I’ve lived in suburban neighborhoods for most of my life. I’ve encountered the usual hazards such as hail, heavy snow, torrential rain, high winds, loose gravel, broken branches in the road, bird strikes against windows, mud and lightning. When I lived in the Shenandoah Valley, a lightning bolt once hit the ground next to the house during a rainstorm. It sounded like a cannon going off and I swear I must’ve jumped three feet into the air.
But it’s suburban wildlife that gets me. I’ve told you about my adventures with Skunkzilla and Houdini the master escape artist squirrel (read about them here if you’ve recently joined us), but I should probably mention the other hazards of suburban wildlife to warn all the others out there. I’m talking about my two snake stories.
In one home, my sibling had a bedroom in the basement. I was tidying up the kitchen one day and walked downstairs to my sib’s bedroom to put some books and a watch on a desk. I saw a rubber snake lying on the desk near the lamp, so I put the items I was carrying next to it and went back up the stairs to finish cleaning. Later, I went downstairs again to take some more stuff down there and noticed one important change.
There was no snake on the desk.
It took about two seconds for it to sink in: That was NO RUBBER SNAKE. I shut the bedroom door and ran upstairs to my other sib. “What do we do?” We fearfully crept downstairs and slowly, cautiously opened the door. Something slithered down the other side of the door (guess who?), so we shut it, hastily stuffed a rug over the bottom of the door and had another person come to the rescue later.
(I should mention that the snake was a poisonous copperhead. And I put my hand right next to it. Can we say “Ignorance is bliss”?)
As for story #2, it occurred in my present home. I opened an outside door and a baby black snake decided to come in for a visit. I was not happy about the unexpected guest, so I grabbed a nearby broom and tried to sweep him back out again.
He was a sociable little guy. The more I swept to push him out, the more he wiggled and wanted to come in. Luckily for me, my British friend H. was staying with me at the time. H. is a resourceful person, so she grabbed a flyswatter, shoved it under the baby snake and tossed him upward and outside.
The baby snake flew in an almost-perfect arc through the air and slammed down onto the deck. He laid there shaking his head and I could practically hear him thinking, “What the heck? What just happened?” After a short while, the baby snake decided to go visit somebody else and disappeared, to our relief.
Suburbia: You can always count on the local wildlife to keep things lively.