Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dr. Rattlesnake

There are a lot of snakes around my parents' house. Growing up, the most common phrase we heard, after "SARARUTHNOAHPETER...WHOEVER YOU ARE...inside, NOW!" and "Alright, who did it?!" and "I will pull this car over RIGHT now!", was "Watch out for snakes." We didn't have cable, we didn't have video games (except our Nintendo...which Peter ultimately destroyed by chewing through the controller cables), we didn't really have a lot of indoor stuff (except for mine and Sara's Barbies and Noah and Peter's G.I. Joes...which all ended up outside in the dirt can't have doll wars inside, duh), so we played outside most of the time. Which, I think most kids should be doing nowadays instead of sitting around watching TV, but that's none of my business (whistle whistle...looking away nonchalantly).

We were always on the lookout for snakes. Amazingly, none of us (knock on wood) have ever been bitten. We've run across the pretty green grass snakes, oak snakes, water moccasins/cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, king snakes, you name it...well, no boa constrictors or anything like that. During the Summer, they liked to hid in the cool shade under the pool floats that were draped over the railing and, on many occasions, I reached under to pick up a float and brushed a snake. Like Steve Irwin always said, they're more afraid of you than you are of them. Oh, Steve. They usually give you a dirty look and go on about their business. I used to do my schoolwork (have I ever told y'all I was homeschooled?) downstairs in the Man Cave and one day, I walked up and down the stairs a million times. On one trip up, I spotted a coiled oak snake in the corner of one of the stairs. Why he never struck me, I don't know. I'm pretty sure that God assigns the most insane and fierce guardian angels to people that live in the woods.

There are a lot of wildlife and insect noises that constantly fill the air here...but you can always tell when there's a rattlesnake nearby. The sound is very distinct. I mean, well, yeah. It's like rattle rattle rattle imma gonna git you. Usually, we leave the snakes alone. They catch the mice. However, rattlesnakes are a different story. We're not going to chance them slithering off (igggh even the word "slither" is creepy) and showing back up another day to bite one of us...or worse, a kid. And yeah, there's anti-venom, but it would take a good little drive to get to the hospital or for the ambulance to get out here.

On Wednesday, I was sitting here working away...the girls were playing...Mom was doing something in the kitchen. Peter was carrying off a watermelon rind to dump into the woods. I hear the screen door swing wide open and the Never Dramatic Peter, she said sarcastically, comes barging into the house yelling something about "A DINOSAUR IN THE FRONT YARD!" He wasn't quite THAT dramatic, but you guys have to get Peter tell you a story sometime...he's like Darby O'Gill. Anyways. I just had this vision of a python sunning in the peonies. I laughed it off and got back to work. Mom goes outside to inspect, however. Then, she calls me on her cell phone and says I have GOT to come see this rattlesnake outside. So, of course I hopped up, made sure the girls were good, and headed outside. Mom had left the fridge door open, so I shut it (I mention that in the video, so I wanted y'all to know what the random "I shut it" comment was about). As soon as I step outside onto the porch, I hear the rattle. Oooh, it's an eerie sound. Now, he wasn't a dinosaur, but he was a pretty big fat rattlesnake. His head was about the size of, hmmmm I'd say a clementine orange. Ha, I honestly can't think of any other object to compare it to. Bigger than an egg...smaller than a baseball...I dunno. It was fairly big.

Please forgive my ridiculous commentary. My voice still hasn't gone back to normal since I was pregnant. Stupid hormones. So, I basically sound like a raspy blues singer who smokes 3 packs a day. And I get all excited when there are snakes and guns involved. The drama. Who knows what's gonna happen.

In case my dazzling cinematography skills blow your mind, here is a rundown...
I run outside and say dumb stuff, like "O-M-Gyaahhhh" because I'm 13 years old. We were all trying to keep the snake mad so he wouldn't leave...Mom makes weird noises like whoop whoop! boo boo! Gray Cat was insistent on suicide runs with the snake (he's the one that got it mad in the first place). Mom got Dad's .22 rifle. Peter wanted to shoot it so bad. They argue for a little bit. Mom wanted Papaw or Dad to shoot it. Papaw showed up with his shotgun, then Mom decided she wanted Dad to shoot it because well, it's Papaw and he does stuff like this. Papaw took a break from the wrangling to eat some blueberries. Mom's in hysterics the whole time. Dad came home from work and shot it. I scream. We all approach the dead snake and try to determine where his head was. We all try to scare each other. Mom says inappropriate things to Dad in the background. Peter scares Mom. Peter messes with the body and eventually cuts his rattles off with a hedge clipper and they are now proudly displayed on the back porch with the other sets of rattles. Yep. That's my family...rednecks. At least we don't fight over who gets to hang the squirrel tail Christmas ornament on the tree each year...........................................................................

Here you go.


  1. Two little boys sat here completely fascinated by that video! And then they put their arms inside their shirts because they got shot off.

  2. I so want to be adopted by your family.

  3. Rattlesnakes are probably one of the reasons my mom knows how to shoot so well (that, and the squirrels...). But we never kept the tails. You guys crack me up.

    Ruthie! I'm coming down to the big city after the 4th of July. Will you still be there with the twins? I wanna see 'em. And you, of course. And Saray if she's there.
    E-mail me or something!

    P.S. My word verification was "mantieso." It sounds like it might be Spanish for "MANTIS -- THE COMIC BOOK THING" but I could be wrong. I went to public school, after all... ;)

  4. We don't have much as argument over the squirrrel tail ornament since we now have two.


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Mom, keep it clean.
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