Days 7&8, 2012

One of my favorite childhood pictures is a shot of me and my sister holding our dolls at the bottom of a slide near our house. My sister, Maria, and her doll were pristine and beautiful. My doll and I were a mess. I was a tomboy and my doll suffered the consequences. I flung her down the slide and let her land face-first in the dirt. I dragged her along behind me or left her all together. As a result, she had hair that stood on end like a troll and permanent dirt stains.

So, God ensured that dirt stains would become a permanent part of my everyday life by bestowing upon me three boys. I have gotten used to the dirt, but the creatures and wild-life they bring home will haunt me until my last day. Although they all continue to express an irrational fear of stink bugs leaving me to tend to the throngs that descend on the house every year.

I had just sat down and started watching “Runaway Bride” while pretending to fold laundry when I heard the storm door slam for the 1000th time that morning. Drew and Reed still wake up absurdly early so as 9am rolled around they had already been outside for an hour. I am forever indebted to our neighbors for the many inconveniences and noise violations we subject them to and the dog has just upped the ante in the noise department.

Drew, Reed and Murphy came into my room. Drew was beaming and holding something behind his back. Reed was speaking so quickly I couldn’t understand him. Murphy just wanted me to rub his belly. After several bad attempts at guessing what Drew was hiding, he finally unveiled his treasure.

When I first saw it, I had no idea what it was. It was clear, almost translucent and long–about 3 feet long. Then in unison, they both said, “Snake-skin.” We have had many a snake-skin and the kids are fascinated with them. A snake-skin has the allure of something creepy and scary without actually having to touch anything creepy and scary.

Oh, but wait there was more! “That’s cool,” I say, “where did you find it?” And this is where Reed nearly bursts before replying, “Outside the hole next to the front steps. It is OUR SNAKE.”

On the tv, Julia Roberts is fleeing yet another wedding on a wild galloping horse and I want to jump through the screen and hop on side-saddle.

Our snake. Drew is still holding up the snake-skin as it shimmered in the room’s light and I am revolted. I walk down those steps with the hole next to them, every morning in the darkness to walk the dog. Had that snake been staring at me, mocking me, waiting for the moment to taunt us? I have seen that hole and I don’t know what I thought was in there, but I didn’t think it was a snake. A mole maybe or a cute little bunny rabbit.

I implored the boys to take the snake-skin back outside because our new resident was making me nervous. Just the thought that the snake was but a couple of slithers away from the front door was more than I could stand. Mark was running on a trail somewhere so I couldn’t even call him and share my total panic.

Because the boys are boys, they had shed the snake-skin in a matter of moments and took off on scooters and bikes. The skin laid, forgotten, on the brick steps, twisting every so slightly with the breeze on occasion. The boys had moved on, but I was obsessed. Murphy and I must have stood in front of the storm door and stared at the skin for a full ten minutes. Well, I was staring at the snake-skin, Murphy was probably just wondering if there was a treat or walk in his future.

The boys had brought me frogs, caterpillars, lady bugs and one time we all sat for hours and watched a mouse try to outrun a cat on our patio. I am not a sissy normally. Except when I am.

Knowing nothing, and having my expert on a long, long run, I decided to Google it. Well, I soon found out that there are over 2700 species of snakes and only 375 are poisonous. Blah, blah only live in tropical climates, like sunlight. This was no help at all.

So, I googled garden snakes as I had heard neighbors talk about seeing snakes that were harmless but freaky nonetheless. There were many useful facts on these snakes but the only one that caught my eye? “They give birth to live babies in the summer.” See this is why the internet is bad. A moment ago I was only afraid of one snake, now I was afraid of a family of snakes that were all, no doubt, plotting against me. Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that no one is out to get you.

Thankfully, Drew had football practice which prevented me from wasting another three to four hours on this futile endeavor. I busied myself with pads, water bottles and gear to banish the pre-occupation with the snake from my brain. And when I stepped out the door, I side-stepped the snake-skin, glared at the hole daring the critter to show himself and got into the car.

I have only given the snake a passing thought in the ensuing hours. Turned out that even this tomboy wanted a girl to obsess and squeal about snakes with her or it is not nearly as gratifying or fun.

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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