Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Short Story About Snakes, Bugs and Rodents

But first something lovely just because every post 
deserves to be decorated with something pretty!

 In our genealogy and family history group we have started writing a little story of our childhood memories and sharing them with each other at the end of our meeting.  This has been a remarkable experience.  Every single story that someone else shares triggers memories for Jim and me about our own lives.  These triggers seem so important when trying to remember actual things about your youngest years so it doesn't just become a fog. 

My story for today is included here.  Nothing earth-shattering, just a fun exercise in creating tidbits of a personal history that can be short and easy to write and hopefully enjoyable reading for other people.  The extra bonus is that we are getting to know our friends even better through the sharing of these little stories. 

  A Snake in the Grass 
Beats a Snake in the House! 

I have never been a big fan of the lower forms of animal life like snakes, mice, spiders, wasps, grasshoppers, potato bugs or crickets. (I fully admit being just a little prissy and girlish about these sorts of things).  Some of these annoying things I like way less than others.  Since they are all equally unappealing, I have been thinking about what makes one more distasteful than another?  Don’t worry, you too can do this sort of self-analysis when you retire and finally figure out what makes you tick, (or in this case twitch).  Here is a trilogy of events that has helped me sort this out at long last.

#1.    Snakes:  When I was a child I went to a reptile museum and was just fine petting the snakes to verify that they are not really wet and I even let them tickle my hands with those piercing, little, red, forked tongues.  So, innately, I have no fear of snakes.

A few days after returning from a family camping trip, I was walking down our hall and caught a glimpse of a snake slithering lickity split across the floor and running for cover in our living room.  I screeched and jumped up on our couch while my Dad tried frantically to catch it with brown bag and broom in hand.  In the meantime my mom sprang up on the couch and started freaking out with me.  (Hey, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree)!   Finally my Dad succeeded and the culprit turned out to be a ten-inch lizard.  I am not afraid of lizards, so you’d think that would be the end of it.

Well, actually it totally freaked me out more because that thing was lurking in our camping gear, which just happened to be by me in the back seat of the car.  Thoughts of the possibility of it jumping out and scaring me half to death made my skin crawl.

#2      Bugs:  When you are a kid you often catch insects and little critters and put them in jars, poke holes in the lid, throw in some grass, you know the drill.  My brothers always had something rooming-in in the house and that didn’t scare me at all. 

One day I was out in the yard with my Dad and I think he had me trimming a bush.  All of a sudden I had that creepy feeling that someone was staring at me.  I slowly turned my head to the right and there on my shoulder, peering right at me was this giant green grasshopper.  It was so close to me I could see its eyes blinking.  Holy Shivering Cow~!  I flicked that thing so hard off of me that it hit the fence.  Then I cried because it scared me so bad.

 My Dad heard me and came running to see what happened.  When I breathlessly told him, he gave me that look that only a perplexed male can shoot to a frenzied female.  (I didn’t actually recognize it as such then, but I would now...just sayin'). He said, “Oh Honey, I think you’ll live” gave me a squeeze and then he slowly turned and walked back to his flowerbed.  I heard him say, “Sheesh” and then he muttered some inaudible stuff about women, I think it was…as he went back to work.

#3.    Rodents:  We all have had our share of field mice in the house occasionally, right?  I totally hate them and they are an annoyance and pests but I they don’t really scare me.  I mean I have never jumped up on a chair or anything even though they do make me shutter and feel disgusting.  When I was pregnant with Chris, we lived in a house on a golf course in Pleasant Hill.  Our neighborhood had an invasion of mice when they were doing some work on the third hole that stirred things up pretty well. 

 We’d hear a lot of snapping traps and in my hormonal state it pretty much creeped me out.  I kept thinking I’ll just get on the bed and cover up and that should be safe when the mice would come out at night.

One day I was talking over the hedge to our elderly neighbor, Mr. Wheeler.  He told me of his experience the night before.  It had been a warm evening and the moon was full.  He and Mrs. Wheeler were lying on the bed with the window and drapes open for ventilation.  He was having trouble going to sleep so he was just lying there thinking about how pretty the moonlight looked on the wall when suddenly a mouse scampered right across he face.  Oh my heck, that about did me in!  I never had one day of morning sickness in any of my pregnancies but I felt like throwing up right then and there.

Have you ever tried to sleep on your tummy at 7 months pregnant with the covers pulled way up over your head on a hot night?  Well don’t, it is not comfy at all!

So it is not the creature that scares me, it is the sudden, frightening appearance they can make at anytime when you least expect it.  Mix well with my vivid imagination and you’ve got trouble….one terrified, shrieking lady!  It is the surprise and the what-ifs that do me in every time.  That and the fact that I just flat out do not like anything that slithers, stings, jumps at will, bites or runs across my face or that just plain looks ugly like a potato bug.  And now don’t you go  tryin' to tell me you do!  Well OK, Susan, you can but nobody else!


Sister Susie said...

1. Ha! Ha! Try a 10 foot alligator going across your back "yard." I guess that can take care of the reptiles, lol!
2. Bugs-do you like the butterfly kits that show the children each stage they go throught from larve to butterfly? Ladybugs, lightening bugs, hey you're missing all of the fun! Ha!
3. I had some pet rats one year in my first grade class. One of my student's parents owned a pet store and donated them. However, my cat, Sarah, one time brought me a field mouse as a gift. When she came in the door, she let it go and it went running down the hallway into the bedroom under the bed! I couldn't get her to go get it, so I had to! Trapping it in a plastic cup, sliding cardboard under it, I threw it out the door as I yelled, "This is your lucky niiiiiiight!" LOL! Thanks for the memories! Love to you all, Susan.