Snakes in the House

Published 1:41 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2022

This column could be titled A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Family Reunion, but that will take a little ‘splaining. Something happened a few weeks ago on the weekend of our recent family reunion and it might be funny after all was said and done, but not so funny while it was happening.

It happened at my ninety-one year old mother’s house on a Friday afternoon when all the family was arriving for the big weekend. We were hoping that it would be nothing but fun, but it didn’t start out that way.

Mother has dealt with a leg wound that is taking its own, sweet time healing and, consequently, she has had to have visits from a Home Health agency regularly. They come twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. The incident for today happened on a Friday.

I had visited on Friday morning and it wasn’t unusual for me to return to Bainbridge before the nurse got there. That was the case on this day and about 2:00 in the afternoon the nurse called.

She had used a towel in her caring for mother and was to put it on the top of the washing machine in the utility room. The utility room is about two steps down and she said, “I don’t know why I looked down but I’m glad I did. There was about a two feet oak snake resting on the top step. As soon as I saw it, it slithered underneath the washing machine and I could see about six inches of its tail. I quickly shut the door so the snake couldn’t get out,”

I thanked the Lord for more than one thing. First, that the Home Health nurse didn’t have a conniption fit when she saw the snake. Secondly, that it was an oak snake and not one of those that rattles. And, finally that the nurse had the presence of mind to shut the door and secure the room.

Two problems. One, how to get the snake out of a small room with four appliances: a hot water heater, a washer, a dryer, and a huge and heavy freezer. Number two. If the snake stays. What are we going to tell twenty kinfolks that arrive for a wonderful weekend?

“Welcome! By the way, we have a snake in the house.” The adults might be able to understand that the snake is captured in the utility room. But children? Not a chance. Try explaining to a child that it’s only an oak snake.

I called some neighbors who farm in the community. Thankfully, they volunteer to go to the house and capture the snake. Only problem, the snake crawls under a freezer filled with frozen foods and weighs about as much as an army tank.

Another friend says, “Try some Snake Away.” I explain that the purpose of Snake Away is to keep snakes away, duh! This snake was already in the house.

“Put it in there anyway,” he says. “It may offend him enough to make him crawl out the same hole he crawled in.” That makes me wonder just what hole he climbed in. Too many questions.

Everybody arrives and the subject of a snake in the house is kept a secret from the little ones and the door to the utility room is kept closed. And guess what?

The next morning my nephew is up early and outside the house getting ready for the forty pounds of Boston Butts we’re going to barbecue. As he passes the end of the house where the utility room is, his eye catches a two feet oak snake crawling in the yard. I guess it’s true, “All’s well that ends well.” Now we can laugh!