August 19, 2009

Watch Out for Women Who Like Snakes

Recently Julius was given a small book from the Game and Fish Commission that shows all the snakes that are native to our area. He loves that thing. We look through it frequently and talk about all the different kind of snakes, which ones are poisonous, which ones I've seen, etc.

My mom was in the office the other day just sitting around with us and chatting. I told Julius to show her the book and have her point out the snakes she's seen because she's been roaming the woods for close to a hundred thousand years.

And she didn't disappoint with the stories. She told him of the time she had a big showdown with a black racer that chased her. She was out with a client and stepped over a log and the client said, "Isn't that a snake?" And she said, "Where?" And he said, "On that log between your legs..."

She looked down and sure enough there was the racer and, as she described it, she leaped about four feet straight up into the air. I picture this like in those cartoons where the characters jump straight up and their legs are moving like they're running for a few seconds before they get any forward motion.

The snake, obviously perturbed, began chasing her and she ran at top speed away from it until she couldn't run anymore. Finally she turned, breathless, and said, "I can't go on... if you're gonna get me, just bring it on, snake!" Apparently calling his bluff she scared the snake back and he turned and fled the other direction to find a new log without some crazy redheaded lady jumping around on it.

Rob asked, "Racers aren't poisonous, though, are they?"

She admitted they were not. He asked, "Then why were you running from it?"

"Because it was chasing me."

I thought that sounded completely logical.

* * *

She also told of the time when she and I were living in a temporary home after the place we lived in had burned. It was an old, charming home, and had been long-empty and now was full of tiny little mice -- "popcorn mice" as my mom refers to them. They were so very small, smaller than half my thumb and they'd wander around in scurrying packs. You'd open drawers and they'd be hanging out in there having little parties in the soup ladles and dish towels. At night when we'd watch TV we had to keep our feet up on the coffee table so they didn't run up our pajama legs.

Invariably in the country where there are mice there are also snakes. One day I was walking through the kitchen and heard some kind of strange sputtering noise and was sure my mom had left something in the toaster oven. I glanced into the glass door and didn't see anything and the noise stopped. I walked by again later and heard it again and couldn't get over that there had to be some sort of short in the cord and it was sparking or something. So, I decided to unplug it. I pulled the toaster oven forward on the counter and started to follow the cord back to where the plug was. It was then I saw the noise was was not an electrical short but the biggest black snake I'd ever seen in my life. It was stretched across the back of the counter behind the toaster, toaster oven, coffee maker and cannisters I couldn't see its head or tail, but could see in between the stuff on counter that it stretched a long, long, long way.

My life passed before my eyes and I ran screaming out the back door, "MAAAAAAAAHHHMM!"

Valiant warrior that she is, she ran in, brandished a large kitchen knife and waved it menacingly at the snake who decided to take cover inside the cabinet. Except for its head which it poked up through a crack in the cabinet and eyeballed my maniacal, knife-wielding mother. I'm not sure if that was self-preservation or if he was trying to decide if he could take her.

I stood on the arm of the couch in the next room being completely cowardly. But, to my credit, I was 12 or so and hadn't yet inherited the whole knife-brandishing thing yet. That would come later.

At this point, Julius interjects into the story, "Did you chop his head off, Grandma?" I cringed. He sounded way too excited about the head-chopping. She admitted that was what her intention was but he kept going back down into the cabinet and eventually we lost track of where he was.

He said, "Did you know that if you chop a snake's head off his body keeps moving? Alex told me that and it's true you know."

She said, "Yes, it is true. Dead snakes keep moving. Even if you cut them up into little pieces all the pieces keep moving around for a whole day afterward. You really need to cut them into small pieces."

I glanced over at her. "Mom..."

She looked at me and shrugged. "Women hate snakes. They hate them because of the story of Adam and Eve. Eve was deceived by a snake and that's why women hate them."

I froze in the middle of typing and looked over at Julius who was looking at me for some indication of whether or not this was the truth. I rolled my eyes. He looked at Grandma and then back at me. I started typing again.

My mom continued, "In fact, there's something wrong with a woman who likes snakes. Watch out for those women."

I scrunched down in my seat, getting closer and far more interested in what I was typing. I'm wondering what kind of strange ideas my oldest son will have about women and families by the time he is old enough to start dating.

At least I hope he doesn't fall in love with a snake lover, because if he does he'll have a lot of explaining to do with his grandmother.


  1. I am with grandma. Watch out for snake loving women. Ugh.

  2. Poisonous or not, I'd be running too! These are really great stories. I can just see your son now......eyes wide open, totally glued.

  3. No snake lover here, either; but I have a 7 year-old grandson who picked on up by it's tail and brought it in the house to show his mother...she was not appreciative!

  4. I love how your mom plays along with you and your son. She sounds like a lot of fun.

    I would have high-tailed it out of the house, too, if I found a snake on the counter! Yikes! Your mother is brave, really brave.

  5. I'm not sure what Dr. Freud would say about the whole women who love/hate snakes issue, but I can state with absolute and entirely biased certainty that no one in their right mind should ever love a snake.

    They all want to eat you, it's just that most of them can't quite figure out how. They're working on it, though. They're always working on it...

    Coquetting Tarradiddles

  6. Oh yeah, I can testify to the fact that snakes keep moving. We try not to kill the "good" snakes around here, but the rattlesnakes that come up to the house are, unfortunately, most likely to be killed. I'd tell you a story about one snake that just didn't seem to die, but it's a little gruesome and kind of creepy.

  7. Your mother is amazing! She and my mother, I think, would get along quite well. They would certainly have stories to tell, that's for sure. I mean, a little exaggeration never hurt...especially when you're telling it to a six-year old.

  8. Wow, I'm certainly in the minority here. I like snakes. Have had a couple as pets. I would much rather have a snake on the counter than the mice. Oh, and the racer, more than likely they just ran in the same direction rather than it wanting to chase her.

  9. Oh I LOVE the little things we inherit from our parents, don't you? I won't get into a convertible without a hat because people in convertibles go bald. Yup. That's what my dear momma told me. She appealed to my sense of vanity and it worked! LOL

  10. Your mom must have been the Unsinkable Molly Brown in a past life!

  11. The way you and your mom tell stories is so entertaining! Is she just a 'teller' of stories, or does she, also, write them? I love the 'format' you use on your posts, the conversational aspect, and you always make me laugh. I'm so glad I found you! You never disappoint ...

  12. OH MY GOD. I think snakes are kind of cool... but not in person without a cage. I would DIE if a snake chased me. I would absolutely pass out. And if there were ever a snake behidn my toaster oven. I think I would sell the house and never enter again. they scare the bejeesuz outta me...

  13. Loved this story. Thanks for posting it! Have to say that snakes aren't my favorite animal, but they make for great stories!

    (Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog not too long ago and commenting on the review of "Martha's Freedom Train." Glad you enjoyed it.)

  14. Your mum is fab. I had a friend who couldn't even hear the word 'snake' without wanting to faint. Very weird. I think she should have met your mum.

  15. Those are hysterical!!!
    when i lived in florida we'd get black snakes that would climb up the call and rest on the little stucco ledges- right outside the door. we'd walk by a dozen times before the first panic.

    my mother is notorious for finding them in her pool too. she'll swim after dark, and they love to hang out along the wall inside the pool- for some reason she's the ONLY one who has ever had them in the pool with her.

  16. Lizards good. Snakes bad. We call their brand of movement "slithering." Doesn't that urgly word just say it all?

  17. Both these stories are delightful. I've never had one chase me (just get away) or one in the house. I hope to never have one in the house either. However, I don't mind being somewhat close to one so as to get a picture. Hope all is well. Have a great day.

  18. Those stories are wonderful! I'm with your mom, I run from snakes - poisonous or not.


    Coming to a theater near you.

  20. I would have been standing on the couch with you! Snakes are creepy. Not sure about your mom's Adam and Eve theory, though... I've heard less thoughtful explanations.

  21. That is hilarious! And I'm gonna have to agree with Grandma on this one. I don't trust women who like snakes. There is just something not right about it. and now that I've heard her explanation...I get it. hahah

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving me such a nice comment. Nice to meet you.


  22. Ha, what if I don't *like* snakes so much as 'tolerate the idea of my boyfriends ginormous rat-eating python so long as he keeps it at his parents house 800 miles away from me' ;)

    And I'm sure it wasn't so cute living with a bunch of them, but popcorn mice sound really adorable.

  23. hee! Suzy: Snakes on a Blog. ha! I like it.

    That jumbo black snake sounds identical to the one we found in our cellar. I thought it was a pile of snakes, not just one. Since my husband is the one who's terrified of snakes I was the one wielding the As Seen On TV Ginsu knife at the poor snake's head. I took one swipe, missed, Mark & I shrieked like ninnies, and the snake slithered away. I felt pretty bad after that for trying to kill it. The snakes were the only thing keeping all the mice at bay. So. I'm a fan of non-poisonous snakes for that reason.

    I never get tired of hearing the wisdom that comes out of your Mom's mouth. She's pretty much like Aesop or something.

  24. my mother actually vacuumed a snake and then locked the vacuum in a closet till my dad came home....and then when they opened the closet and looked in the vacuum it was gone.........

  25. I'm a gal who turns over stones to look for snakes. Uh, my dad's one of those reptile people. Not afraid of snakes one bit, but I prefer birds and dogs.

  26. Haha! You have such an interesting mum with such an interesting theory on the correlation between women and snakes.


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