he's "moving forward"--have we had enough of that term yet?--with his career. Now I can tell Moe and Joe's story...

Every time I see a turtle now I think about a guy in Kentucky named Joe Sly--not his real surname--and his anniversary gift to his wife Moe. When I was favored with a glimpse of this box turtle, Terrapene carolina--not sure of the subspecies--several weeks ago as it crossed our back yard, my mind slipped back in time to old Joe and his odd turtle story. Secret Aging Man crossed paths with Joe when they both worked for an environmental consulting company in Paducah. SAM the geologist and Joe Sly the GeoProbe Guy worked as a team looking for subsurface contamination coming from leaking underground storage tanks. Back when state and federal funds for this kind of work just about grew on trees, in the mid 1990s, SAM had no trouble landing a job in Kentucky after selling his own environmental service company. Times were good for most Americans then as the nation's prosperity was kicked into high gear. Even Joe brought home a sizable paycheck for his labor with the GeoProbe, but his east Kentucky frugality never left him. One day while working on an out-of-town project near a lake, Joe spotted a huge snapping turtle in the water. Somehow he managed to wrestle the thing onto dry land without getting bitten and put it into a wide bucket. He took it back to his hotel room that evening and kept it alive in the bathtub for a few days until he could get it home to his wife. As the story goes, when he separated the animal from its shell, he found a gold ring stuck tightly around the proximal end of its tail. Since Joe's wedding anniversary was coming up, he considered himself doubly blessed. He was finally able to give Moe the real gold ring she'd never had as well as able to present her with some of the finest turtle meat ever to grace a table. We never got to meet Moe and hear her side of the story, so this might just be one of those Tall Tales that men at work tell each other to lighten the load.
For more posts this week about nature and the change of seasons, please visit


  1. I like those Ruby Reds over the Duncan grapefruit. Much less bitter.

  2. Yes..sometimes it is better to keep the mouth shut.. after years of marriage, I still fail frequently at that one..and so does my husband person...but.. Anyway.. I am glad that things are improving in your neighborhood and enjoyed the story. I've heard that snappers was very tasty but also loaded with toxins that they absorb from their long lives in nasty water... but the ring was the better present.. Great post for Nature Notes....Michelle

  3. What a great story of Moe and Joe! I love turtle soup and gravy!!! LOL. A gold ring really would be a bonus!!!

    All of our citrus has lovely to have a little pink grapefruit tree, or two!!!

  4. Wonderful post that made me smile, and great photos.

  5. I enjoyed a sunburst tangerine and a red navel orange today ... both delicious. Citrus is one of the great perks of living in Florida.

  6. That was an interesting story about the turtle.:)

    Glad your husband has found a job!

  7. Like a fable of old, and was the ring enchanted as well?

  8. SR, ours are Ruby Red (I think--I lost the tags!). The fruit wasn't at all bitter, just sour as can be.

    Michelle, you're probably right about the snappers' toxicity, but could it be much worse than eating fast food or hot dogs? Thanks for hosting a great meme!

    Julie, I actually got to taste some turtle last year when SAM was working on an oil rig. One of the roughnecks caught a turtle, took it home, cleaned and soaked it in brine, and then roasted it. I have to admit that it was fairly tasty. Sorry about your citrus. The lady at the local nursery assured me that grapefruit is the way to go where we are. Oranges, lemons, and tangerines have to be covered or otherwise protected when it frosts here, but the grapefruit does okay. We had our first test when it was down into the upper 20s a few nights ago. They're doing fine so far.

    Thanks, Denise. I'm glad to provide a smile or two.

    Yeah, go on and brag, Mr. S. We don't have any citrus groves around here, so it's not quite as fresh or cheap as you can get it. We're going to be paying a visit to SAM's mom pretty soon, though, and I'm hoping to bring some of that good stuff home with us.

    Thank you, Stine. I've been asking SAM to tell the story himself since he heard it from the horse's mouth, but he declined. I'm sure his version would have been even funnier since I've got the story secondhand.

    Arija, maybe the ring was enchanted! A couple of years after SAM left the company, we heard that Joe fell down an elevator shaft while working at a factory site and survived the fall with no life-threatening injuries.

  9. As a recruiter, I meet many men, mostly older and wiser, who have been unemployed and it is the worst part of my job. The younger ones have less to fear and are full of cocky hope in the next job.

    Nice story. Not sure I'd want a ring from a turtle's butt although I am also a frugal person. So ... maybe ...

  10. LOL, I'd like to hear Moe's side of the story, too. Joe sounds like my husband--he works for the state highway department and is always bringing home something he picked up alongside the highway, often things he thinks the grandkids would enjoy. My daughters-in-law are always a little wary of his "gifts." I think if he brought me a gold ring, I would question it, too:)

    So glad to hear that SAM's job search has been successful!

  11. A good story, true or not. I was just thinking, there aren't a lot of turtle tales.

    I agree with you on staying silent. Especially since the fruit was already picked. Nothing to be gained from scolding the spouse. If he ate some of it, he must have realized his mistake.

  12. Good for you and your Secret Aging Man...congrats! About keeping one's mouth shut, oh I know it so well! Tact is a virtue I try to live with but it isn't always easy!!

    Loved the story about Moe and Joe. Even if it could've been a tall tale:)

    Your gerbera daisies are so pretty. So's the grapefruit shot. Really nice.

  13. dsmcaron, what makes meeting the older men the worst part of your job? Do the companies you recruit for assume that anyone over 50 is not a viable job candidate? I'm glad you liked the story and that you're frugal as well.

    Rose, sometimes those side-of-the-road finds are pretty valuable. There was a story on the local news last night about a power company employee finding a bag containing football championship rings and cash lying next to the road. The owner of the bag had left them on top of his vehicle and driven off. The Good Samaritan was treated to dinner out with the football hero. He'll probably get a raise or promotion at work too.

    Marnie, thanks. You mean the story about the tortoise and the hare doesn't count? I've always liked the moral of that story. It pretty well describes my ethos anyway. We both tasted the fruit and then piled on spoonfuls of sugar. He picked it because he was afraid it would be lost to the subzero temps we were told to expect last week.

    Thank you, Kanak. The job couldn't have come at a better time, right between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now we're hoping for a New Year's sell the house quickly. If we do in this housing market, it would definitely qualify as a miracle!

  14. I love that first image.

    I just watched the RSC production of A Winter’s Tale for my class. It’s not my favorite Shakespeare play by far, but as you show, it has some good lines.

    I can relate to SAM as an unpublished author. Rejection and waiting is tough but hopefully the career will come together in the long run. These are tough times.

    That’s quite a turtle tale!

  15. Hi, Sarah! It's not smooth sailing just yet for us since we have to sell the house and move a couple hundred miles away, but at least we get to stay in Florida. You will get published soon, I'm sure, and all of the preparations you've been making for it with the blog will pay handsome dividends for you. You've got a loyal following already.

  16. I take it Joe ate the turtle? Very tasty, we used to eat them from the Allegheny, didn't know (Ramblingwoods) they were toxic (no one thought about such things then, remember the gov't aerial spraying the town's elm trees with DDT, us kids watching in amazement (and getting dusted too)--I'm sure we all carry our markers from that era).

    The gold ring is a kind of marker too, it you've ever seen an abandoned open pit heap leach gold mine...

    Hope you & SAM get to the old geology field camp in Montana someday. Speaking of geologists, seismologist friend Mike Stickney panned enough gold from Butte's local creek for his & Debbie's wedding bands. Gotta love 'em geologists.

  17. Yes, EcoRover, Joe and his wife consumed the turtle, and he claimed it was mighty fine! Those markers we carry around seem more like millstones than milestones. Not that I'm knocking marriage! I mean the toxic things we absorb. Ever attend school or work in a building where asbestos "dust" and lead paint particles rained down on you whenever a door slammed nearby? Have old amalgam fillings that need replacing? Those were the good old days...I'm wondering if your friend had an extremely long engagement. I mean, how much time does it take to find enough gold for two rings by panning for it in a creek?

  18. What an interesting story about that turtle that gave that gold ring - sounds so much like the mother goose that laid golden eggs.

    Well, its been said, Silence is Golden, didn't see you have tied both of this story here.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and your comment, really appreciate that.

  19. Beautiful and lovely shot !! This is so fantastic !!Unseen Rajasthan

  20. It might be just one of those tales but the way you told it was amazing. Many thanks. And yes, tell SAM that grapefruits bite back :-).

    Greetings from London.

  21. Mr. M, you're right! The story does sound a little like a fable, almost too unbelievable to be true, and with a fantastic treasure for extra reading pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your post about Blotanical was thought-provoking.

    I'm glad you liked it, Bharat. The images and impressions you keep posting from your country do make me wish to travel there someday.

  22. What a cool story. Congrats to you and SAM on the positive career change.

  23. Hmmm, for about 12.3 seconds I thought you were talkin about this Kentuckian! Paducah is a couple hundred miles west and a little south of where my family lives. And did you know that Mrs. TC's name is Maureen and she goes by "Mo" sometimes? And did you also know that I had a pet turtle when I was a kid, it weren't a snapper of course. Just a big box turtle.

    And aren't all grapefruit "lip-puckering tart?"

    If my praises were my wages I reckon I just might be a millionaire! (In my own mind anyway.)

  24. Thanks, ACIL. Because of your story, I'll never look at escalator travel in quite the same way again. So funny!

    Hi, MBT. SAM is enjoying his job. He says it's great to be busy again.

    TC, if you're a millionaire in your own mind, then you've got a leg up on the "real" rich boys. They never think they have enough. A certain golfer comes to mind right about now...

  25. Great story and even better news for SAM. This story has inspired me to write one about our honeymoon and the giant turtle I caught out fishing.

  26. Glad I could be of assistance, TB. It sounds like your turtle story will be a good one. I guess your wife didn't mind that you were fishing while on your honeymoon. I hope you didn't make her clean the fish or the turtle!

  27. A new book?? Cool. I didn't know you were published!

  28. Great story, W2W, and very well told--thank you for sharing it with us. A lovely turtle graced our back yard in North Florida (and then my blog) recently as well--is it the season for turtles to "yard it up" a bit? :>) Wonderful news for you and SAM that the long search is over. All the best to you in this holiday season!

  29. It's not much, just a couple of nonfiction stories in an anthology, but it's a start, TC, and--wonder of wonders!--I convinced SAM to participate. Thank you for commenting about it. The best part of the experience has been meeting a wonderful group of writers, all of them encouragers and mentors.

    Thanks, Mary. I think I started reading your blog about the time that you did the turtle post. I'm not sure why the turtle crossings are so common this time of year. Mating season maybe, or are they looking for a spot to hibernate? Whatever the reason, I'm glad I got the chance to see them, snap a few pics, and learn a little bit about them. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season too!

  30. Hi W2W,

    Stopped by to tell you that I've moved to Wordpress. And also to wish you and your loved ones A MERRY CHRISTMAS and a wonderful year ahead! Hugs to Micah.