What with the episode the other day of the black snake in my yard, I got to thinking -and remembering -some other snake episodes in the past.
When I was about 9-10 years old, I remember one day that summer when I was playing on the front porch of our neighbor's house with their son, Bobby. He had a balloon and was chasing me around with that balloon and for some reason or other,back then, I was afraid of balloons. (Why, I'm not sure but I think it may have been a fear that the balloon would burst with a bang. Stupid, I know, but that was one of my little idiosyncranatic fear back then.)
Anyway, to try to get away from him, I jumped off the porch (only about a foot high jump -nothing drastic) and began to run down through the yard to their back porch.
About 4 foot or so from where I jumped out into the yard, there was this long black thing laying in the yard and I blithly jumped over it. But as soon as I did, it struck me that it wasn't just some piece of wood or tubing laying there but rather, something else.
I turned around and standing on my tippy-toes to look down at the object, I realized then I had just hopped over a big old black snake. I let out a scream just as my friend, Bobby, was almost on top of the snake and then, we both went flying down to the back porch.
At the top of the back porch steps sat Bobby's older sister, Louise -busy painting her toenails. We scrambled up the steps as fast as we could, all the while, screaming -"Snake, Snake! There's a black snake in the yard!"
Louise jumped up and the three of us went into the kitchen, still screaming about this snake but with all three of us making all this racket, poor Gert -their Mom -initially couldn't make out what it was we were carrying on about. As soon as she figured out we were yelling about a snake, she pointed us into the living room, where Bobby and Louise's Dad was laying on the sofa, supposedly watching a baseball game but in truth, he was napping.
We woke him up and he pulled himself up -slowly, very slowly -and I recall his first words to us were to inquire if the Pirates had hit a home run. We had to tell him then we weren't waking him up because of the ball game but rather because there was this big old, long, black snake out in the side yard.
Howard muttered a bit to us about having to go find a hoe or some other implement -which he did -and then, he moseyed up and attacked the snake, killing it and dropping it down by their chicken coop.
Fascinated by this dead snake, Bobby and I both kept watch over it for the rest of the afternoon as it still continued to move -even though in the act of killing it, Howard had beheaded it. Howard told us that it would continue to have these reflex movements clear up until dark as he said the snake wouldn't totally die until the sun went down. (How true that is, I have no idea but I do recall Bobby and I were both really engrossed in this thing!)
Then, about a year later, in school one day -during our lunch break -the boy who sat in front of me brought a green snake into our room and put it in the drawer at the bottom of his desk. I immediately went into a screaming, hissy fit frenzy that brought our teacher back to the room in a rush. She reprimanded me because by that time I was standing on the seat of my desk and told me to sit back down and behave. I remember telling her I would -just as soon as Denny Humenay removed the snake that was in his desk drawer! Wish I'd had a little digital camera back then available to take a picture of the look on Miss Johnson's face when she realized that Den had smuggled this lovely little snake into her classroom and who knows what kind of havoc he had in mind to wreak on the rest of the class after our lunch break ended that day. (Den was like that -loved to pull whatever kind of prank he could on the rest of us kids AND our teacher too. Lucky for him, he was her "Pet!"
In remembering that story though, I got to thinking that he would never have been able to do a prank like that if our classroom desks had been of the style used for most students today though! No way could a kid have hidden something like a snake -or a frog -or whatever creature in furniture like the ones of today.
Snakes are a commodity that are fairly plentiful in these parts and thankfully, I have never had a really close encounter with any of the poisonous types -except for seeing a dead one on the highway now and again.
But, back when my kids were small -probably early elementary ages -they used to play with my son's Tonka trucks and excavating equipment under a big old pine tree in my front yard. And one day, they came to me telling me that the cat we had back then was flipping something around under the tree and that it looked like it was a snake.
So, out I went to check it out and sure enough, there was our cat, taunting this snake. It wasn't a big snake -but then too, size with snakes is of no importance to me. (You probably figured that out from my post the other day about the snake episode here.) And I wanted that snake out of there THEN, right away!
I sent my son down the street to our neighbors' house as I knew my friend Kate's husband, Jim, was home and he came up with a big spade and killed the snake. He also left here carrying the snake slung over the handle of the spade as he headed back to his place to bury the thing.
Well, about half-way down to his home, I saw a pickup truck making its way up the road had stopped and Jim was talking to the driver -all the while, holding this spade with the snake draped over it. But when the pickup pulled away and Jim resumed his walk home, I noticed the snake was no longer on the shovel handle. Knowing the guy driving the pickup was our neighbor, Daryl, who back when we were kids was a lot like the boy in my class with the snake in the desk drawer in that Daryl -better known around town by his nickname of "Sharkey" - I mentioned to the kids that the snake was now most likely in the bed of his pickup truck, enroute to the local bar where Sharkey would probably try to terrorize the patrons having a quiet cold one there that afternoon.
I later learned that is precisely what had happened too!
Isn't it just great how some folks can make entertainment though out of a dead snake?