The weenie-dog doesn’t understand Weekend Time. Neither does The Perfect Grandson, but only one of them has to go outside on a leash in public at odd hours. I have a love/hate relationship with Bobo. His real name is Boner, and that explains a lot. Thankfully The Perfect Grandson is still practicing the language and has made hollering at the dog a little more acceptable. He’s Bobo now (pronounced Baaahhh-bow) and thank God for that.
Regardless, Bobo had to go outside before my second cup of Sunday coffee. I wear a lot of hats, but Em wears the one that says, “take the damn dog out.” Not my job. Besides, she looks cute all the time and I need a little spackling before I go out in the street.
I’m a Southern woman of a certain age. That carries a lot of lipstick-baggage.
So out they go and BAM, they’re back inside. Em’s hyperventilating and doing an odd tiptoe dance, Bahbow strains at his leash and throws his little black body repeatedly against the front door. Em finds enough breath to tell me there’s a baby SNAKE by the MAILBOX. She thought it was a big WORM, but then it STUCK it’s SNAKEY tongue OUT.
It was the closest thing to rap music that’s ever happened here at my house, what with the breathless emphasis and the hopping around and the thump, thump, thump of the weenie-dog slinging himself rhythmically at the door.
How silly, I thought, we live in a walled subdivision with an iron-clad set of Homeowner’s Association Rules and Regs. Snakes aren’t in the bylaws.
I snatched up The Perfect Grandson and we – all four of us – went out to the mailbox. Sure enough, there was a little brown snake half in the grass, half on the driveway. Both halves together were probably all of six inches long. It stood it’s ground and we kept our distance.
I know there are some snake-huggers out there who might take offense at what comes next, but babies and weenie-dogs and possibly-poisonous reptiles don’t mix. The snake had to go. Em high-stepped back inside dragging a frothing Bobo on a leash while I held The Perfect Grandson high and eyeballed the snake to make sure it made no fast moves houseward. The worst kind of snake is the one you can’t find. I have experience.
“SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” said the boy, pointing down.
“You got it, buddy. That,” I said, “is a snake.”
Em came flying out of the front door, having traded Bobo for a really big garden shovel. I won’t give the gory details play-by-play, but you can assume Em’s mama-bear instincts kicked in and settled the standoff. Several times. Don’t worry, I whisked The Perfect Grandson away before he could witness the carnage.
The issue now is snake identification. Since it was a baby, there’s always the possibility of more. We need to know what we’re up against. According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, it was either a deadly-venomous copperhead, or something harmless like a king snake. This isn’t an easy ID because, 1) the snake was young and those look different from the adults, and 2) it’s not easy to ID a snake that’s in approximately seven pieces.
Em got a little shovel-happy. I don’t blame her. If it’s any consolation, snake-huggers, she shouted something like oh God, I’m killing someone else’s baby just before the shovel hit concrete. On some level, she’s remorseful.
The distinction, though, between poisonous-killer and harmless snail-eater is an important one. We’ve got more research ahead of us. I’ll need another cup of coffee and an hour of sensibility before I can say for sure.
Think I’ll put on a little lipstick and look over those bylaws again.