How many 10-year-old girls do you know who had a best friend named Myrtle? I don’t remember initially how we became inseparable. Myrtle was a bigger-than-life tortoise, a fond memory that was “real” from my childhood.
My brother liked racing his Matchbox cars, while I loved watching Myrtle slowly maneuver her fatigue-green tanker across the room. Daddy decided that she needed grazing time in our spacious backyard, so he gently drilled a small hole on the back tip of her armor. Attached with a string to the sprinkler head, my beloved pet loved her new-found freedom. Over our fence you couldn’t find an annoying barking dog, but rather just carefree Myrtle making herself right at home exploring the luscious green lawn.
I often wonder how I was allowed to have such an extraordinary pet when my parents were a family all about “image.” Growing up in an affluent neighborhood with expensive, mansion-like homes fit for a governor, judge and medical doctors, Myrtle was a priceless example of truly what a lonely little girl needed.