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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

There's a snake in the house! Help!!

My youngest daughter called to tell me about a snake that found its way into her kitchen and it reminded me of my own snake story.

I went to the garage to retrieve a soft sided cooler to take on a treasure hunting day I was planning.
It was on a shelf over my head so I reached up and took hold of one of its straps. As I pulled it toward me a four foot black snake slid down my neck, down my arm and onto the landing at the top of the stairs. From there he slithered, at high speed , into the kitchen where he scooted sideways toward the living room.
He acted like I was after him instead of trying to retreat.

Now, I know a four foot snake  is small in the black snake family tree, but this guy was fat.  He hadn't skipped a meal in awhile. I knew why we didn't have mice in the garage.

Did I mention the hair was standing up on the back of my neck?  I am prettified of snakes. I remember when I was a kid, we petted one at the St. Louis Zoo.  They are dry and smooth and don't feel anything like they look.  I don't care. I don't like them.

I know you think I am going to tell the story of how I picked that sucker up by the tail and through him outside, right? NOT.

I called for help.  I was going to have to do something quickly before a dog or cat came into the room or he slithered himself sideways into a floor duct , at which time I would have to move out until he was found. Believe me, there is no house big enough for me and a snake.

My roomy came in and had the brilliant idea we get the broom and dust pan. She said we could put the broom over him to hold him still and then scoop him up into the dust pan and throw him outside.

It was a great idea but the execution was difficult.  First of all, he didn't want to be picked up.  Next, he was unpredictable. It is hard to tell which way something that is moving sideways is going to go next.
Eventually, she got the broom on him tight enough he stop moving ( or he was worn out). Then she was able to get him into the dust pan.  He was so big she couldn't lift the pan with one hand and hold the broom with the other.  I was forced to help.

I chose holding the broom.  I was not putting my hand on that dust pan within three inches of the snake.
Now that he was contained.  All we had to to was get him out the door, down the back steps and across the yard away from the the outside dog.

Good thing we didn't have pressing plans because this was no easy deed.

Anyway, it has been about a year since my adventure with Blacky and I have never gone into the garage for anything that I am not on the lookout for his family.

Ah, the joys of country living.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Day on the Mountain

A Day on the Mountain.
I bowed my head and kept walking. When the sound in my ears became deafening, I stopped and leaned against a tree so as not to fall back down the steep mountain. When the sound of beating drums softened like they were moving further away from me, I started walking again. I took a second to glance back the way I'd come. It was nearly straight up. The walk was treacherous, but it seemed like such a good idea when I began.
It was another one of those things I felt I must do to cleanse my soul so I could go on to next part of my life. The part after marriage. Is a marriage lasting twenty-five years, before it breaks up, considered a failure. I felt it was. I had mothered two wonderful girls, raised them and got them through college before I left. The drums were getting closer again now. The sound so rhythmic and loud I felt it was going to take over my body and brain. Again I stopped. And again after several minutes of leaning on the nearest tree, it was gone. Whatever was following me was unnerving, yet I wasn't afraid of it. My goal had been to write down all of the good and bad of my marriage and then climb to the top of a glacier pack in the Black Hills and bury it. Cathartic I thought.
For months before the trip I walked mile after mile up and down hills, but nothing prepared me for the high altitude of the mountains. I was making my way slowly up Lover's Loop, a five mile path to the top of the mountain and back. The day before I had walked a different walk and felt like I was in a New York subway because of all of the people I met on the way. Today I picked a more treacherous route hoping not to be in such a crowd. I had been walking for four hours and no one passed me nor did I hear anything but those drums.
So my dilemma was both good and bad. I was going to be alone to sit at the top of the glacier and read my story, and find a place to bury it for eternity. Yet the downside was if there was anything of danger up on the mountain, I was destined to meet it by myself.
I learned early in my walk that the air was thin and I would have to keep my head down to keep from becoming dizzy from the exertion of the climb. Every twenty or thirty feet was a huge pine tree. I was able to go from tree to tree to rest. As I rested I would look up and plot my course to the next tree so I could rest again. I was not yet fifty, but the thinner the air became, the older I felt.
After doing the drum, no drum thing for over an hour I realized it was my own heart beating in my ears. I should have been amused at my own deceit, yet now that I knew, I stopped at every tree to give myself the rest I needed.
So here I am, trudging up the mountain side hour after hour with my head down when I run into a tree. Oh my goodness, it wasn't a tree, it was a massive two thousand pound buffalo. He was grazing in the tree line and I hadn't seen him. I tried not to panic as I scampered back down two trees and hid behind one. Peeking around the tree, I looked at him to see how mad he was I had run into him, but he was still grazing as though he didn't know I was there. Because of his massive size, I was probably a mere gnat to him.
I stayed in my hiding place behind the study pine and watched him as he leisurely ate , making his way further and further toward the other side of the glacier until I felt safe enough to go on with my plans.
All in all, the walk up the mountain took six hours. I read my history once more and took my camping shovel out of my pack. I couldn't make a deep hole in the rocky soil, so I buried my story under a big pile of pine needles and rocks. After making the area look as natural as I could, I went on feeling lighter and happier than I had in years.
The trip down the mountain took less than and hour and I was forced to walk from side to side and tree to tree to keep from sliding down on my backside. When I got there, my friends were waiting to tell about their adventures and I felt I would never be able to admit I thought my own heart beat was made by drums or that I ran smack into the side of a buffalo. But I did tell my story and we all laughed at each others adventures.
It ended up to be quite a vacation, in more ways than one.