is one of my favorite books to read to children to help them understand death and loss. It is a story about the day Badger dies. His friends from the forest are all so sad. Then one of them has an idea! Perhaps if they thought of all the
Badger left them, it may help them with their grief. One by one, the animal friends remembered Badger ~ something he taught them to do or a new way of looking at life. It is a lovely example of
with those we love who pass away.
Every summer, since the 1996, the year of
passing, in the Redfern backyard, we receive some of
This story really begins when Scott was seven years old. He wanted a box turtle and he wanted to name it 'Bubba'. Scott worked very hard to earn the $40 he needed to buy Bubba. He built a cool deck with wheels to hold Bubba's glass aquarium. He kept Bubba in his bedroom at night, and each morning he would roll Bubba out to the sunlight that came in our sliding glass door during the day.
One day we bought a book about box turtles. Much to our surprise, we discovered that Bubba was not a
This didn't bother Scott. He simply changed
name to Bubbette!
It was not long before Scott earned more money and decided he would shop for another turtle ~ one he could
name, Bubba. Scott took care of Bubba and Bubbette. He built a raised garden in our backyard when he was about thirteen years old. He loved to add elements to the turtle's habitat - like shelters made out of broken clay pots and strawberry plants to give them shade and eats. Scott would gather snails from the yard and watch Bubba and Bubbette devour them!
Then in the spring of 1996, just about three months after Scott died, we were weeding the raised bed when we noticed Bubbette digging a deep hole with her back legs. She was able to dig a hole about six inches deep with her short three inch legs. And then, as if we were watching a nature show on PBS, she laid five eggs in the hole. And just like that, she filled in the hole with the pile of dirt she has removed from it.
This ritual has continued each summer since 1996. In fact, Bubbette sometimes lays up to three batches of eggs. If we happen to see her laying them, we mark the area with some small stakes. Then we wait. It is odd, but Bubbette normally lays the first batch around the end of May, near Memorial Day. We normally see the first hatchlings sometime around the start of September, near Labor Day. It is almost like clock-work!
Our turtle book tells us it is hard to raise turtles from eggs. Most eggs born in captivity do not hatch. They must have the perfect humidity as well as soft enough soil for the babies to dig out of their earthen womb. Yet, each summer we have new babies. That is why I believe the baby turtles to be some of Scott's
He never saw Bubbette lay eggs. He never held a tiny hatchling ~ some no bigger around than a nickel. But each year, as September comes, we experience the joy of Scott's parting gifts.
Here are two babies we found this week ~ eight babies in all hatched this summer. Bubba and Bubbette have outlived Scott. These babies will outlive me! Scott's niece and nephews will continue to receive
each summer and share the memory of Uncle Scott for years to come!