My love for country living has hit a major bump in the road. Or more appropriately phrased, an enormous snake in the grass. Yeah. It all started when Superman turned to me and said, “Would you like to go for a stroll? It’s a beautiful night.” He is, after all, Superman, and how in the world was I supposed to resist those dreamy eyes or that boyish grin?
Of course I said yes. It was, indeed, a gorgeous night, with the light of the full moon cascading through the trees and onto the lawn, reflecting its soft rays off the pond. Breathtaking.
All of a sudden Superman jumped back, taking me with him. I shifted my gaze from the moon to the object of his flashlight . . . and there was the biggest snake I have ever seen in my life, up close and personal.
Let me clarify. I’ve seen bigger snakes behind glass at the zoo, but they couldn’t get to me. This one could. And he was a big ‘ol son of a snake. When he saw us, he slithered into a tiny, snake-and-frog sized hole in the grass.
That’s when Superman looked at me and said, “Let’s go get a shovel.” I was all about the shovel. My grandmother used to kill snakes with hoes, and since I’m entering a new and rugged, pioneer-woman phase of my life, I said, “Yeah! Let’s go get the shovel.”
It was kind of fun, holding hands in the dark, traipsing across the yard to the shed using a combination of moonlight and flashlight to guide our steps. Soon we were back at the hole, me holding the light and Superman holding the tool. BAM! The blade slammed into the hole, and he scraped out . . . nothing.
Closer investigation with the light revealed the snake had escaped to the back of the little cave. And it seemed we were interrupting his dinner. How rude of us. The serpent’s wide mouth was stretched around a frog, and Kermit’s two hind legs flopped out the sides.
My stomach turned, and Pioneer Woman began her retreat. That’s when Superman turns to me and says, “You stay here with the light. I’m going to get my gun.”
“It’ll be fine,” he says. “If he comes out, just run.”
Really? I don’t recall Superman ever, ever telling Lois Lane to just run. No. He’s supposed to pick her up and carry her.
Long story short, I stayed, and so did the snake. Before long, my beloved had shot once, twice, and boom. The creature died, execution style. Hey, at least he got to enjoy his last meal.
That’s when Superman used the shovel spoon to pull the now-dead, still-writhing beast out of the hole, to investigate. Black, with a white mouth. I knew it was a cottonmouth.
“It’s not a cottonmouth,” Superman assured me. “No fangs. He’s not poisonous.”
“No. I watch Animal Planet. Black body. White inside of the mouth. That, my dear, is a cottonmouth.” Never mind that Superman has lived in these parts all his life and pretty much knows his snakes. To me, all snakes are deadly. That snake was deadly to that frog. And he nearly gave me a heart attack. End of discussion.
But no. Superman had to prove he was right by cutting off the critter’s head, using a stick to pry his jaws open, and showing me there were no fangs. During this process, he lost control of the shovel, which was holding the still-moving snake in place, and the thing somehow flipped up and came flying in my direction.
Y’all, I nearly died, right then and there. Then, and I’m ashamed to admit this since I’m trying to be all rugged, but I started to cry like a little girl. Superman got the snake under control and came to my rescue in true hero style, wrapping his arms around me, telling me it was okay, yada yada. We’ll ignore the fact that he was also laughing during this whole comfort-session.
Now, I know I always try to have a moral to the story, but this time, there isn’t one. I just wanted y’all to know, so you can pray for me as I encounter the dangers of this untamed land. It’s harrowing.
“By His breath the heavens are cleared; His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent,” Job 26:13.
The 72-year-old is working with her friend Ian Kelly, award-winning biographer of Brummell and Giacomo Casanova, on a personal memoir which will be formed partly of her own voice and partly by contributions from her vast network of friends, family and associates.