Snakes Alive! Part 2

20 Apr

My first husband, also known as the Late and Unlamented, was worse than any other six people I know when it came to snakes. He didn’t like to walk under trees because he was convinced a snake would fall on him. This was probably the biggest reason mowing the lawn gradually turned into my job; he didn’t want to trim the edges.  On day the girls found what we call a King snake in the front yard. Their markings resemble a Diamond Back rattle snake, but are not venomous; they are probably related to boas. However,  they will coil and strike to frighten you away. “Don’t tell your father. He’ll go all to pieces.”

And of course, immediately it’s “Daddy, Daddy, come look what we found!”

He came out with the “S” volume of the encyclopedia under one arm, and a broom under the other. Immediately he started poking at the poor critter.  The snake had taken refuge between the roots of an oak tree,  and of course, it sprang out at him. He frantically began flipping pages in the book, and then thrust it at me. “There! There!  It’s a pit viper!”

“Oh, for the love of Mike! They don’t even grow in this country.”  (Actually, they do, but I wasn’t dumb enough to tell him that.)

“No, look! It’s curled up in the pit of that tree!’

“Well, you better watch yourself. Its mate is probably up in that tree.” I took the girls and went inside, with him hot on my heels.

When The Squire and I bought this house there were no proper screens on the windows, only those slide apart things that honestly do no good at all. They certainly don’t stop mosquitos, and we discovered they don’t slow down snakes, either. I went into the living room one  morning, the summer after we moved in, and discovered a brown snake on the mantle, curled back and forth up the corner molding, practically balancing on its tail. I was perfectly capable of handling it myself, but I went out to round up The Squire so he could do Manly Things for his bride. He was mowing the lawn, and slowed the tractor when I approached. I cupped my hands and hollered, “Can you come get the snake off the mantle?”  “Yeah. OK.” And then he threw the machine into reverse and looked at me. “What did you say?”

Someone else has remarked that might be a good thing to have snakes, because they catch mice. Just as well, because out cats are just about useless.

That’s another story.


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