Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Snake in the Grass, A short story

Some years ago, I was on my knees pulling weeds from around the Indian hawthorn in our front flowerbed. I heard something rustling in the bushes but thought nothing of it, probably one of those lizards. Tired, sweating, face red as a beet, I needed a break so went inside for a minute.

When I came back out, a snake – a huge one, slid out of the bushes heading across the yard. It was at least a yard long, if not a yard and a half, and fat – as big around as my forearm. I was considerably thinner back then. I didn’t have a clue what kind it was, but with all the children who played in our yard, I had to swallow my cowardly fear and protect the home front.

I went inside and let my six-year-old son look out the window to see the snake with orders to stay inside. In the bedroom, I slipped on my husband’s cowboy boots, they were lovely with my shorts and tee shirt, and headed for the storage building for a hoe. Fully armed, I tromped back through the house heading for the front door.

My son went out to stand on the porch and watch. As I cautiously approached the snake from behind, it raised its head and made a sound similar to a rattlesnake. I didn’t see any rattles on its tail. So I crept up a little closer, and its head rose again. By this time, my son was frantic, tugging on my clothes. “Mama, don’t do that. Come back.”

“I can’t leave it out here where you kids play. It could me poisonous.”

“Go get Mr. Byrd.” This was our neighbor two doors down. On the other side of our house was a street and field.

His advice made sense but the snake could get away before I got back. Taking a deep breath, I charged forward and whacked the snake right behind the head. I jumped back and it hissed some more though its head wasn’t cooperating now. I dashed in for another blow but the creature still didn’t die.

Hoe in hand, my son inside looking through the glass door, I headed down the street for Mr. Byrd. He came back with me and stared disgustedly at the snake before striking the killing blow.
“That’s a bull snake. You don’t kill them, they’re harmless and eat mice.”

“Well, how was I to know? I’m not up on snakes, and I was worried for the kids’ sake.”

But, being a science teacher at the local university, he was. With the hoe, he picked the snake up, carried it across the road, and tossed it in the field.

I thanked him profusely. He handed me the hoe, shook his head, and went home leaving me feeling like an idiot. When my husband got home, I got the same lecture. Go figure. You can’t win sometimes.

Today is the last day to comment for the April drawing, so leave a comment. Do you have a snake story to share?

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by.

Linda
Linda LaRoque ~ Western Romance with a Twist in Time.
Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart 5-09, When the Ocotillo Bloom, 7-09, Champagne Books; A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours 5-09, Flames on the Sky 10-23-09 from TWRP.
http://www.lindalaroque.com/
http://lindalaroqueauthor.blogspot.com/

18 comments:

  1. Good story Sis. Hey, you did what you thought was best with the information (or lack of) that you had. When we lived in Joshua there were lots of snakes since we lived across from those empty fields. One time Mother came running out of the utility room screaming. There was a big snake on the floor. I closed the door and we waited for Daddy to get home. The snake was gone by that time. When her parakeet died she swore a snack had frightened it to death. Another time Becky almost stepped on a Copperhead in the backyard but Daddy stopped her and then he killed the snake. No, I don't want to see the movie Snakes on a Plane. LOL

    Barbie

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  2. So funny, Linda! We have a six-foot black snake that roams through our yard occasionally. Harmless enough, but really scary looking! He climbs our cherry tree to shed his skins - it looks like a voodoo tree! But he also eats mice, so I guess he's good to have around.

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  3. I don't blame you for being scared, especially with kids around.

    Good story!

    --Chiron O'Keefe
    www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

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  4. Very cute story, Linda. I'll share mine. Many many years ago when my son was two, my mother decided we needed a garden. As she started to dig with my son next to her, dozens of little green snakes slithered out of nowhere! I stood horrified. My mother almost fainted, but my son giggled and laughed with pure joy! They all slithered away...and Mom resumed her digging. I'm not into snakes either!

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  5. Hey, Barbie,
    A copperhead. That would scare me witless. I bet the one in the laundry room came in through the plumbing or the dryer vent. Scary!

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  6. Cate,
    A black snake? Where do you live. I just hate it when they leave their skins around. One used our mailbox a few years ago. I didn't know if it was a prank or what but guess the brick gave it good leverage when shedding it.

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  7. Hi Chiron,
    Yeah, I don't like snakes period. Or spiders, grasshoppers, and other bugs.Eeek!

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  8. Mickey,
    Cute story. Just an example of how kids learn their fears from us. But, it's better to be safe than sorry.

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  9. Hi Linda - I'm in central Pennsylvania, and we have copperheads here too. My husband says you can tell the difference by their triangular head - but I'm not stopping long enough to look! In other parts of PA, they actually still have snake wrestling (shudder).

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  10. I'd have done the exact same thing!!!

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  11. I don't know. I think you were right not taking the chance. It could have been poisonous. Once my cat caught a little snake. I was impressed. :) -Laura Hogg

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  12. Oh gosh, I enjoyed that story. It is just so REAL. I would have done much the same thing, been worried for the child and believing yup... poisonous. I think you handled it with courage and boldness despite what anyone said. KUDOS. Angelica

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  13. I cannot handle snakes. I do not care what kind they are. The way I feel is that small child cannot tell the difference ( really I can't either) and they cannot hang around to find out from some man who knows:)

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  14. Pennsylvania is a pretty state. We have copperheads too. My nephew was bitten by a baby one while in the garden when he was about two. He was very sick

    We still have rattlesnake roundups here in Texas. I think it's so stupid and on occasion people die.

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  15. Hi Mary,
    I think as mothers , we don't wait, we just act and do what needs to be done.

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  16. Laura,
    I think cats are really good at catching snakes and keeping them away from the house.

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  17. Angelica and Zi,
    Thanks, Angelica. I don't know how courageous I was and I looked a site in my husband's boots carrying a hoe, but I got the job done.

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  18. Hi Judy,
    I so agree. We have to make a decision and act.

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