Buddy and Me

By Kenneth Hesselbacher

This story started a long, long time ago. It was before the COVID pandemic. Specifically, it happened on April 22, 2019 at 10:10 AM. It was such a wonderful feel-good tale that I wrote an article about it that appeared in the May 2019 issue of The Bronxville Bulletin. 

And now five years have passed. Over these years I sometimes wondered if the young man and woman who took part in this rescue mission had the same good feeling. I admit that I have often seen the heron fishing in the Bronx River, but I have never bonded with him. Of course, the fate of the baby turtle has never been far from my thoughts.

Until last week when once again our paths crossed. I was walking along the Bronx River Pathway about two miles north of Bronxville Lake and there he was once again in the middle of the path. I realize that we live in a skeptical world and there are some who would question the word of an aging octogenarian. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

At first, I was not sure that it was him. I approached him and said, “Hey Buddy, remember me?” Normally a turtle would just withdraw his face into his shell if he sensed danger. Buddy did not do this. He just looked up and gave me a wink and a smile. And then I knew it was him and we were once again together. I wondered what I should do with him, what would be best for him. Just then a man on a racing bike went flying by and I knew the answer.

I walked over to the Bronx River with Buddy in my hand. Before placing him into the river, I said, “Buddy, until we meet again … Be Well.”

During the five years I never had a name for the baby turtle. Once I saw him, I just knew that he had to be named Buddy.