Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tennessee Dinosaurs

I went to Radnor Lake last week with Anne Blair Brown to start painting for the Chestnut Group Radnor Lake exhibit in November and as we were looking for a spot we came across this "dinosaur" you see in the photo above. It was one of the largest Snapping turtles I have seen. It was huge.
The Chelyda Serpentina, or Snapping Turtle is one of those creatures that evolution got to a certain point and then just blew right by. These are the closest thing we have to dinosaurs. They got to a point millions of years ago and haven't changed much. Haven't had to. They are like the shark and alligator, perfect at what they do. Eat, breed, repeat. Sounds like a pretty good routine.
When I was a kid my brother had a Boa Constrictor and used to win the pet show at Central Elementary grade school every year. He had one more year to win on the challenge trophy to get to take it home. About a week before the big show I caught a snapping turtle out of the creek about 100 yards from the school and entered him in the pet show. Guess who didn't get to take the challenge trophy home? That's right. I beat him with a creek turtle I caught the week before. When he would pull that snake out of the cage the crowd would oooh and aahhh. When I pulled the turtle out I got nothing.........except a big fat blue ribbon and my name on the challenge trophy. Caused a bit of a "stir" in the family. And this story gets more surreal by telling you that the judge that year was Huell Howser. He was a weatherman in Nashville at that time and was the closest thing to a celebrity we knew. He went on to do a show I see from time to time called California Gold. Google him.
I guess snapping turtles can do three things. Eat, breed, and kick your little brother's ass in a pet show.

1 comment:

shirley fachilla said...

I was the "baby" in my family so I feel for your brother. It's a wonder you didn't find a boa in your bedda one night.
Oh yeah, like your painting very much.