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Bragg about Billings By ADDISON BRAGG

It would be nice, it would be original and it would be a refreshing change for the advertising folks — who love to think up special designations for days, weeks, even months as another mother lode to be exploited to the fullest in this merchandise-driven society of ours — to add some variety to the mix.

In brief, instead of pumping the vegetable well dry when National Pickle Week, among others, comes around or causing an epidemic of stiff necks by promoting a Visit Your Local Giraffe Day at the zoo, why not move closer to home and see what’s waiting for us in fond remembrance (as I think Proust put it ) of things past.

I’m just thinking that we might well give consideration to an annual national Own Your Own Turtle Week, directed mainly toward those who have missed part of the fun of growing up by having never had a turtle they could call their own.

A personal turtle can be compared to that first puff on a grapevine “cigarette” as part of being a boy on his way to growing up. And turtles are as much of an adventure in hunting as they are a triumph in finding. Who, for example, can ever forget the experience of coming to a quiet pond and seeing a saucer-size turtle sunning itself on a half-submerged log, moving up, ever so quietly, and making a quick grab before he slides off into the water with a familiar “plop?”

And what about that yellow and black box turtle you caught in the middle of a country road and came to the rescue before the next car came along. Suffice it to say that drivers back then didn’t run over turtles intentionally. They just never saw them in time and box turtles, as anyone should know, blend in pretty well with oiled gravel.

There are many advantages to being a turtle owner, not the least of which is that turtles, like stamps, can be kept or traded. They are portable and I have yet to find, let along hear of, anyone suffering from turtlephobia as some do with snakes or bats.

And besides, who ever heard of a runaway turtle? Crawlaway turtles, certainly. But the turtle capable of running anywhere has yet, so far as I know, to be invented.

I have taken turtles to school and home again with no more trouble than were I carrying a book. And one can paint or carve one’s initials on a turtle and while other hopes may fade through the years, the one remaining will be that great thrill of finding that turtle once again. (One reads about such things happening but I know of nobody it has ever happened to.)

Turtles are hardy creatures, settling for bits of fruit, lettuce leaves or berries — I owned a box turtle once who pigged out on mulberries to the extent he was completely unable to “box” himself in when disturbed.

They are stable as well. Turn one on its back and chances are it’s still there when you need it again.

Best of all, turtles are relatively worry-free. They don’t chase cars. They don’t keep neighbors awake at night by baying at the moon. And they don’t jump on furniture.

So the advertising guys should suggest that you own your own turtle, if only for one week of the year. And you’d be surprised what could be learned by it. I can speak from experience. Before I went through a dozen or more turtles from box to snapping, I found out and remember to this day how to define a turtle, a tortoise and a terrapin.

And what’s more and from what I hear, they all make pretty good soup.Addison Bragg can be reached at