Jekyll Island Heroes

By Brenda S. Brown

 

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 June. 

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 shoreline. 

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, Georgia. 
 
 

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