LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.
So Candice Pace stopped the car three times and picked up the turtles to help them across. Each time, she would turn them over to make sure their shells hadn’t been cracked. She discovered that the last turtle she encountered had indeed been injured. “Smooshed” would probably be the word most people would use to describe the poor creature, but Candice, who is a veterinarian, looked at the reptile and decided she could save it.
So she put the turtle in her car and made her way to Pikeville. When she got home, she went to work. She called a vet friend of hers and bought some antibiotics and painkillers. Then she injected the thing with the medicine, all the while deftly avoiding his snapping jaws as he vigorously tried to amputate her finger.
By the time we caught up, she was on day 2 of the turtle’s medical regimen.
“I’m hopeful,” she said. “I think sepsis would have set in by now. If we can make it to 72 hours I think we’re in the clear.”
I sat back on the park bench and marveled over the fact that this simple story contained the character of Candice Pace. First off, what percentage of people would have even stopped the car on a busy highway, never mind three times? Of that percentage, how many would decide to treat the injured? Two percent? 1?
But my friend Candice Pace did.
More than demonstrating her nurturing side though, it was the way in which she told the story. There was no self-promotion in it or self-aggrandizement, no, “I saved a turtle yesterday, what the hell have you done?” If anything, she gently chastised herself for her effort. She bit into her sandwich and laughed.