Janesville56.5°

Doing the terrapin airport walk

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Rick Horowitz
June 30, 2011

The pilot looked down from his cockpit one morn,


All prepared to depart JFK,


But moments before he could give it the gas,


He saw something crawl out of the Bay.





"There's a terrapin crossing the runway!" he cried,


"There's a turtle that's making a break.


It's very determined,


No smile on its face,


If only it knew how to pick up the pace!


There's a diamondback taking my space."





The tower crew heard the man's call of alarm,


For they knew of his plight all too well:


The season when old Mother Nature sings out --


And it's always on Runway 4L.





"There's a terrapin outside your window," they said,


"And another one right near your wheels,


A dozen or two


Of a similar kind


On a similar path (only slightly behind),


Hold position, sir -- if you don't mind."



The pilot considered the turtles below,


He -- like they -- was quite often hard-shelled,


The timetable mattered, but conscience did, too:


He could (italic)not(italic) let them be jet-propelled.





"Get those terrapins off of my runway," he said.


"I'll sit tight till the last one is gone.


We're all in a hurry,


But they're rushing, too,


It takes them a while, but they've plenty to do,


So I'll wait -- if it's OK with you."





Then Runway 4L was a turtle parade,


With a hundred or more on the move,


You've never seen anything nearly as fine


As those diamondbacks getting their groove.





"Cheer the terrapins crossing the runway!" we say.


Cheer for fortitude, instinct and pluck!


With heads held so proudly,


And four stubby legs,


They're off to the beach to deposit their eggs.


Here's to holes -- and to turtle-shaped pegs!


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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