Everyone in our extended family knew of Max's passion and quest to spot reptiles in their native environment. And most hoped they would only hear about these stories, not be a part of them. On a family trip to Tortuguero, Costa Rica, 10 of us and a guide huddled in a small boat plying the watery jungle, ostensibly looking for birds. Max, of course, was looking for reptiles. How he spotted that green tree snake up high in the lush foliage is anyone's guess, but he wanted a closer look and sprang from the boat to climb the tree. We all learned that trees are not deeply rooted in watery areas when the tree, Max and the snake toppled into the boat.
As hard as it seems to believe sometimes, Max was a real boy with all too real adventures. Sadly, the greatest risk he faced was hidden heart disease. If only EKG testing had been there for Max.