Heavens to Betsy, there was a snake in the yard Thursday night. Right by the house. It was kind of small too, which means it likely has siblings slithering around out there. (Insert shiver here.) We’ve been tip-toeing around the yard since then, looking for whatever hole it may have crawled out of. Hubby thinks he may have found the hole, and it’s about three feet away from our bedroom wall. Aw snap, now I’m going to have to move. And I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that.
The Hula-gen’s are not snake fans. I’m scared to death of them, and believe it or not, Hubby’s even worse. He may be 6’4” and built like a linebacker, but he runs like Usain Bolt when he stumbles on a snake. I was cooking dinner one afternoon early in our marriage, when Hubby came running into the house with a terrified look on his face and running back out with his Dirty Harry .44. Next thing you know I heard six shots in rapid succession. If you’ve ever heard a .44 go off you know it sounds like a cannon. I secured Teen Angel in her crib and ran outside, expecting to find a masked intruder with our valuables in his hand. All I found was Hubby standing over a wad of mangled up unidentifiable flesh. He looked at me and said, “THAT was a BIG *%&$@# snake!”
There had been no go ahead punk make my day ultimatum. He had just fired until there was nothing left. And may I remind you this is a man who was licensed to shoot at criminals at the time and was certified at the shooting range yearly. When confronted with a four foot long snake, he forgot all of that training and just fired like a wild man until he ran out of ammunition.
The snake Thursday night did not go before the firing squad. He got the hoe. He wasn’t big enough to require a bullet. He was actually alive when I got home from work. Hubby had captured him in a bucket after practically stepping on him. In flip flops. The little sucker struck at him, so Hubby scooped him up with a stick and into solitary confinement until we could identify him as poisonous or nonpoisonous and make a decision about his fate. For a brief time we considered turning him loose into the woods behind the house where lots of other slithery things likely reside, but then our neighbor declared him to be a pygmy rattler, and the death penalty was declared. There was no appeal. Just like Texas, baby. Straight to the hoe.
Now before all you do gooder reptile lovin’ nature folks shower me with your blah, blah snakes are an important part of the food chain and they eat rodents arguments, let me stop you right here. See my hands over my ears? La, la, la, la, la. I don’t want to hear it. I know they are an important part of the food chain. And I am well aware that I have a phobia regarding snakes. An intense phobia.
I have tried over the years to rid myself of it. I held a boa constrictor in fourth grade. I forced myself to stare at pictures of them in the Encyclopedia. I went inside the reptile house every time we went to a zoo. In fact, the Cincinnati Zoo is where I literally bumped into a man who apparently had the same phobia because he jumped even higher than I did when we brushed shoulders. I totally enjoyed the turn of the century architecture at the St. Louis Zoo’s reptile house. And loved the colorful frogs and the playful turtles. The snakes? Made me want to run for the door.
I am 40-something years old, and I am tired of fighting this fear, so I’m just going with it. I have given up. I don’t care anymore. I am embracing the snake phobia. I am declaring that the only good snake is a dead snake. I don’t care if they eat rats. I don’t care if they’re nonpoisonous. I will jump when I see them. I may even scream, and I won’t be embarrassed about it. Any snake that comes into my yard is a goner. Swift and sure execution. No jury of his peers. No trial. Just a ruling by the hangin’ judge who goes by the name of Hula. It’s either that or move to a new house, and frankly I have spent way too much on that new tiled shower to leave. Besides, I don’t think we’d find another living room that could accommodate Hubby’s Big Arse Chair.
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