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July, 2003

Story by Valerie
Photographs by Theresa

Sangamon Joe was not having a good day. In fact, it was just dismal at the moment. Poor old Sangamon Joe wanted what any blue-blooded crawdad wanted out of life: that was to sit under his favorite rock, catch minnows for dinner, and wiggle his antennae in the cool water of some quiet lake.

Well, at the moment, Sangamon Joe was not doing any of those things and was instead waving his legs and claws frantically while being held high in the air by a human! This was not only embarrassing, but he felt that at any moment he might come to serious harm and there was not one thing he could do about it.

All was not lost, though. In the midst of the laughing and teasing humans was a boy named Nicholas. Having a kind heart, he knew that even a crawdad has feelings and that Sangamon Joe was probably a little upset with the treatment he was receiving.

Nicholas put Sangamon Joe into the safety of a plastic container. Although this was not the cool, wet world that appealed most to a crawdad, it was far better than dangling in midair, at the mercy of gigantic beings from an alien environment. Comforted by the fact that things had quieted down, Sangamon Joe daydreamed about a cozy rock hideaway, dining on delectable minnows, and feeling the cool, soothing water with his antennae.

A simple crawdad could have no way of knowing it, but he was traveling to freedom. As he felt the slight jostling of the vehicle, it was all a mystery to Sangamon Joe. Why had he been taken from his aquatic home? Who were these strange large beings? Where was his water? What would happen to him next? How would he ever get home? The one thing that seemed to make sense was that a blond-haired boy was helping him.

When the movement stopped and the lid was removed from the plastic container, Sangamon Joe couldn't believe his beady little eyes. He was by a lake! Then, wonder of wonders, thoughtful Nicholas dropped the happy crawdad onto the grass by the edge of the water and Sangamon Joe made a beeline for home.

By the time Sangamon Joe could feel the cool water swirl around him, he could barely remember his traumatic experience. All he could think about was finding a nice safe rock under which to take a long nap, ambushing a minnow or two for supper, enjoying the feel of the water on his antennae, and being ever so grateful that a human as sympathetic and thoughtful as Nicholas had come to his rescue.

~ the end ~
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