(A little more of My People's Place)
Now finding snakes in the great out of doors is (to me, at least) perfectly natural and quite interesting. I even happen to enjoy seeking them out. When I’m outside. Finding them inside the house is another story entirely. I mean you just don’t really expect to see a snake in your house. That isn’t natural and it’s not interesting. It’s disconcerting, that’s what it is.
Keep in mind that Papa’s house was built by hand with whatever materials were available at the time. And at the time, there wasn’t much. The insulation in the walls? Old newspaper. Which by the way, provided many moments of entertainment when we found the dates, read the articles, and looked at the ads. But old boards and newsprint, cardboard and plaster, and the stray piece of sheet metal here and there are totally ineffective at keeping out even the elements, much less the critters. As a result of this haphazard construction wildlife surprises were not infrequent.
My Mom is the strongest lady I’ve ever known. You don’t scare her, phase her, or get her ruffled. You just don’t see her lose her composure no matter what. Once when she was cleaning Papa’s house up just a bit she picked up a stack of old newspapers. As she walked toward the front door I noticed the head of a snake sticking out of one end of the stack and coincidentally, the tail coming out the other end . I said something akin to “Uh, Mom? There’s a snake in there.” Or more likely OH MY GOSH MOM DO YOU SEE THAT HUGE SNAKE???? “Well, yes, of course I see it Lu, that’s why I’m taking it outside” she replied. In her mind, as long as she could keep an eye on both the head and the tail there was no danger involved. So really. Calm, cool, and collected personified.
Now Daddy on the other hand? He could get rattled. He didn’t particularly like to be sneaked up on, surprised, or ambushed. This NO SURPRISES, OH UH-UH NOT ME, THANK YOU trait is something that I've inherited .There is nothing I hate more than to be scared. Watch a scary movie? WHY ON EARTH would I want to do that? What is WRONG with people who actually seek out being frightened?
I’ve mentioned that the farm had no plumbing to speak of. Or at all. Mom would occasionally leave a little bit of water in a pot or a tea kettle in the kitchen so when we arrived the next time we’d have a little water in which to wash our hands. No one wants to have to draw a bucket of water from the well as soon as they walk in the door.
(Oh and that reminds me. I must tell you of the many times that we got stuck in the mud (after dark)on the dirt road about a half mile from the farmhouse. Good times.)
Anyway, after arriving late one Friday evening (I always imagined that all my friends were at the movies, or on a date(!!), or at least in a house with, you know, more than one light bulb) Daddy walked into the kitchen, picked up the tea kettle (he mentioned that it seemed unusually heavy…) and poured a little water over his hands just to rinse them off. After he put the kettle down and walked back outside, my Mom, my sister, and I watched as absolutely the longest snake I had ever seen proceeded to unwind itself from inside that tea pot, crawl out the spout, off the counter and out the back door. No one really said anything until my Mom said plainly “Well, I’m just glad that thing didn’t come out when your Daddy rinsed his hands. The man would have started running and probably never stopped.”
“Now girls, let’s get the rest of the things out of the car, and please, let's not speak of this to your father. He just doesn't need to know."