Snakes on a Plain (Part II)
So Jessie and I bid our friends farewell and headed back down the Davidson River Gorge toward home leaving the wildlife and beasts of the forest (I'm not referring to my friend Cletus, by the way) to their rustic habitat. Or so we thought.
As soon as I got into cellular range which was still a good hour away from Greenville my phone started ringing like Sunday morning church bells. Several messages were waiting for me and all were from Joan. She was obviously calling to express her worry and concern for the safety of her first born child. Wimp.
All weekend Jessie was brave and courageous in her exploration of Flat Laurel Creek and the summit of Big Sam Knob. She whittled her own walking stick, learned how to pick up crawdads, and even cooked her own meals over a primitive campfire while her proud father stood guard to protect her from the bears, mountain lions, and coyotes while making sure Cletus wouldn't pass out on our tent. After all the adults were packing enough heat to blow away a whole pack of insurgent coyotes.
So it came to pass that I listened to my first message expecting a mommy crying, weeping, and gnashing of teeth because I didn't check her daughter thoroughly enough for ticks. My smirk was wiped away by eight words: "Bennie, that damn snake is in the house!"
For the next hour Joan and I played phone tag while I drove through the cell-phone-drop-out-center of the universe know as the western North Carolina mountains. Basically this is what I gathered from those brief conversations:
1. Ben not eaten.
2. Joan not eaten.
3. Puppy not eaten.
4. Cat, unsure.
5. Pet gerbil currently being used as bait.
6. Joan may need medical assistance shortly.
So about an hour later the wilderness wanderers drove into our driveway to meet Joan standing outside holding Ben. Now I must say that I was just a bit proud of wife in most of her handling of the crisis. She was actually laughing hysterically at the situation at hand. This was not the reaction I was expecting.
Generally humans of the females persuasion do not like snakes. I'm quite sure I read historical literature somewhere in regards to the creation of man and whatnot. As I recall a serpent disguised as David Hasellhoff talked this woman named Eve into eating some sort of forbidden "fruit." Since this is more or less a family blog I can't get into more intimate details but let us say that hubby was not amused. Being a female just a tad on the spiteful side, Eve gave Baywatch boy the boot (along with the look) and the rest has been genetically reproduced through the following eons. But I digress.
Evidently Joan woke up early Sunday morning feeling quite chipper since her two oldest children were far away and not pestering the living crap out of her. After her normal early morning activities (pee-pee and caffeine) she made her way down our upstairs hallway to our bonUs room (opps, studio) to check e-mail and play a little Sims. As she approached the doorway she noticed someone had left a belt lying in the hall. As her sleepy eyes began to focus on the belt she noticed the buckle flickering it's tongue at her ankle. I'd pay a great sum to have been a fly on the wall at just this moment.
The picture just above is the wall from our bonus room to our guest bedroom. We now have established the fact that Black Betty was indeed six feet long since Joan's foot was about even with door frame and Betty fully extended, had her tail in the entrance to said bonus room. At this point I'm almost positive that Joan panicked. I'm not quite sure about it but my gut tells me that is indeed what happened.
What I'm about to tell you was The Big Mistake. Ladies afraid of reptiles, you need to read this carefully because Joan will tell you it was The Big Mistake. Joan took her eyes off of Black Betty. Her first instinct was to protect our son and the puppy even though they were actually never in any danger. I'm guessing her dash down the stairs to Ben's room took maybe 2 nanoseconds. By the time she had set up a defensive position in the den with fire place tools in hand (remember I had the weaponry) she realized the snake could now be anywhere in the house! Bummer.
So dad's task is now trying to find where Black Betty was hiding.
We began the extensive search of the house which lasted all afternoon and even into the early evening hours. Our serpent friend was nowhere to be found. My sister-in-law knew a guy who worked at our local zoo and he came on over promising to find Betty and relocate her to a much more normal habitat. Interestingly enough he looked like David Hasellhoff.
After another extensive search we gave up. According to our newest best friend Betty had evidently found a nice location to lay her eggs. People I cannot make this stuff up. Before leaving he suggested we leave a pan of water in our hallway because Betty might get thirsty given her condition and that might be a way to catch her. He also found where she had made her way into our garage and climbed up our back steps into out bonus room - a door we had thought we'd sealed because previous varmint problems.
Needless to say, Betty was never found. Joan slept with a .38 revolver under her pillow for several months afterwards. I still laugh at the thought of me and Jessie sleeping peacefully under a two-man tent in the boonies while Joan slept with an anaconda-sized snake in our house. We have theories about where Betty might have exited our home and most likely she did (although we still tread lightly in our attic three years later).
On her way out Black Betty left some beloved offspring that we encounter every now and then. None of them have ever been found within in our house which makes us happy that the vermin were at Ground Zero (nuder the deck). Jessie has even learned to appreciate Black Snakes and how docile they actually are toward humans. My brave and courageous thrill-seeker has even held and coddled one of Betty's offspring which we named Joan.
And my dear Joan can now tell about Ben's butt warming a baby Black Betty.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Snakes on a Plain (Part II)