2017-09-08 / Commentary

Slippery Slopes and High Hopes

I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook

When I walked into the kitchen Saturday morning and saw my cat Scrappy sitting there staring under the stove I knew something was up. Scrappy has an expression she only uses when she’s brought me a “present” she’s proud of.

She was wearing that expression Saturday.

This particular expression is a hard one to read. It could mean anything. It could mean she’s got a lizard on the run, there’s a bird perched on one of my curtain rods, a mouse/rat could be crouching terrified in a corner, or there could be some disemboweled carcass lying camouflaged somewhere on one of our oriental rugs I won’t see until I step on it. Barefooted usually.

Knowing this, I stopped dead in my tracks and followed her gaze. She was clearly peering at the stove, or to be precise, under it.

I had a knee replacement surgery earlier this year, and while I’ve pretty much fully recovered, getting down on my knees to come face to face with heaven-only-knew-what wasn’t really my first choice, in case I would need to make a hasty retreat. Hasty retreats still aren’t one of my strong suits, but, sighing deeply, I crouched down ready to go into one of my yoga “down dog” positions to see what woodland creature had now taken up residence in my kitchen.

As I stooped over and put one hand on the floor, I felt something on my foot. My BARE foot. I looked down and saw an extremely confused yet mightily determined SNAKE crawling across my foot. Did I mention I was barefooted?

Now in retrospect, it was a baby snake…not more than six or eight inches long and only as big around as a typical pencil. But it was a SNAKE!

I screamed, jumped up in a way that would have made my knee surgeon proud, and did a previously unheard of “dance” of sorts that probably would have assured me a huge win on” Dancing With the Stars.” In the process, the snake was thrown across the kitchen to the steps of my husband’s office. He looked a little baffled at first but sort of shook his reptilian head and then began to climb up the stairs.

Oh HECK NO!

I’m not terrified of snakes, but I do have a healthy respect for them. I’ve held pythons and various other pet snakes of friends, and I don’t like to kill anything, so I didn’t want to hurt this fellow if he wasn’t poisonous. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time or the means to Google him to find out. I grabbed Scrappy and shoved her out of the way, screaming at her, her sister Molly, and my poor dog Whitman to go away. I snatched up the broom and the dust pan and gently urged the snake down the steps. He was a little faster than I anticipated, and, suddenly, he was between me and the door to the garage.

My plan, such as it was, was to get the kitchen door to the garage open, then open the garage door with the button right by the kitchen door and sort of “sweep” him gently out. It was a genius plan, I thought.

My dilemma was the snake was between me and the button. I managed to get the kitchen door to the garage opened, but I didn’t exactly relish the idea of looking for an irritated snake every time I went into the garage. And of course, if he stayed in the garage, the chances were good Whitman or one of the cats would find him first. And if he were indeed poisonous…well you can CLEARLY see the flaw in having a “garage snake.”

I amazed myself. I was able to balance on one foot (out of striking distance of the snake) to reach the rest of my body around the corner to the button that raised the garage door and get it open. (I am also deeply grateful to my yoga teacher Jacci who makes us do all those balance poses because as much as I sniveled about it at first, that “tree” pose may have saved my life!)

Once the snake saw the light when the garage door opened, he seemed to realize I just wanted to part company with him and not make him into parts. I swear the little guy cooperated and crawled onto the bristle end of the broom and curled right up like he was going for a ride…which he was…right out of my house. I took him outside on the broom and across the street to an empty lot of woods and bid him adieu and wished him luck.

Proudly, with my broom in hand, barefoot, and still in my PJ’s, my shoulders back and a smile on my face, I turned around to walk back into my yard. And that’s when the neighborhood security police car drove by.

Slowly.

I waved and said good morning like it was the most normal thing in the world to be walking out of the woods barefoot holding a broom.

Sometimes…you just have to go with the flow.

I’m just saying…

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