Stand Off with A Snake. The Snake's Winning.

John and the Snake. The photo would be sharper but Jenny couldn't hold the camera still.
John and the Snake. The photo would be sharper but Jenny couldn’t hold the camera still.

My husband John has always been fascinated with snakes. From the time he was a little boy to now a senior citizen, he can’t pass up a snake.

And I still love him.

His wanting to instill his fascination with snakes in our own daughter manifested itself with his bringing home a snake he’d find on the road somewhere.

Often Taylor and I came home from school, drove into the carport, and noticed a king size pillow case tied in the pecan tree. We knew the contents, a snake, and one at least six feet long.

Fortunately John never brought home a poisonous one although his sisters have said that was not the case when he was a boy.

Our daughter became the hit at her grade school because her daddy did “the best show-and-tell evv- er.” About once a spring season, he showed up at her school with a snake. He securely held the snake and permitted the kids in her class to touch it. While they touched, he talked to them about how the snake’s skin felt and how snakes do good things for the balance in nature.

On one occasion I mistakingly told John who had to leave the house on a emergency that it would be fine to put “Roberta” in the wicker hamper. The lid could be secured with a thirty-five pound dictionary. (I really get sick and tired of my own “bright ideas.”)

I went to the other end of the house to work, but when I returned to the bedroom, I sensed Roberta was not in the bathroom, in the hamper, or in secure lock-down. I quickly looked around my feet. All I needed, I thought, was to step on Roberta and permanently imbed myself in the ceiling.

No, I was safe in that regard.

I planted myself in the center of the room and started a serious surveillance of every inch of the room. On the second round of room scrutiny, I locked eyes with Roberta. She was behind an armoire. Only an inch and a half of her head was visible. We stared each other down. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if she moved. I didn’t dare leave the room. After all she had made it from the hamper, through the bathroom, down the hall, and across the bedroom to what she considered a safe haven. Where else would she slide to?

I knew if I moved, Roberta would too. A stalemate of undebatable stubbornness ensued.

Roberta ESPed me. You move. I move. Frozen in position, I wondered how long John would be gone.

I am always happy to see John come home.

But words escape me when I try to describe the relief I experienced when I heard him come in the door.

“Roberta’s out!!”

The walls vibrated.

Roberta slipped further behind the armoire.

“Where’s my nine iron?!”

“Bloody hell! How should I know? In your golf bag?

“No, there’s an old one in the backseat. Get it. I’ll watch Roberta .”

My next brain fart was to put Roberta in the bathtub. How can she slither up the sides of a slick tub?

She immediately showed me.

She found a right angle and pressed herself into it. Roberta was colorblind. Or stupid. I’d go with colorblind. She was remarkably visible. Her dark patterned skin aligned with the white backsplash around the tub in sharp contrast.

By then I started to think of how fetching Roberta would look as a pair of shoes. But John had other ideas.

Off to school the next morning, Roberta had her fifteen minutes of fame and happily found her release in the quagmire across the highway from our housing division.


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