They left Corpus Christi in mid-afternoon, wanting above all to avoid Houston’s rush hour traffic. (Or more accurately, rush three-hours-plus traffic. We’re talking HOUSTON, here!)
She was driving the U-Haul rental truck pulling their mini-van on a car dolly, while he drove his 1974 model Toyota pickup with a camper body—he refers to it as their “motor home.” All their worldly possessions were loaded into that caravan, and they were taking it slow.
She had their infant son in a car seat in the truck, while he had their four pet iguanas to keep him company as they drove. They communicated by hand signals and, when necessary, by cell phone.
Despite their fears, they made it through Houston without incident, turned east on I-10, and drove until they found a campground where they could plug in the motor home and sleep in air conditioning.
The next morning Squirt was missing.
I’m talking about my daughter whom you know as Christina, her husband, my grandson Trevor, and their iguanas known as Bonnie, Clyde, Stubby and Squirt. Since they’ve now left Texas, I think it’s time they came out from under my shield of anonymity.
Their real names are Joy and Johnny (“Christina” is Joy’s middle name). To get to know them, see what they look like, meet Trevor and the iguanas, click HERE. That’s a web site we created to promote Johnny’s business as an entertainer. Once you’re there, click on the “Pictures” link to see more of them.
Squirt is the youngest, smallest iguana. After my post of yesterday, I have to admit that Squirt has had some life-threatening medical problems, and that these were corrected by a veterinarian at some cost beyond what I probably would have paid. But I understand why Joy and Johnny are attached to him. He IS a cute little guy.
He had spent the night at the campground outdoors in a cardboard box that had some window-screen material duct-taped over a large hole in one end. In the morning Johnny found the duct tape pulled inward at one corner creating a hole just large enough for little Squirty to glide through.
He had his leash on. (Yes, these lizards have small harnesses and leashes.) Without the leash he might have had a chance to survive at least through the summer and maybe longer if the area had no freezing weather. But with the leash he was almost certainly doomed to being tangled in vegetation and unable to forage.
An extensive search of the campground revealed no trace of Squirt.
Joy called me in tears to report their loss, and assured me that they had left cell phone numbers with the campground management in case Squirt turned up alive. They drove their caravan out towards I-10 heading on to Florida.
The campground manager had given them directions to a nearby truck stop with a McDonalds where they planned to get some breakfast. They made a wrong turn and wandered around a bit before finding their way to it. Otherwise they might have been far down the road when Joy’s cell phone rang.
It was the campground manager. Squirt had been found!
Jubilant, they trekked back and retrieved their pet.
Joy refers to the incident as “a random act of kindness” by the campground manager. Once Squirt was found and turned in, he first drove like blazes to the McDonalds hoping to catch them there at breakfast. Finding no sign of them, he rushed back to his office and called (long distance!) to her cell phone to catch them before they’d driven too far.
Due to their wrong turn, they had just arrived at McDonalds and were only about a mile from the campground when his call came.
My daughter is convinced the manager went to the extra effort because he was concerned for them, and a nice guy.
My opinion is that he wanted to get rid of that ugly, frightening lizard as quickly as possible before it drove away customers. Plus, he didn’t want word to spread that a large reptile was reported loose in his area. Would you take YOUR kids camping there?
Regardless, what started as an anguished morning turned into a much happier day as the gypsies continued east.