Nature, Fun, Brothers, and Children!

“Do not take life too seriously — you will never get out of it alive.”  Elbert Hubbard

As children, while we romped through the tall grass creating our forts, my little brother and I often would come in contact with nests of harmless baby garter snakes. Since I was older and bigger, I couldn’t resist teasing my brother by chasing him with a squirming snake. Heaven’s knows where the snake would end up, as Mom even found a baby snake in my pants pocket. Sadly, mom had not checked my pockets BEFORE she washed my pants. I was always looking for snakes.

But then we moved from Washington to California where the snakes became rattlesnakes. Our yard now was surrounded by avocado and lemon groves and outcroppings of huge rocks where rattlesnakes liked to sun themselves. Mom and dad warned us how dangerous and poisonous rattlesnakes are, so we had to stay clear of them if we saw one. Luckily for my brother, that ended my interest in snakes, and my curiosity turned to fear.

Then, life changed as I grew up, married, moved back to Washington, and became a mother of two children.  My daughter, Heather, was terrified of garter snakes.  Heather’s hysterical scream pierced the neighborhood, when a snake accidentally made the mistake of popping out in front of her foot.  I’m sure the snake was more upset than Heather. Heather would run screeching all the way home. I would think something was horrifically wrong when I heard her.

But my son, Mathew, as a toddler, was curious about snakes. I squelched my fear of garter snakes when they slithered out, as I was gardening. I had to pull out my long lost memories of playing with snakes so I could show my son how to pick up or handle a snake.  I couldn’t have him be afraid of snakes!  We found snakes mating, hiding, sunning, and my son loved examining all of them. But, I was always there to help him and talk with him about the snake until he started school.

When Matt started Kindergarten he would walk home in the afternoon with Heather.  One day, I was on the phone talking with a friend when Heather arrived home alone.  Concerned, I asked “Where’s Matt?” and Heather replied, “Oh, he found a snake… ICK!”  Unconcerned about her brother, Heather went straight to the refrigerator for a glass of grape juice that she was busy drinking.

Suddenly, the light bulb popped on in my head, as I thought, “Uh-oh! I have always been around when Matt found a snake. He wouldn’t bring it home to show mom… would he?” As soon as the thought cleared my mind, I looked up while still on the phone. Who should appear walking down the hall toward me holding his books in one arm, and a large snake dangling from his other hand, but Matt.  Heather took one look at her brother and yelled “SNAKE!” as her grape juice shot all over my face and down the front of me. As the grape juice dripped off of me, I not so subtlety growled, “Matt, take that snake outside, NOW!”

So, while I’m wildly motioning for Matt to take the snake outside, what does Matt do?  He walks over to our sliding glass door and has to make a decision.  The problem is he doesn’t know what to put down to open the glass door… the snake or the books.  Of course he put the snake down… wouldn’t you?

Now, I had frantic visions of the snake slithering off to hide under my furniture or to crawl down the heating vent only to crawl out and surprise me when I least expected it. In the meantime, Heather ran to her bedroom to hide.  I’m now screeching…”Noooooo… Matt pick-up the snake!” but I forgot to take the phone away from my mouth.  My shrill wail probably just pierced my friend’s ear drum, but I could hear her chuckling…ok, she was rolling on the floor laughing at the chaos taking place in my house. Plus, Matt stood there with a stunned expression on his face as he didn’t understand why I was screaming at him.  I hadn’t acted like this before… WHY NOW?  The joys of having children!

Miracles do happen. The snake may have temporarily experienced shell shock from all of the shrieking, or it was contemplating its’ get-away while trapped in unfamiliar territory, so it lay perfectly still on the carpet while Mathew opened the sliding glass door. Matt then gently picked up the snake to carry it outside and down the porch stairs to set it down near the wood pile, where it instantly escaped to a safe hiding place. I’m sure that snake has one heck of a story to tell its’ buddies!

“Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.”  Will Rogers

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About Gwynn Rogers

After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high tech, and corporate travel, Gwynn has moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not teaching her granddaughters an extensive vocabulary of “alley-oop-boop, ups-a-daisy, cowabunga or bummer”, Gwynn can be found hunting for mentors for the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium, or chasing her fantasies on her treadmill. Gwynn currently freelances for magazines.
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10 Responses to Nature, Fun, Brothers, and Children!

  1. Susan says:

    Oh this was very funny Gwynn thank you for the chuckle! You were one brave young lass and also later in life. I had the creeps while reading your story, but smiled at the same time. I would have dropped dead had my boys brought snakes home.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Oh Susan, I’m so laughing at your reply about you dropping dead if your boys brought a snake in the house, because I NEARLY did! All my calm efforts of educating my son with snakes when we were outside, FLEW right out the window when he surprised me by bringing the snake in. I was flapping my arms around and screeching like a bird. I truly wish I had a video of the scene as you would have fallen over laughing at me. Thanks for commenting. I so appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  2. T. J. Banks says:

    Delightfully funny, Gwynn! My mom WOULD have dropped dead if one of us had brought a snake into the house — she was horribly afraid of anything even remotely resembling a snake. Even the sight of a worm would make her shudder.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Thanks for your comment T.J. I, obviously, was a tomboy. I loved the out-of-doors and exploring, looking for creatures. My brother was the intellectual one, but trust me… he REALLY got even from my teasing one time! The good news is that my son, Matt, didn’t bring any more snakes into the house after that time. He still is in shock that I freaked out so… I NEVER reacted like that when we were out in the garden. But you NEVER know what your kids are gonna do!

  3. That’s really funny, Gwynn. Well-told story. Of COURSE, I would have put down the snake and held onto the books, having faced that dilemma of which in my hands to put down first.

    Reminds me of my many Florida encounters with snakes. Some funny stories there. Meanwhile, I had enough of that slithery sort when Philip put the worm down my back when we were five. I can still feel it.

  4. Gwynn Rogers says:

    Thanks for commenting, Samantha. That’s funny that you can still feel that worm down your back. I had a worse time putting a poor worm on a fishing hook than I had picking up a squiggly snake. Actually, I still don’t like picking up worms. Oh yes, that was another stunt Matt pulled. As a young toddler, I had Matt out while I was gardening. Unfortunately he found a worm when I wasn’t looking. When I turned and looked at him, I could tell he had something in his mouth… YUP… the worm!! He was great at putting all sorts of things in his mouth… I’ll have to write about this issue so he can remember it when they have their baby.

  5. patgarcia says:

    Hi,

    I like that first sentence in your last paragraph, “Miracles do happen,” because they do. Excellent story, my dear. Witty and humorous, it says lots about your nurturing attitude towards your own children, and it is the kind of understanding and empathy that they too will passed on to their children.

    Good writing. You are coming into your own and finding your way.

    I applaud you from my heart and send you my blessings. Keep up the good work.

    Ciao,
    Patricia

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Ohhhh, I’m laughing, Patricia! I don’t know how nurturing my attitude toward my children was that day with my flapping my arms saying, “GET THAT SNAKE OUTSIDE, NOWWWWWW!!!” 😉 Mathew still wonders what all the excitement was about… “it was ONLY a snake Mom!”

      Thank you for your compliments. I’m so PROUD of my children. Watching my son about to become a father and all that he is doing to help prepare for the baby has BLOWN ME AWAY!! However, I have to save these stories for him…so he will REMEMBER!!! I appreciate your comments about my writing too. I still need to find more of myself … but I’m working on it. I do prefer the lighter side.

      Thanks for being out there and for your friendship!
      Gwynn

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