Gargoyle 11
cover etching by Scott McIntyre
publication date 5/25/1979


Turtle Soup

Joyce Renwick

In Ohio when I was a child, about once a
year the family (all Germans except for one Polish Uncle)
prepared to drink beer and cook turtle soup all day if
Uncle Bass, the turtle catcher, the Polish one, you
guessed it, would agree, often under the influence of
Schnapps, to Nvacle into the creek with a long pole and
poke under rocks searching for one of those surprised
snapping turtles which, looking for a hand–usually
Uncle Bass’ hand–to clamp down on, would be captured
from the rear, and with a flying about-face onto shore,
would snap its jaws instead onto the plyers held by
another uncle, who would gleefully pry off the heads
and the toenails of the astonished beasts, ignoring
Uncle Bass’ yelping and exclaiming this year was better
than last, and this snapper was better than the last
one, if only someone would take it off his hand and
throw it into the pot to boil, soften, open its shell
and fall off the bones into soup–lovely, brown,
turtle party soup.