Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Surprise for my Evening Run

   I was out jogging with the dogs tonight, and spotted this little guy in the grass, out of the corner of my eye. I was delighted: a cute lil' snake! But unfortunately, I wasn't real—just a plastic toy. Bummer. I've never seen a snake in my neighborhood.
   Yes, that's right—I actually like snakes. I think they're beautiful, actually. Although I've never seen a poisonous snake in the wild, I've always known generally what they look like and felt I could identify one, so have never been afraid of approaching snakes, not even as a child.
   In fact, there were lots of snakes on my parents' property when I was growing up. I knew just where to find them, on the sunny rocks near the creek. And on nice days I'd always go snake-hunting. When I found one, I would usually catch it and sneak it into the house to scare Mom. Eventually when I earned a little allowance, I spent it on plastic snakes like this one, and little fur mice, and I'd occasionally hide them in places where Mom, unsuspecting, would find them. Like in the drawer of silverware or towels in the kitchen. She'd pull out the drawer and SCREAM... Shortly followed by an exasperated, "JENNIFER!" I'd like to think I helped Mom earn her nerves of steel. Mom, you're welcome.
   I also remember a time when I had caught a decent-sized brown snake, and wouldn't you know it? I had show-and-tell that day. So, without telling Mom (presumably), I put the snake in a pillowcase and twisted the top just like I'd seen the pros do on TV, and I carried the snake on the school bus with me. At first it wasn't a big deal. Then someone found out what I had in the bag and told our bus driver, Mrs. Hess. Mrs. Hess was much like my Mom—not a big fan of snakes, to put it mildly. She SCREAMED and threatened to stop the bus. I promised not to show anyone else and to keep the bag tightly wound so he wouldn't escape. It was a nervous ride to school for everyone involved. I was sure I was in big trouble this time.
   But when I got to school, my 5th grade teacher surprised me by taking an interest in the snake, and she let me put it in an old aquarium for the day. So I got to show him off after all, and he returned home with me that night without incident.
   I decided to keep the toy snake in case Mom comes out for a visit. Just for old time's sake...