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Posted 7/21/10 (Wed)


Remember in the  Harrison Ford movie, I think it was “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” when he is down in that pit and lights that torch? The pit is filled with snakes and Harrison Ford says, “Snakes! Why’d it have to be snakes?”
That’s the kind of deal Carm had last week. She called me, her voice on the edge of…. no, not on the edge, it was downright hysterical. A 4-foot-long bull snake had just crawled across her living room floor and was resting beneath her computer desk!
Now I try to be a good father. I am a good listener. But there just isn’t a lot I can do from a hundred and fifty miles away when there is a snake in your living room.
So I reassured her that bull snakes will keep the mice out of her house! Evidently, that is not the assurance she was looking for.
I tried to reassure her by telling her that it is not that uncommon an occurrence in a ranch house. I told her about the time Shirley went into her office at the ranch and found a rattlesnake coiled up on top of her “Cattlewoman of the Year” album. Until that time, I had never had any real reason for feeling sympathy toward a snake, but that young rattler had committed a major transgression against a lady with an Irish temper.
I think that was the same year that Shirley had been urging me to fix the screen door. No air conditioning, so in order to cool the house down, a fan would be placed near the patio screen door at night and filled the house with that wonderful, cool night air. Still better than air-conditioning, by the way.
Anyway, Shirley had been urging me to fix the screen door. I’m not real handy, so I kept putting it off.
Then one night, I was awakened gently by a nudge from Shirley. A nudge that left black and blue marks on my shoulder.
Someone was in the living room moving stuff around!
Even as deaf as I am, I could hear them. They were moving about, not even trying to be quiet! Sounded as if there were two…Wait! Three of them! Crash! Maybe four!
I recalled what Shirley had done to that rattlesnake and urged her to jump up and see what was going on.
She gently reminded me “you are the man.” The gentle reminder left a bump above my eye.
I weighed my chances…three guys in the living room, or a mad Irish woman…I chose the three guys.
I snuck down the hall to the kids’ room and armed myself with a baseball bat. I never was much of a hitter, but then I had never been this scared. This was going to be a fight to the finish.
I tiptoed down the hall, listening to these guys making themselves at home in our living room. Sounded like they were rearranging the furniture now!
At the last instant, I hit the light switch and jumped around that corner with my bat at the ready. I was screaming like a Confederate soldier!
Okie, the kids’ barrel horse, nearly had a heart attack. He was munching on some of Shirley’s houseplants and enjoying the cool breeze from that fan.
The next morning, I was in Watford buying stuff to fix the screen door. An itty-bitty snake is one thing; a twelve-hundred-pound horse is another. Sometimes you have to draw the line.
Oh yes, and before I forget. Thank you, Rusty, for going over to Carm’s and doing your “Wild Kingdom” imitation.