Friday, July 01, 2005

Snake Busters

When there's somethin strange, in the neighborhood- who ya gonna call? Snake Busters!

That's right, your truly was on snake patrol Thursday evening, along with my brave and heroic father. Last weekend Dad had spotted a snake skin in our backyard, and he watched as the snake slithered under our deck and beneath our hot-tob, out of his reach. Mom refused to go outside pretty much all week, and all yard work was halted until the until the snake had been apprehended. (Let me also preface this blog by stating that my mother is deathly afraid of "wigglies;" so much so that she averts her eyes whenever they come onto the television, and one vacation, Laura scared her with a fake wooden one in a giftshop so badly that Mom refused to buy Laura any kind of souvenir on that trip.)

I arrived at the house Thursday afternoon to Mom yelling at me as soon as I walked in the door. "The snake's back!" she hollered. Laura saw him this afternoon before she went to work. Apparently our cold-blooded friend had wandered into the sun to warm himself when Laura startled him (or her), and he/she slithered back under the hottub, though just inside it where he (or she) could still be seen.) Once dad got home he and I went out there to see exactly where it was, and try and figure out how in the world we were going to coerce it out of its hiding place. (I grabbed a pair of kitchen tongs- Mom wasn't too thrilled about that!) Getting a little too curious-George, I peered at the unwanted guest in our backyard from a platform a little too closely, and scared the snake, who retreated out of sight, further beneath the hot tub. It was now Dad's turn to be not-so-thrilled with me, because now he had to take off the whole front wooden panel of the hot-tub so we could find the little bugger. Oh, but that was after we turned on the hot tub jets to see if the snake would perhaps be jarred by the "Really Loud Noises!" and crawl on out. No such luck. So crouching down on the patio, flashlight in hand, I finally spotted the reptile- only after mom practically threw my glasses at me before running back up the deck stairs- it sucks not being able to see! But he was partially hidden under a pile of leaves inside the interior of the hot tub, which was a jumble of wires and electronic do-dads. Getting this snake out was going to be no easy feat.

I stood behind dad with the flashlight so he could see the Wiggly, an empty bucket close by so we could catch him and release him far away from the back yard, while dad took a small rake and carefully negotiated the handle through the mess of wires so he could clamp down and scoop the snake out. Of course the snake would not go down without a fight, and though dad got him with the rake, our little friend wrigged free and disappeared again under the leaves and wires. I got to crouch down and keep watch while Dad went to get the leaf blower so we could clean out from under the hottub and eliminate the cold-blooded creatures hiding places. As chance would have it, the snake grew impatient that he was being threatened, and as soon as Dad walked away, the Wiggly stuck his head out from beneath the pile of leaves and started slithered forward.

I screamed for my father, meanwhile keeping an eye on this thing, thinking, "surely he'll stop once he sees that I am bigger than he is." Again, no such luck. I screamed for my dad again while the snake inched closer and closer, his mouth open, ready to attack. The one good thing about this sudden moment of aggression from our scaley serpent was that now we could see the thing to trap it. Really, we weren't aiming to kill him. I know many people in our situation wouldn't hesitate to do so, but I can't help it- I'm a humanist, and I can't help but feel guilt whenever I'm responsible for killing one of God's creatures. Except for spiders. The remorse passes quickly after I've smashed them to smithereens with my shoe. But of course the snake doesn't know we're merely trying to relocate him- and can you blame him? I mean, the Indians or Native Americans- whatever you want to call them- they put up a fight when the white men came in and not-so-politely asked them to move as well. (Plangent, anyone?)

So yes, here we are, the snake is inching towards me and all I have is a flashlight in my hand, and Dad swoops in and saves the day by trapping the Slitherin mascot with a rake and a garden hoe. The pesky thing put up a fighting lunging toward the gardening tools and trying to bit anything he could clamp his teeth into. I reached over quickly and placed the bucket to where dad could easily drop the snake into it, and wouldn't you know it, but the rake got caught on some of the hottub wires. My first instinct was to reach over and unhook him, but I saw the snake who was fighting mad by this time and thought better of it. Finally untangling the tools, Dad was able to drop the snake into the bucket, and suddenly I heard mom's applause ring out from the overlooking bedroom window where she watched the whole dramatic-yet-comical ordeal. "I had to see for myself that you really got rid of it and not just tell me you did," she said. I actually had already tried that once- I told her we got him and the snake was gone a few days earlier and unfortunately, she's not that easily hoodwinked.

And they all lived happily ever after- the snake was dropped into a weedy,grassy spot down the street, Mom was free to roam the backyard again (after of course she lined the outside fence with Snake-be-gone), Dad was the hero of the day, and I, his right-hand-man, was free to enjoy a nice bowl of Bluebell ice cream and stay up late watching baseball and scrapbooking, reveling in the fact that I had Friday off of work. What a dramatic start to my long weekend!


MamaB said...

Thank goodness for "snakebusters" and glad you and dad did such a good job of taking him on a visit to the woods for me. Thanks too for a good time watching through the window--I couldn't cook supper for running up and down the steps and peeping through the window!!

Jenni said...

When I was 7 or 8 our Stockwell family had a summer reunion at the Murray cottage at Higgins Lake in Michigan. The kitchen had been recently renovated, and some slithering residents had made themselves at home in the cabinets. The second night, as the men went on a night cruise, the women cleaned the dishes and found a snake curled up in a soup pot under the stove. My Aunt Terry and others used the kitchen tongs to scoop him into the most logical receptical, the large glass "CRACKERS" jar with the black lid. the next day Mom and I took him to the local wildlife office on our way out of town. He was probably dead by the time we got him there, but I was so set on saving the wildlife that I insisted. To this day I can't go in that cottage kitchen without thinking of the poor grass snake that gave it's life for the new formica countertops.

Tadd said...

Amanda, I must say that was one of the most edge-of-my-seat, gripping blogs I have ever read. The suspence was unbearable. A real page-turner.