It’s Yertle The Turtle Again, Isn’t It?

As a college student, I briefly nannied this horrible shit of a Kindergartener. I say “briefly” because when one’s head and heart tells them to address a 5-year-old as a “shit” (even internally), it becomes clear that career choices at some point were askew. Also his mother paid me like a blind beggar, insisting she was shoving silent dollar bills in my cup when I noticed the lack of change’s jingle. Anyways, a major contributor to this boy’s hideousness was his imaginary turtle, Yertle.

I read enough to understand the Seuss from whence the turtle came to life for the boy, but Yertle’s innocent children’s book upbringing didn’t negate cold, hard facts. It was Yertle, the kid would claim, who kicked me in the shins. Yertle, he would giggle, loved creeping behind the couch and pulling hair from the nanny’s scalp “cuz he’s snapping turtle so he’s snapping etch yer head!”. Yertle also enjoyed long bouts of eye-gauging,  coloring Crayon murals across walls, and playing Spit Fountain. And surely every night it was this faux tortoise who stirred the boy from sleep, forced him to jump off his bed and scale bookshelves, or stick plastic figurines into very live outlets. This Yertle The Turtle, all be him fake as a spray tan, was ruining my perfectly carefree college existence. Being nineteen and as sensitive as such, I took the opportunity to break bad news to the boy at every turn. After months of watching the small child weekly, I told him daily that the imaginary could not be real, that Yertle was fake and his lack of being was a good thing, as I wasn’t getting paid by Yertle’s mother not to punch him. In turn, the 5-year-old told me hourly of Yertle’s incredibly detailed life, refusing to believe that what he wanted to be simply wasn’t.

We went for a walk one day. I counted down the minutes until his mother returned home. He daintily walked Yertle on an invisible turtle leash. And I almost didn’t hear it, the boy’s gentle crying, when I looked to find him crouched over the sidewalk. And even upon hearing it, I almost didn’t believe it, as I’d come to have full faith that the kid had little soul not possessed by some kind of awful. “There you are,” he lisped through tears. “Yertle”. A random turtle crossed our path, and this boy- so fiercely told that what he so believed was true was not- felt the full weight of seeing something real that he had always hoped would be.


Me: “Kathy loves crafting. I bet she’d be helping me craft if she lived closer”.

Doubter: “Hmm. Ok. Yeah, um. I bet she would.”

Me: “You know Kathy lived in Haiti and she had dinner once with a dictator/ President/ terrorist dude. His name is Baby Doc but not like the OBGYN. He sold people’s body parts and stuff so he probably wasn’t a real doctor at all. I wouldn’t certify that guy.”

Doubter: “Of course she did. How did this Kathy also live in Kentucky. It was Kentucky right? Has she had dinner with Colonel Sanders who was probably not a real Colonel?

Me: “Oh, well yeah. She’s in Kentucky now with Sara. Sara’s her partner. Have I told you about Sara? Ahh, she’s just the coolest. She saves the world all Captain Planet style. I’ll have to check about dinner with the Colonel, though. She never blogged about that. Ew! But she did just write the most interesting thing about growing up in the Mob. Well, kind of in the Mob. Basically enough in the Mob that there were raids and FBI guys and her dad’s shady business dealings and hidden papers and all kinds of secret spy sounding stuff! So, you know, about 100% more in the Mob than I’ve ever been.”

Doubter: ” Haitian Dictator Dinners, Kentucky Captain Planet, Mobster Crafting. Got it. Wow. Sounds like this ‘Kathy’ is busy. And you’re friends?”

Me: “Blogging buddies like you would not believe! I’ve never met her or anything, Oh!, but I get to meet her soon…. on my wedding day… for the first time.”

Doubter: “Oh, honey. Sure. Just… sure. You and your imaginary Kathy have a really, um,  special friendship.”

In conversations such as these it became clear that to these real-live people sitting across from my real-live self my so-called relationship with this figment of blogging grandeur was as false and dumbly rejecting reality as walking Yertle on his little, turtle leash right down the aisle with me. But I knew what I knew. My imaginary Kathy is kind and smart, a fiercely talented artist, an honest soul who shares it all on her blog. My imaginary Kathy supports my writing, my family, and myself. My imaginary Kathy is a friend I feel I’ve cherished for years. My imaginary Kathy  talks like we are all right there with her, sharing sips of coffee and rejoicing in the knowing of each other. My imaginary Kathy planned to be there on my wedding day, and more than all of this, my imaginary Kathy is not imaginary. I’d heard all the skepticism, laughter at a silly friendship that could not possibly be. I tried my best to be brave in the face of doubters as I made my way through rows of guests at my wedding reception. I saw her in all her realness, vibrant and warm just like I thought she’d be, and I felt the sudden understanding of a boy on a sidewalk:

There you are.


I don’t think words were said. If they were I can only hope I didn’t call my imaginary Kathy, Kertle, right to her very real face. There was just a flood of emotion, a teary thank you to the universe that a thing, a person, I’d so hoped to be was. Kertle and her partner, the planet-saving Sara, danced and dined and loved and talked among my family and friends, those folks I’d always accepted as real by blood and human contact. If they were just a figment of my imagination, the two fit in with the world of the real and real crazy swimmingly.

Beyond the getting married bit, the treasure of my wedding day was discovering Yertle or Kertle or whatever it is that we call “beliefs we didn’t need to see to believe but got the chance to see anyways”. Throughout the night I’d catch mental snapshots of Kathy and Sara,  loving with an authenticity a government doubts. I heard them laughing their way into a family of amazons, sure if one were to see their petite selves amidst the rest of us 6-footers, one would surely doubt they were kin. I shouldered up to their table and had a conversation as old friends do, grasping occasionally at the solid table and inappropriately reaching for their hands to make sure this was skin, and noise, and true.

Kertle wears a fashionable purple shell.
My mom, giving the girls a lesson in funk.
Dancing: Fun at any height.
I’m talking with imaginary tact before dancing with my imaginary rhythm.

I met a blogging friend for the first time on my wedding day. I thought she was wonderful, in and out of posts and comment sections, but she was more. By the end of the evening my family extended invitations to more upcoming weddings, Facebook friend requests, and hugs, and it was clear. There was no doubt that regardless of the means of the meet, the time known, the history had or yet to be made, a friend is a friend, and to doubt that would be to diminish it. So, thank you, my imaginary Kathy, Kertle, for being the real deal and making our wedding day special beyond what we ever could imagine.

Have you ever met a blogging buddy in person?

Was he or she what you were expecting?

53 thoughts on “It’s Yertle The Turtle Again, Isn’t It?

  1. This post reflects just as it was…I hugged Kathy, uuummm Kertle, the minute I saw them and felt I’d known them for a long time. Precious. The detail of you two being there was special.

    1. Oh, Vicki, thanks so much for making us feel welcome. Your hugging us as soon as we stepped off the elevator was dear! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend at Lanie’s wedding. Sorry we couldn’t be there! You have a very special family!

      1. Oh we missed you two this weekend! Lanie’s wedding was so fun! Also? My mom wants to crash any and all bloggy get togethers. We talked about that a lot on the long ride home 🙂 We’ll all have to visit soon!

  2. Love this, Tori. I’ve never met any long-distance bloggers in person (just bloggers I already knew from around town). I would love to meet Kathy and Sara one day, though– and, of course, YOU! You’re 18 shades of awesome, and I’m down with that. 🙂

  3. A beautiful tribute to both Kathy, and the power of blogging. I haven’t yet met a blogging friend in person, but certainly hope to one day… my sister lives in Louisville, so I’m looking at you, Tori.

    1. If you come to Louisville, I want to meet you too. It’s only an hour and 15 minute drive from my house–maybe less. I suggest the three of us get together! Plus, Sara, of course. Wouldn’t that be fun!

  4. Thank God this imaginary post got up and running! I can’t tell you how dear this is–and how dear you are! Sara and I were so honored to be at your wedding and, by George, found to be the real thing. We’ll miss you all this weekend. Give our love to your family. And, of course, we love you, too, dear heart! Thank you for this precious post!

    1. Kertle, my apologies if I’ve just forced a ridiculous nickname on you 🙂 It just might stick! We will miss you this weekend but will give everyone your love. Between the two weddings, I might just be writing wedding posts until the end of time!

  5. This is such a lovely post. I was privileged to meet Kertle last year as well as Sara. So I know they are real, and now, vicariously through them, I know you are real too. Someday we too shall meet, I hope. Meanwhile, thank you for making my day brighter with your posts.

    1. I considered including sound clips with the photos… but I was told hiccup-y crying is more obnoxious than sentimental 🙂 I was so, so glad to finally meet Kathy and know, once and for all, that she is not at all a talented Spam-bot.

  6. Coming over from Kathy’s (Kertle) and am so happy I did. I, too, am an imaginary friend and have loved getting to know her over the past 5 months or so. I read when she went to your lovely wedding and was drawn into the whole affair through her pictures and words. I have also called my blogger friends I have not met my imaginary friends but truth be known—most of them are more real than some of my flesh and blood see in person friends! It is such a great world, isn’t it?? Thanks for a lovely post about a lovely woman and her love !

    1. Beth Ann, I’m so glad you stopped by! I love your point about some blogging ties feeling more like friendships that face-to-face relationships. I can’t tell you how many times over the last few years this community of friends has supported, entertained, and made me think on days when other friends right next door couldn’t. It is an amazing thing to think how closely we can bond over words!

  7. Lovely, lovely, lovely! The boy with the turtle kicked me in the heart at the end, and your meeting Kathy lifted me up. This gives me hope that the friendships we form here on the interwebz really can come true.

  8. I think it is so awesome that Kathy and Sara came to your wedding, and that was the place you first met them in person. It will always be so special to all of you.

    I try to meet every blogging buddy I can, and I have never, ever been disappointed in them. I hope they feel the same when they meet me. 🙂

  9. Love this post! I am actually going to meet Kathy and Sara (who in my mind have just been inflated to celebrity status) the end of June. Cannot wait!

    1. Miranda, you totally get it. I was impressed that Kathy didn’t show up with an entourage of security and insist of being fanned throughout the night with giant palm leaves. In my head they are just too cool to be true, and after meeting them I can promise you, they really are THAT cool (minus the diva personality, of course!).

  10. So the next time I’m visiting in Tennessee, I’m going to have to come knocking on your door to make sure you’re real. Who knows, maybe this is all a figment of my imagination.

    I’m so happy that you, Kathy and Sara got to meet in person. It’s the cherry on top of the wedding sundae.

    1. It IS! I am a really weird mirage. This is like the bloggy version of the Matrix 🙂 Fake-bot or not, I’d LOVE to meet you if you ever find yourself in Sweet Tea Country! We have the fanciest Cracker Barrel Old Country Store here. You are in for a treat, ma’am 🙂

      1. How well you know me! I once drove 2 hours to get to a Cracker Barrel just to get me some biscuits. My mom lives near Cookeville, so I get my sweet tea fix a few times a year!

  11. This is the sweetest post. Glad you and your imaginary friend were able to meet and feel the love in person–on such a special day in your life!

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