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Alexander M. Sanders, Jr., is the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. When his daughter Zoe graduated from the Univ. of South Carolina in 1992, he told this story that happened what she was just three years old.

Sanders came home from work one day to find his home – and especially his young daughter – in a state of turmoil. Zoe’s pet turtle had died, and she was crying as if her heart would break. Zoe’s mother had been dealing with the situation all day and declared that it was now Dad’s turn to try and make things better.

Although he was successful both as a lawyer and a politician, who confidently faced all kinds of complex issues and problems every day, this seemed out of his league. The mysteries of life and death are difficult, if not impossible for the mature mind to fathom. The task of explaining them to a three-year-old was completely beyond either his confidence or experience. But he tried.

First, he told Zoe that they could go to the pet store and buy another one just like the one who had died. Even at three years old, Zoe was smart enough to know that a turtle is not a toy. There’s really no such thing as getting another one just like the one who died. And so Zoe’s tears continued.

Desperate to quiet his little girl’s tears, he said, "I tell you what, we’ll have a funeral for the turtle."

Being three years old, she didn’t know what a funeral was.

Scrambling to come up with an explanation – as well as something that would get her mind off the turtle’s demise, he said "A funeral is like a birthday party. We’ll have ice cream and cake and lemonade and balloons, and all the children in the neighborhood will come over to our house to play. All because the turtle died."

Well, the prospect of a turtle funeral did the trick. Instantly, Zoe was her happy, smiling self. The turtle’s death was no longer cause for tears, but reason to rejoice!

So, with visions of cake and ice cream in their heads the two beamed down on the deceased turtle lying at their feet. As they did, the turtle began to move. And a few seconds later, he was crawling away as lively as – well, as lively as a turtle, but an undeniably LIVE turtle.

Then an even stranger thing happened. Sanders – a politician and a lawyer – was speechless.

Zoe had no such problem. After considering her options, she looked up at her father with her big beautiful eyes and – with all the innocence of her tender years – she said quietly, "Daddy, LET’S KILL IT."

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