Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Southern Snake, Northern Woman”



A recent encounter with a small snake in the pool (I'll leave it to you to decide how I handled it) reminded me of an article I wrote when we first moved here:
The tie-dyed shirt with the starburst centered over my navel was probably the give-away. I wasn’t totally in step with the Movement. Although I wanted to subscribe to the idea women could do whatever men could, in the depths of my being I suspected my weakness. Years later, I shamelessly admitted it. When it came to finding and removing scary things, I’d call my husband, Bob.
When we moved to the South a few years ago, I was particularly nervous about encountering a southern snake. But after several months, the only snake I saw was at the zoo.
Consequently, I was not overly concerned about the notice the Terminix technician left after a routine inspection. I opened it and read: No sign of termite activity. Saw snake enter vent in crawlspace.
The cold blood pulsing through my veins rivaled that of my adversary.
 I considered sending in the intrepid puppy, but I knew if anything happened to her my daughter would be unforgiving. And since I was approaching the age my children would start having a say about my future, I needed to make sure their most recent memories were favorable.
Other snake-hunting tactics seemed equally implausible. I could hardly imagine enticing it with a mouse tied to a string, a glue-pad, or worse, a pronged stick which I’d have to pin around its slithery neck.
 I didn’t even want to open the basement door. No, there was only one option.
Turning to Bob I asked, “What are we going to do?” knowing full well the answer did not include the plural “we.”
Bob looked into the eyes of the woman he promised to love, honor, and cherish. Too kind to say, “Who are you kidding?” he heaved a deep sigh and smiled. Although hunting snakes in a crawlspace rated alongside chasing bats out of a bedroom, he squared his shoulders and said, “I’ll go in.”
Eager to help, I stomped around upstairs, but to no avail. Ten minutes later, Bob emerged empty-handed and closed the door.
It’s been several months since we last saw a mouse around here—an observation that fuels the disquieting suspicion that I still have a houseguest. But I refuse to live in fear. Granted, I still squint at corners when I enter a room, but I am becoming a Southern woman who can handle such things.
“Besides,” I tell Bob, “I know what to do now if I see one in the house.”
“What?’ he asks.
“Throw a blanket over it,” I respond smugly.
He is curious. “And then what?”
I smile.
“Call you.”

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