VIOLA - Yesterday, I mentioned to my exercise class that I have over seventy turtles in my house.
“Alive?!” someone asked.
“No!” I exclaimed.
There was a collective gasp, followed by a sigh that sounded like the air coming out of 22 tractor tires all at once.
“No!” I yelped again as I realized now my class thought I had a home full of turtle carcasses.
“I collect turtles, but not sea turtles,” I explained. “Not that I don’t like sea turtles, because I do. But because I collect regular turtles—you know, the kind with a shell?”
Many blank stares, a few laughs, and lots of raised eyebrows, and I realized I was in over my head.
I collect replicas of non-sea-turtle turtles.
My home is full of turtles shaped from various metals, molded from clay, represented in paintings, photographs, or pencil drawings, etched, or depicted in stained glass.
My walls, windowsills, steps, counters, dressers, and bookshelves are full to the brim with my collection, but I still seem to find room to keep adding to it. Everywhere you look, in every single room, you’ll spot a turtle in some form: rose quartz, silver earrings, black onyx, a tile, my key chain, a leather purse-shaped like a turtle, and even a water pitcher.
I scour antique stores and rummage sales looking for turtles to add to my ever-growing collection. Art fairs are my favorite though. Lucky for me, the Driftless Art Fair will be held this coming weekend, Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, at Beauford T. Anderson Park in Soldiers Grove. And one of the best things about this annual fair, which keeps getting better and better, year after year, if that's even possible, is that it has no admission or parking fees.
You can find me at the fair on Saturday, my hands clasped behind my back, as I make my way, slow as a turtle, from booth to booth. You’ll see me sifting through bins of prints and spinning racks of jewelry. Maybe while hunting for turtles, I'll even find a few holiday gifts for family and friends.
You may hear me hooting and hollering, if I come across some handmade local art in the shape of a turtle. Or if I take a rest under the music tent, you just may hear me hooting and hollering anyway, enjoying the local talent while munching on something delicious from one of the food vendors.I hope you come out and support our local artists. I also hope you stick around for some lively music. And I hope you don’t spy me pigging out on goodies at Mary’s Berries, but if you do, please take a minute to say hello!