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The turtle was scared, but he saddled up anyway, like his hero John Wayne


The turtle was daring greatly.

This morning  a turtle crossed the road in front of my car. I stopped the car in the middle of the road, put my emergency flashers on, and exited the car.

The turtle was daring greatly. He wanted to go somewhere, and he was risking his life to get there. He probably wasn’t aware of the risk. Perhaps his mother had warned him of the dangers.

“Don’t cross the road, Tommy. This side of the road is safe. Don’t risk crossing. There are plenty of pretty turtles over here you can marry.”

But Tommy, who loved to watch John Wayne movies, quoted his hero to his mother, “Mom, courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. I am scared Mom, but I will cross the road.”

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
John Wayne

Tommy the turtle, wanted to find his own adventures.

Tommy started to cross the road just as we drove up the hill. I couldn’t see his mother, she was probably hiding behind a tree, praying for her son to cross the road without getting hit by a car.

Tommy didn’t have a horse, but he had courage. 

After we photographing Tommy Turtle, my daughter carried him to the other side of the road.

Carrying the turtle across the road

Tommy could have failed in his mission to cross the road. He could have been run over by a car, eaten by a hawk, or he could have fallen off his horse, if he had one.

Tommy could also be successful in his attempt to cross the road. He could dodge traffic, hide in his shell until the hawk flew away,  gallop across the road on his horse, if he had one, or get carried across.

Are you like Tommy the Turtle? Are you scared? Are you willing to cross the road?

Who knows, there may be someone to help you get across.

Be scared and get on  your horse, if you have one. 

If you don’t have a horse, walk.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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  • Janelle

    I love turtles, and I love John Wayne. I’d just never put them together before!

    • Yes, it is not every day you meet a turtle who quotes John Wayne.

  • A John Wayne-quoting turtle is my kind of reptile. He dared greatly and crossed the road to follow his destiny, just like John Wayne crossing the Red River.

    • I wonder if John Wayne’s mother was hiding behind a tree praying for him when he crossed the Red River.
      Is that reference from a particular movie? A John Wayne movie may be in order this weekend. Tommy the Turtle has inspired me to be brave.

      • Yes, I think it was the first film John Wayne did with director Howard Hawks. But the greatest John Wayne movie off all time is “The Searchers,” followed by “Who Shot Liberty Valance?”

  • Christa Sterken

    my daughter is the biggest john wayne fan perhaps on earth. I’ll have to share your story next time she needs courage

    • Please do. She can cross the road and you can hide behind a tree and pray.