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Thursday, May 3, 2012

...And Carry A Big Stick!

I try to take Teddy Buddy Boo Bear on a walk, to our gate, every morning. A mile round-trip. Five days a week. If at all possible. My Sweet Hubby (MSH) usually takes him on Saturdays and Sundays. TBBB looks forward to these walks. I do, too. Coming back up the hill is still a challenge for me, though. I can’t even begin to guess how many trips I’ve made to the gate and back in the eleven years we’ve lived out here (heading into our 12th  this month!). Our hill? Still gets me. I usually have to stop a couple of times and take six to eight deep breaths before I finally make it to the top.

At the first of last week, TBBB and I headed out one morning at . It was already a beautiful day. He got too far ahead of me (I like to be able to see him—at all times), so I ramped it up. As I rounded the first big curve, I saw him, thirty-ish yards away and stopped in the middle of the road. Completely and seriously focused on something that looked like it might be a turtle. When I got within approximately ten yards of him, I realized it was a coiled-up snake. Yep—I stopped dead in my tracks. Started yelling: “Come here, Teddy Bear! Now!” He glanced up at me once, as if to say: “Look! Look what I found!” As he looked back down, the snake made a strike at his sweet, precious face. Missed. Whew.

I’ll admit the snake was not big. In fact, it was probably a baby. Maybe 18 to 20 inches long. Hard to tell since it was coiled. It was dark in color, so I don’t think it was a copperhead. It wasn’t far from The Big Tank. Could have been a water moccasin. MSH has had to kill four rattlesnakes since we’ve lived out here. A friend of TLC’s killed a four-foot rattler eight years ago. It was at our gate early one summer evening. (That actually has a funny MSH “story” to it—will try to remember to share it another day.) We’ve found, while getting our Christmas tree out of the storage room in our garage three different years, rattlesnake “skins” that have been shed, probably in the Spring or early Summer. (Just shivered.)

I tried to stay calm with TBBB. But firm. He sincerely wants to be obedient, so he finally decided I was determined he was leaving that snake. I put him on the leash as soon as he got close enough for me to lunge at him. We scurried up the hill at a faster-than-usual pace. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to stop for any deep breaths. Not even once. I told Teddy MSH would walk him back down later that afternoon (assuming he wouldn’t be too scared—MSH, not TBBB). I was officially done.

Why didn’t I take a picture? It never occurred to me. That evening, MSH and I had a long discussion about my morning walks with TBBB. And snakes. I can’t agree to carry any kind of gun. I’ve only shot a rifle and shotgun once, each, in my life. A pistol one time—many, many years ago. At a target. I have no confidence about guns. Since I also wouldn’t agree to carry a knife (Lordy), Hubby suggested I take one of our big walking sticks. Because that would surely protect me. Right?

Last Friday, at lunch with two of my precious “young” friends (they are amazing women who I’m so proud to know) I work with (work being, perhaps, on my part, a loose term—I contract at an agency where they are part of the Staff—putting in three to seven-ish hours a week—me, not them), I was telling Marie and Ela about the snake incident. Marie went to her car and got some pictures she had just retrieved from Walgreen’s. Pictures of her Jack Russell named Pepper and a hognose snake Pepper went after in Marie’s yard (Marie, her husband and son also live out in the country). Hognose snakes have several nicknames, including spreading adders. That’s what Marie called this one. (I can’t tell you what TLC called it. It’s wrong. Funny. But very wrong.) According to Wikipedia, these snakes don’t want to hurt anyone. Awww—that’s tres sweet.

I am summarizing/paraphrasing Wiki:

When threatened, these snakes will flatten their necks and raise their heads like a cobra. And hiss. If this doesn’t work to deter what they perceive as a predator, they’ll roll onto their backs and play dead.


Here is Pepper Fierce, doing her darnedest to let that sCaRy cobra understand who is BOSS:

Marie lives approximately ten miles from me—as the crow flies. This snake was in her YARD. At her house. I repeat: her yard. I am quite certain, if I see a snake like this in our yard and/or pasture, whether I’m walking with TBBB or outside watering my plants or just headed to my garage to get into my car for a trip to town, I’m going to need something bigger than this stick (what I currently walk with and taken in front of our wellhouse--not an outhouse!):

I’m going to need to borrow Pepper. And buy a portable heart defibrillator (because when I fall on my back, I won’t be playing). Do y’all think it would be too much to carry a defibrillator on my walks? Are they heavy? I’ve also got to carry TBBB’s leash and my iPhone.

Gotta scoot. Must go watch a Modern Family or read a Ballard’s Design catalogue. Drink a Diet Dew. (With perhaps a little Belvedeere in it. J/K--it's mid-afternoon--way too early.) Something—anything—to get my mind off that snake.

p.s.—I want to give a belated shout-out to Autumn for coming to meet TBBB last week! Did I get a picture of that? Nope. Not one. Sheesh. Because of the distance between our homes, a round trip is well over an hour. Add to that her efforts to pick up a delicious lunch for the two of us and she made an almost four-hour commitment to our visit. TBBB and I didn’t even want her to leave. It went by tooooooo fast. I’m hugely grateful for her friendship. Merci, Autumn Doll!!!


Autumn said...

Oh my! I'm picturing you lugging a backpack to carry all your snake fighting paraphernalia up that hill! Haha. Maybe you should opt for one of those "Help, I've been bitten by a snake and I can't get up" buttons on a cord around your neck.

The Leightons said...

Well, since I never do weight-bearing exercises, as a woman my age should (according to my doctor and Dr. Oz), maybe carrying a backpack would be a very good thing! Yes--one of those beeper/button things would be just the ticket! You are too funny, Autumn Girl. Too, too funny for your own good.

Hugs to You and an early Happy Mother's Day!