An unwanted guest


I went to the farm this weekend and stayed at Mom & Dad's house. Saturday turned out to be a really tough day in all kinds of ways. Dad and I picked, shucked, and silked (and Mom prepped for freezing) some 80+ ears of corn. I hate silking corn. By the time we finished, it was nearly noon, and it was almost 90 degrees F. Or about 32 degrees C for the rest of the world out there.

Later in the afternoon, I realized there was something at the farmhouse I needed. So I walked over and went inside, not really thinking anything about it (it was, like, my third time over there that day anyway). Misha the cat greeted me with enthusiasm, and after taking a moment to pet her, I made my way into the bedroom.

That's when things got weird.

As I stepped from the hallway into the bedroom, I felt something brush across my ankle. I thought it was Misha, and I was going to reach down and pet her again, when suddenly I realized it wasn't Misha. IT WAS A FREAKING SNAKE . . . or "Ess", as I'm usually required to call them.


To say that I was shocked is an understatement, but I didn't lose my cool. After all, I don't have a snake phobia exactly. But I never in a million years expected to see one IN THE HOUSE. Especially in the BEDROOM.

It slithered under the piece of furniture that I call the Make-up Table, and halted in a corner between the make-up table and my closet.

In the meantime, I'm calling Misha and demanding for her to do something about THE INTRUDER.

Misha's really great about dealing with mice and other unwanted guests, so I figured she could deal with this bad boy (or girl), too. However, when she stepped close, the Ess began to hiss. Then it coiled up into the striking position.

So Misha backed off.

I reached into my jeans pocket for my cell phone, thinking I'd call Dad and let him deal with it. (All hail Dad! He can do anything!) Unfortunately, since I'd just changed clothes prior to coming over, I didn't have my phone with me.

So it was up to Me and Me alone.

OK, at this point I didn't know what type of Ess it was, except that it wasn't a Rattle Ess, because it had no rattlers. But I'm not taking any chances, you know? I ran out to the mud room and grabbed the most intimidating tool I could find - in this case a hoe - and took it to the bedroom. The unwanted guest was still backed into a corner, while Misha watched from several safe feet away.

At this point I kind of bashed the Ess across it's back with the flipside of the hoe. I wasn't trying to kill it, just to knock it out, sort of. And that's what happened. In fact, I almost felt a little bad thinking that maybe I had killed it, it was so limp.

I grabbed it with the hoe and managed to get it outside and start the trek over to Mom and Dad's house. It hung limply on the hoe for most of the way, but then it started moving again so I had to knock it out again. Finally, I had it in a sort of vice grip with the hoe, and was able to ring the doorbell. Dad came out and I told him the story so far.

I was kind of freaked out as you can probably imagine.

Dad took a look at the snake and said it was a harmless "chicken" snake, also called a "rat" snake because they often eat rodents. (I think they're called "chicken" snakes sometimes because they can sneak into chicken coops and eat the eggs.)

I said something about how it may be a harmless snake but it didn't have any business in my house, in my bedroom, and that if someone else instead of me had had the experience, there would have been a potentially serious problem.

I was still freaked out. But then for some reason, I almost started crying, because I remembered how it felt with the Ess brushed so gently against my ankle. Maybe it was just being friendly? Saying hi?

"So what do you want me to do with it?" Dad asked.

I thought for a moment. I actually pictured myself a judge, in court, maybe in Britain, with one of those white wigs on my head. Or maybe I was Judge Judy about to tell somebody off.

I had to make a decision. Fast.

"Execute it," was my reply. This coming from someone who isn't into the Death Penalty and who hates killing so much that I won't even squish spiders I find in the house -- I take them outside and flick them into the yard so they can live.

But before I could change my mind, Good Old Farmer Dad, who has three more decades of life experience and tons more farm experience than I do, had already done the deed.

I truly hope that the universe doesn't see this act as worthy of some sort of punishment, but seriously, I did have a guilt trip about it.

OK, a little one.

P.S. I didn't take a photo of the unwanted guest. I'm glad I didn't. It would have made me emotional to put it up here, and it would have made someone else scream.  So, no photos.

P.S.S. Oh, farm life.

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