A Country Girl's Rite of Passage Continues
I am so sorry this has taken so long to finish but, hey, my chaotic life got in the way! But I am back and ready to rock and roll! If you haven't read the first part of this story, or if you need to be reminded since I took so long to finish, you can read it here!
Now, where was I? Oh yes, Herman. The snake. So, here I found myself armed with the shovel ready to do battle with this slithery critter when he disappears under the steps. Could it be that he might be just as afraid of me as I am of him? Naw, just an evasive move to reposition himself for the impending jump towards me. Yes, snakes jump. May not be a proven fact but in my mind they can jump, fly, sprout legs to run and if they are really pissed off can grow two feet more to look you straight in the eye! I stood still and waited for the beast to show himself. And waited...And waited... After about five minutes that shovel was getting very heavy and I needed to check on the kids.
OK, kids were still asleep, and snake still hiding. I decided to grab another cup of coffee while I could. Besides, more caffeine is a good thing when you are preparing to battle with a beast named Herman, right? I took my cup of joe to the window which overlooks the back steps and watched from there. It didn't take long until Herman came out slowly tasting the air with that evil looking forked tongue of his. Time for battle! I ran back outside armed with my rusty shovel and blocked his retreat back under the steps. Undaunted by my obviously brilliant move, he took off in front of the porch behind the azealas. I struck him as he crossed over the brick border but only managed to slow him down a bit as he found a small crack in which he could rest. Now, I have him cornered. Only one way in, only one way out.
Before I finish, I need to explain exactly where he was and how my porch plays an important part to this story. The porch is about 3 or 4' off the ground. In front is an unruly mix of azealas, weeds, and just overgrown craziness. At the end of the bed lies an always wet and muddy spot where the kitchen's drains end up. It is in this spot where the snake is hid. It is also right below the edge of the porch. I realized that I could stand on my porch right above him and wait for him to stick his head out. At that point, I could use the shovel as a sword and stop him in his tracks all from the safety of my porch. Easy right? Well.....
There are two things that I had not thought of before setting this plan into motion. The height of my porch versus the length of the shovel and that muddy area I told you about. Now, after realizing the first problem, the only way I could reach the snake with my shovel was to lay down on my porch with the top part of my body hanging over the snakes hideout. Now, I'm not worried about my being to close to Herman, however, I'm not the most graceful southern girl there ever was. In all honesty, while walking I can trip over a ladybug and fall into a briar bush face first! So, this perilous position I am now in makes me wonder if I will fall over the porch when striking the snake and essentially kissing him on the mouth! Nonetheless, here I am and he is coming out. It's now or never! I raise the shovel and strike hard and it's a direct hit! Yay me! In my excitement of my victory, I start to stand and see that I have lodged the snake in the mud not cutting his head off. He begins to wiggle out from under the shovel, which is now buried very deep in the mud! Crap.
Having to quickly assess the situation, I see a hoe on the porch. So, I grab it and shove the snake into the mud as far as I can. Now, if you remember my problem with the height of the porch and the length of the shovel, you can probably guess where this is headed. Yep. Same problem. At this point, I have the snake, the shovel, and the hoe all stuck in the thick mud. And that evil creature is still trying to get out! My only option is to drive him further down into the mud. How do you ask? Well, I put as much weight onto the hoe and shovel as I can. Essentially, I am now holding onto the porch while standing on the shovel and hoe's handles. It works driving them down further and the snake stops all wiggling. Whew! I am exhausted and so proud of myself. I leave everything as it is to show Barry, my husband, how proficient and brave I was. I decide to make another pot of coffee and have a cupcake (or two) to celebrate after I called Barry to let him know that I had just killed a snake with a shovel just like my Grandmother did when I was little girl. He said, "Wow! You got close enough to cut off his head? I'm so proud of you!"
The end right? Well, I have to let you in on what happened when Barry came home. I immediately took him to the backyard, or the battlefield if you will, and proudly showed him the killing zone. He took in the scene before him and started to pull out first the shovel, then the hoe, and finally, the very dead Herman. This process took quite a while, since everything was stuck about a foot under the mud. Eventually, he retrieved the snake from it's muddy grave and started to laugh when I asked how I did with my first kill. He held up the still in one piece snake and said I had very successfully drowned my first snake! And that, my friends, is how this southern gal completed her rite of passage living in the country!