How I Won the Great Snail Race of Miami-Dade County

Photo by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

How I Won the Great Snail Race of Miami-Dade County

(with sincere apologies to Mark Twain)

In the middle of a snail population explosion,

inspired by Mark Twain’s short story,

“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of

Calaveras County,” we planned a snail race.

We thought snail races would be more fun

than frog races…longer to cheer,

longer to observe snail behavior,

and longer to shoot a snail video.

Calaveras County frogs get only three jumps…

Snails take their own sweet time

Photo by Tanika from Unsplash

Keesha’s strategy to win the race

was to choose the largest snail.

Seth just wanted to shoot a snail video

and win an award at the county fair.

Jo planned to lure her snail with lettuce.

Photo by Lajos Moricz from Pixabay

Clarence thought his snail would win

if he cheered louder than anybody else.

Clarence didn’t know snails can’t hear.

My strategy was to learn a lot about snails.

I did research. I drew a diagram and

labeled the shell, the foot, and the eye stalks.

I studied hard so I could pick the best snail;

I was sure my snail, Speedy, would win!

On the day of the snail race, we drew

two concentric circles on the tile floor.

Keesha had chosen a gigantic snail.

Jo had her lettuce ready.

We all put our snails in the center circle.

The first snail to leave the outer circle

would win the race. “Go, Speedy!” I whispered.

Photo by Nika Akin from Pexels

Seth had just started videoing the race

when Clarence began to cheer.

Even though snails don’t have ears

and can’t hear, they feel

sound wave vibrations

with their lower tentacles…

All the snails retreated into their shells!

“Shhh!” we told Clarence.

Speedy came out of his shell first.

Keesha’s giant snail had decided

never to come out again!

Jo’s snail was moving very slowly

away from the lettuce, leaving a slime trail

as it crawled into the outer circle.

Photo by Gene Pensiero from Unsplash

Speedy certainly was fast, but he

couldn’t seem to move in a straight line;

he careened aimlessly around the outer circle,

leaving little silvery squiggles behind him.

Jo’s snail was about to cross the finish line.

Clarence couldn’t keep still any longer

and began cheering again for his snail.

Jo’s snail stopped immediately, just inside

the outer circle, and pulled into its shell.

Speedy was so smart, he finally wandered

outside the circle and won the race.

If you don’t believe me, you can watch

Seth’s video at the county fair.

Photo by cablemarder from Pixabay

After the race, we released the snails

far away from vegetable gardens.

Keesha’s giant snail finally came out of its shell.

Clarence apologized for making noise.

We washed the snail slime off our hands

and enjoyed an ice cream party

to celebrate Speedy’s big win.

Maybe someday, I’ll write a story,

“Speedy, the Celebrated Racing Snail

of Miami-Dade County!”


CopyrightΒ© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Inspired by a snail race in a sixth grade science class I taught in Miami. I am considering adding illustrations and developing this into a book for young readers, ages eight to twelve.

27 Comments

  1. Oh Cheryl, what a wondrous story you have woven…. so magically narrated, and yes, I was quietly barracking in the background, for ‘Speedy’, the clever snail….πŸŒπŸŒπŸŒπŸŒπŸŒπŸ˜€πŸ˜Ž

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    1. Ankit, I am so pleased that you think the book would be helpful to kids. I remember having a snail race in my classroom. Both the kids and I had a lot of fun! So I used that experience to write a story. Thank you for your feedback! I hope things are going well for you. Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

    1. Thank you, Kritika, for asking about my health. I went to a new doctor yesterday. He was a very old school diagnostician and helped me “put the pieces together.” He is faxing test results and his notes to my primary doctor. I have a checkup with him in a couple of days. We have ruled out many negative possibilities, and the prognosis seems good. I am slowly recovering from this four-month illness.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

    1. Laura, Thank you for your kind comment. After reading what you had to say, I realized that there actually are lessons to be learned in the story. I really didn’t have that in mind when I wrote it. I guess you just can’t take the teacher out of the girl! Hope all is well with you! Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

    1. Thank you, Msdedeng, for visiting my blog and commenting. I like that picture too. I wondered if the photographer set the snails up in a line like that or just caught them that way. They do look chummy, don’t they? I hope things are going well for you. Cheryl

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      Reply

  2. This story is full of wonder, capturing every child’s interest. It is an exciting adventure, as well as showing a bit about the scientific method, and evaluating behaviours in a caring way.

    Thank you for suggesting this to read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Thank you, Michel, for making an effort to find this post. I appreciate your kind thoughts. You are the only other person I ever heard of racing snails. My father used to say, “All great minds run in the same channels!” Love, Cheryl (: ❀

      Like

      Reply

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