Tuesday, July 12, 2011


North has a great pic of a bull snake over at his place.
I don't freak when I run across snakes, but I give them no quarter either.
In my driving age teens, late 70's, we had a drought that was driving the armadillos and snakes up out of the creek bed in droves. My brother had a guinea pig in a cage in the garage. Guinea pig was not happy and made a lot guinea pig noises. I came home at dusk from an errand to the grocery store for mom, parked my '68 bug at the curb and commenced up the driveway with two bags of groceries in my arms. (for the 30 something and younger, those were great big brown paper sacks, they are in the museum next to the vinyl LPs) As I was approaching the halfway mark I caught a wiggley squiggle in my peripheral vision. Having spent years stalking the creek bed with my Sheridan 5mm pump pellet gun, I immediately stopped and lowered the grocery sacks and peeked over the top. Mr. (or Ms., not sure) Copperhead wiggled over to the nearest cover it could find, the right rear tire of the Elder Kx59's Blazer and coiled up.
I had caught the snake on its approach to the open garage door and the squeeking guinea pig.
I learned my snake killing skills from my mother. If you were a snake and she had a sharp shooter shovel, or a lawnmower, you were shit out of luck. Although, drawing the short straw to go out and see if the water moccasin in the lawn mower bag was "dead" sucked pretty bad.
Taking stock of my available weapons, I had Dad's car, Mom's car, the big Sista's car, two grocery sacks, my foot and not much else.
So I backed up and set the grocery sacks on the hood of the car. As copperheads are prone to do, it stayed right there, thinking that it was hidden next to the black tire. Instinct fails sometimes.
Looking around, and trying to keep my eye on the snake, the only thing I could find that gave me a killing advantage at distance was a softball. For once, all those years pitching in little league baseball would come in handy.
The first split finger fastball missed. I'm pretty sure the word "shit" passed through the nub between my ears right then.
So off I go to chase down the softball. I found the softball and returned for my second pitch. Copperhead's instincts failed again, that would have been the prime opportunity to slither off into the neighbor's yard.
Second pitch was on the mark, strike one and you're out.
My personal space sphere for snakes is about my height plus two feet, about the same distance i'm willing to get to the roof edge of tall buildings, should I manage to face plant. If you are a snake at the edge of my personal sphere and moving away, you are good to go. Any other circumstances be warned, I pack a softball.

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