Daughter wrote a blog post yesterday about some childhood memories and has asked me to do a companion piece.....please go read what she wrote first, and then come back here for my story that we refer to as "the time I almost picked up the rattlesnake....."
A long time ago, when my kids were in elementary school, we lived on a 200 acre avocado ranch in North San Diego County. We often ran into visiting wildlife as soon as we stepped out the back door. Just off the top of my head I remember coyotes, tarantulas, horned toads, racoons, possums, roadrunners, bobcats, and even a donkey (never did figure out where he came from!)....oh, yeah, and snakes....LOTS OF SNAKES!
So, one day, while Husband was at work, I heard all the kids outside screaming for me "MOM! MOM! HURRY! HURRY! COME QUICK!" Of course my heart stopped as I ran outside to find all three kids following (from afar!) a large gopher snake slithering accross the driveway. They knew I wasn't afraid of snakes and shouted "GET IT! GET IT! We want to take it to school for sharing. GET IT!" I ran inside for a cardboard box and came back out just in time to see the snake's tail disappear into a waist-high row of bushes along the driveway. The kids were frantic by now that I was going to lose the snake! I stood above the bush, peering down through the branches, and there he was, just laying there quietly, all coiled up! I slowly, carefully, reached my hand down through the branches, and when I was only inches away I suddenly thought to myself "wait a minute! How did that snake get coiled up so fast and why does he look so much smaller than he did a minute ago?" As the kids started hollering again a few feet away "Here he is over here! He's coming out of this bush!" I FROZE! I quickly stood up and took a deep breath.....THAT GOPHER SNAKE PICKED THE ONE BUSH IN THAT WHOLE ENTIRE 200 ACRES THAT HAD ANOTHER SNAKE ALREADY IN IT...A BABY RATTLESNAKE!! AND I CAME WITHIN INCHES OF PICKING IT UP!
Well, I did catch that gopher snake. We kept it for about a week so all three kids could share it at school and then we released him back out into the 200 acres. And that rattlesnake never even noticed me. I think he was asleep and slept right through all the commotion until Husband came home right about then and really did pick him up (with a shovel of course). I don't remember what happened to him . I think I remember him in a big jar for a few hours (he was small) but after that I don't recall......
You know, now that I'm seeing this story in writing for the first time I realize how anti-climactic this story actually is! It would be a much better ending if I really HAD picked up that rattlesnake! Now THAT would have been more interesting for sure!! (I'll remember that for next time!...)