How To Relate to Animals, Part 1  

Posted by Dave in

WARNING: The following post contains scenes of graphic (and hopefully humorous) violence. Further, it may contribute to the portrayal and perception of "Ugly Americans", especially as related to rural living. Any views construed to be against animals are not the views of... OK, maybe they are...

Ok, so we don't get a lot of company up here. Friends speak of the drive, or the weather, but perhaps there is another more subtle reason. Let's talk about last evening.

My daughter had a town girlfriend up for a play date, and by coincidence another adult friend stopped up for a surprise visit and found me cleaning up tiny mouse droppings from behind the toaster. Since I was also in the middle of making supper while simultaneously preparing several dishes ahead for the freezer, I continued to work while the other adult played with the children and pretended not to notice.

My cabin is actually a series of additions to an original small cabin, and there are a few places where the occasional field mouse sneaks in for a small taste of whatever the children drop on our floor. I am not really a messy pig. No really. Seriously.

Anyhow, while I listened to the chatter and worked as quickly as I could, I raced around the kitchen rattling pans stirring pots and searching for ingredients. Upon discovering I needed an onion, I slipped on my work boots and ran out for it. Getting out there, I chased an errant jake turkey out of the garden, grabbed my onion and raced back inside.

A pot of chicken stock was boiling a bit too hard, so without removing my boots, I stirred down the boil and reduce the heat. I turned away for a moment to check on the kids, and when I turned back, a movement on the wall behind the stove caught my eye.

Now, in the interest of full disclaimer, I feel compelled to admit that, like Indiana Jones, one of my few irrational fears is snakes... Like the large, dark one that was now crawling from behind my stove and headed across the counter between my fancy vinegars and up behind my corner cupboard. Startled, I called for my friend to take the children and leave. Although neither she nor anyone else could see the snake, she shot me a look of irritated disbelief, rolled her eyes and went, taking everyone into the living room.

Using the chicken tongs, I grabbed the tail of the rapidly disappearing snake and pulled. The irritation of the snake manifested in a reversal and striking motion (rather than an eye roll), so I quickly (understatement) flipped the snake onto the kitchen floor.

Now at this point I need to add that most of what follows was related to me after the fact, as I have little or no direct recollection of many of these incidents. So as the snake tried to decide whether to strike at me again or to head underneath the freezer or the refrigerator, I made the decision for it and began to try to jump onto its head with the heel of my boots. The dance which ensued can best be described by the steady stream of obscenities that issued from my mouth as I alternately jumped up to avoid the snake's parries and down in the attempt to catch its skull. At least once, it caught on my pant leg and was flung into the air only to turn, ready to strike again. Alarmed by the commotion, my friend came out to the doorway, and seeing the battle, shouted "Use your Knife!!"

Rather than explaining the foolishness of that suggestion, I - apparently - calmly, explained that I would if it weren't trying to bite me, and continued to jump and lunge like a scene from Riverdance while she beat a hurried retreat back to the living room and began to hug herself and rock on the couch, with her feet well away from the floor I hasten to add.

All epic battles do eventually come to an end, and this was no exception. As I hurriedly picked up the still twitching carcass with my tongs and headed outside, I passed through the living room. The scene there is testimony to something, but as I have not yet finished analyzing it, I leave it to you to judge. The adult friend and the other town kid were huddled together on the couch, shaking, while my daughter sat calmly texting someone on a borrowed cell phone and my son was loudly complaining that he wanted to finish playing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I cleaned up the mess and served dinner quickly, trying to distract. But our company seemed to have no appetite, and quickly left. Even though I noticed the mouse sized bulge in the belly of the snake, I can't help but wonder how long it will be before we have company again. Good thing I love the solitude.

P.S.: For those who may be harboring thoughts that I may be "anti-reptilic", or that I have commited a hate crime, I hasten to add that this morning I rescued a yellow box turtle from a blind curve on the road to town. In fact, some of my best friends are reptiles...

Does that help fix my Karma?






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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 2:13 PM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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