In addition to managing the family-owned propane business and serving as a
volunteer firefighter, our daddy was, for numerous years, the Chief Tax Assessor
in Stewart County. The position was appointed and they served on a voluntary
basis. Even though daddy didn't earn a stipend, the appointment precipitated an
invitation to attend the annual convention, a four day event, held in late
Over the years we made reservations at various resorts on the island but the
most memorable location, which was the site of the convention, was situated at
the end of the island, and had a swimming pool in the shape of the state of
Georgia. In those days most pools were equipped with fiberglass diving boards,
but this establishment had a sliding board and a high-dive tower.
Daddy attended the daily work-session and mamma enjoyed lounging at the pool, so
David and I were free to roam on the beach, until the beginning of the evening
festivities. After attending the social hour and dinner, the teenagers were
allowed to wander down the boardwalk and hang-out on the lighted part of the
We were frequently cautioned not to bother the sea turtles that laid eggs in the
dark areas of the seashore. Then one memorable evening a mamma turtle somehow
followed bad directions and wandered into the lighted area where the teenagers
were listening to rock and roll music on a portable radio, and subsequently
began digging a cavernous hole.
All the merriment stopped while the frantic turtle completed her excavation and
deposited golf ball sized objects into the freshly dug beach-sand. After
birthing about one hundred soft shelled eggs, she used her giant flippers to
cover them and then rested a moment before continuing her laborious journey.
When she began moving, instead of approaching the ocean, she began wandering
toward the dense woods; to our dismay, she was traveling in the wrong
direction. We followed along trying to determine a means of intervention,
without adding further confusion to the humongous reptile.
When the frantic digging of pot-holes and some gentle persuasion with a piece of
driftwood brought no results we decided that we must take drastic action before
she disappeared into the thicket of woods in her path. On the count of three we
grabbed the edge of the algae-covered shell and quickly turned her in the
correct direction; a potential disaster interrupted.
We reported the incident to our parents and the attending state officials, and
subsequently became unlikely heroes at the convention there in Jekyll Island,