Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Snakes and Guns

When we moved in more than 15 months ago, we were told that there were some poisonous snakes to be concerned about here: mostly cooperheads and rattlers. But since then, we've only seen dead ones in the road and two little tiny ones on the property that only made one-time appearances. Clearly, our guard was down.

So over the weekend, I'm on the front porch, finishing off a book of short stories ("The Boys of My Youth," by Jo Ann Beard - I recommend it, thanks Book Fairy Natalie!!!), when I noticed that a small friendly lizard has climbed up on the porch with me. So I'm chatting with Mr. Lizard when I then hear rustling under the house and then the porch, and in no time, I watch this BIG black snake come sidewinding out into the front flower bed. He's chasing something that's hopping for its life. A baby mouse? No, it's a small toad. Run, toad, run!

SNAKE! BIG SNAKE! I yell to Mason, who's inside the cabin. Now I hear rustling inside the cabin, and for a few seconds I'm whispering expletives in my head, wondering what's taking Mason so long to come to my rescue. But then I realize he's going for the shotgun.

Seconds fly by and the snake has snatched the toad in its mouth and is now quite still, perhaps waiting for its poison to disable Mr. Toad. Mason comes racing out the front screen door with his shotgun raised. I point to the snake and Mason take 3 seconds to decide if it's a poisonous model, then, BOOM!

The snake is dead. He's got multiple shotgun pellets peppered into his triangular little head. And sorry, the toad does, too, as he was in the snake's jaws.

Now we investigate. The snake's sharp little triangular head makes us think it's poisonous, but it's skin doesn't look like the argyle pattern of a copperhead and there's no rattler. We turn to the smartphone and determine nothing. So maybe it was poisonous, or maybe not. But it's dead. (Sorry for the blurry photo; I was a bit unnerved.)

So when all is said and done, I ask Mason: So was I right? Was it a big snake?

"I wasn't disappointed that I got the gun," he returned. And that's saying something, because now he's gotta clean the shotgun.

Meanwhile, minutes after the flurry of activity, we realize the ear-piercing crack of the gun has promptly sent Nick into full panic mode. He's missing, which means he's under the house. Under the house, where the snake came from. Grrrrrrrrreat. (Don't worry, he's the second-greatest-dog-ever; he came out when we called!)


  1. Hi Nan!
    thought I'd check in to see what you were up to. Geez . . .snakes, toads, guns? Talk about high adventure! So glad you liked the book. It's one of my all-time favorites.

    xo, natalie

  2. Natalie! Will email you!! For fellow readers, yes, "The Boys of My Youth" is a fabulous collection of writing. The unflinching voice of a real girl, later a woman, who takes all the sappiness out of nostalgia and recounts a lifetime of experiences that resonate so perfectly. Or maybe I just loved it because my old friend Natalie shared it with me. Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I'll never get a gig as a book reviewer. Just read the damn thing!