For those who know me, know I am not afraid of many things. Many things I respect but do not fear, like stray dogs, wild animals or spiders. However, as this story progresses, it will leave little to your imagination as to what my cause for trepidation is. I remember being about ten years old, it was morning, probably mid-morning. Dad had several of those old metal rocking chairs around the shade trees. I remember I had moved one in the sun and for whatever reason, I had Randy in the rocker with me, just sitting, rocking and chilling. Randy is about two years old and starts saying a word that just sends chills all over me, a chill that is hard for Steven Spielberg to do. To my horror and ultimately to his, there is a huge snake about 10, maybe 15 feet behind our chair. I am in some type of paralysis, except the blood curdling scream resounding from my mouth. I am sure it was heard from every rooftop within 30 miles. Out of the house comes my mother to see what the problem is. Of course, she sees the snake and in just a flash she is outside with my dads 22 rifle. I don’t think the woman had ever shot a gun before, much less knew where it was. Before the story gets remotely interesting or funny, one must know where I have sat the chair. There are two 1957 Ford Fairlane’s directly in the line of fire of the 22 rifle. They were my dad’s. One of them was black and white, the other was solid black. Now, I don’t know what I’m more afraid of, the huge snake that’s about to come and devour me and my baby brother, or the wild-eyed woman holding that rifle, because she sure didn’t look like Annie Oakley. As mother starts screaming for me to move, get out of the chair and get away with the baby, my emotional stress and dilated pupils are on high alert. As I hear the first gun shot, I’m out of that chair in a flash, headed to heaven, I don’t know, but I’m gone. A couple of more rounds are heard, and Buddy comes from the south side of the house screaming at mom. Finally, the savior has arrived again. Buddy finally got the rifle out of mom’s hands. He shot the snake, but way to late to do CPR on those cars. She had shot the tail lights out of one of them. She hit the gas tank in the other one, and it had a hole shot through the back bumper of the black and white one. If you have not guessed it, yes, snakes are to be revered by me. At this point, I’m just glad we’re all alive. None the less, dad was less than accepting of the excuse that I was afraid of the snake, and even more agitated that his cars had been blown up. Dad was lucky there were windows and tires left on them. I’m sure when my older brothers read this, if they do, those old memories will return. I had a revelation in 2015 about my yard. Late one night we had let the dogs out to do what dogs do outside, when our little dachshund is jumping backwards and high. I could hear it, the fear before the snake. It was rattling like a dozen maracas needless to say. It was dark outside. I glanced for the snake but did not see it, nor did I want to, so we are back inside in an instant, no more dogs out for the night. I used to always have flower beds, pretty ones. I would spend a small fortune on my lawn every year, etc. Well, the morning after the incident with the rattler, out came all the lawn equipment I could find, and except for the vines that grow on the fences around my house, every flower, shrub, undergrowth or semblance of ground cover was mowed down, chopped down and thrown out, all the while looking for the snake. I’m sure it would have all gotten done a lot faster if they didn’t play hide and seek. The first year looked more like a nuclear blast had hit my yard rather than a well-intentioned change in scenery. I have a few potted plants that I bring in every fall now. And yes, I am afraid one will crawl in the pot, but that’s about as green as it gets at my house. I have hope that one day I will have grass I want to mow and a flower bed I want to clean out, but for now, my potted plants are working just fine for me. It may be sad to say, but for me, the only good snake is a dead one. Yes, I know the environmentalist don’t like that kind of talk, just look what it’s done to the Everglades. The only moral to this story I suppose is, move when momma says move!
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