12/9 amos

Editor’s note: When the cold air blew in this week, one of Amos’ avid readers requested that Amos reprint the column about the old turtle’s tale about cold weather. Amos is a church mouse, who types by hopping on the computer keyboard, but he can’t operate the capital shift, and he shuns punctuation except dashes and hyphens.

the old turtle s tale

what a week boss here i was
just walking down the sidewalk
minding my own business
when all of a sudden my
whiskers started shivering
snowflakes started sticking
to my eyelashes a cold icy
wind started whipping
through my brown-gray fur
and icicles started forming in
a row on my tail let me tell
ya boss it was cold

it reminds me of the winter
of nineteen-eighteen said
crotchety old tommy
turtle now that was a
cold spell he said all the
beetles took the flu
cats froze to death in the
alleyways

maybe it could happen
again said willifred the
white rat with something
of a gleam in his eye

oh it wasn t only the cats
said old mr turtle
mice and rats died in bunches
gathered around dried-up bits
of cheese cows froze in 12-foot
snowdrifts goldfish and catfish
were preserved in solid blocks
of ice in stock tanks all over
the country

that sounds awful says i

it was nodded the wrinkled
old turtle solemnly

but how did you survive it
all asked freddie the flea

it wasn t easy i tell ye
the old turtle replied
i thought sure i was gonna
die but i prayed and i prayed
then i saw a hobo s fire near
the frozen railroad track so i
hurried as fast as my little
frozen feet and my little
ice-covered shell could
carry me said he
when i got there the hoboes
welcomed me to their warm
little fire they were so kind
and nice to me

i thought this is great
they invited me to supper so i
said sure why not
but when i asked what they
were having to eat they said
turtle soup and grinned this
wicked little grin

so what did you do says i
certain that i was catching
the flu

well i thought sure i was
gonna die but i prayed and i
prayed
i tried to run away but you
know how fast we turtles
are they caught me on my
second step and dropped me
in a pot of boiling water it sure
did feel good but then i knew
i would be dead soon if
something didn t happen quick

so what happened then we all
asked the old turtle again

nothing as the story goes said
he the temperature fell another
twenty degrees which caused
the fire to freeze
the hoboes couldn t stand me
raw so they up and throwed the
turtle out with his bath water

well we all shivered and
groaned boss as we hurried to
our little homes

now i m not one to call an old
turtle a liar boss but methinks
his tale has been embellished
by its telling over the years

amos