Tuesday, July 6, 2010

pounce and slither

“No, no, no, leave him there, he’s alright!” This is what I said to my father-in-law who was about to brush off a praying mantis that had jumped onto my back. I had a wannabe-Jeffer moment, and I definitely got my wish. That little bugger crawled all over me. Damn, they are fast! The best part was when he got onto my head. It was pretty cool to look out of the corner of my eye, to see him doing his little bobbing and weaving dance. I got this idea in my head of a symbiotic relationship with the mantis. I would never have to worry about a fly landing on me, or getting stung by a mosquito, as long as he was around. He could be my little bodyguard.

Everybody got a good laugh at watching him scurry over my bald head. Except my mother-in-law, who mumbled something about me needing professional help.

Little did I know, but this was only the beginning of run-ins with nature that was to happen that day. This was on the fourth, and we were at our place in the country, and all of the family was there. After most had left, only my cousin, his wife and daughter were left. They didn’t leave until almost nine. As they are walking through the back yard, to get to their car, one of them lets out a shriek. It think it was my cousin. Apparently they saw a snake. I went out there to investigate, expecting a little grass snake. It was kind of hard to see, but finally I saw a little triangular-shaped head poke up. “Uh-oh,” I said to myself, “that’s not good. “

I didn’t have a hoe nearby, so I went into the wash-house, to fetch a crowbar I had hanging inside. I pinned him down with it, and as he starts squirming around, I finally get a good look at him. It’s a copperhead.

Not full grown yet, just an adolescent. But with these nasty little buggers, size doesn’t matter. He starts striking the hell out of the crowbar. I yell to my cousin to get me something else to kill it with. In the meantime his daughter is standing on one of the patio chairs, practically hysterical. I told her to calm down, she was safe.

My cousin finally comes back with another crowbar he found, quickly hands it to me and runs off. I couldn’t get at his head with it, and no matter how much I was poking him with the crowbar, it wasn’t doing any good. So my cousin finally finds a pair of lopers, quickly hands them to me, and scampers off again.

“Dude!” I say to him, “How many hands do you think I have?” So I finally am able to talk him into operating the lopers while I try and get his head up. His head comes up, and my cousin, who is hopping around like a bunny rabbit, manages to take the head off, before he runs away shrieking.

We left back for the city the next day. On the way out, I needed to get the water meter reading. With the event of last night still fresh in my memory, I was a little more cautious than usual when lifting up the cover and putting my hand in. Good thing. There was another snake coiled up inside. I didn’t hang around to see what kind it was. I just closed it back up, and walked back to the car.

When my wife noticed I hadn’t written anything down on the paper, she asked me “Didn’t you get the reading?”
“Nope,” I told her, giving her a funny little look. She knew right away why.

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