Sermons and Serpents
I left our bathroom window open last night to cool the house down as we slept. Well, that was the theory, anyway. I don't sleep well with open windows. In addition, for some reason, the birds sang a sweet, happy song starting at about midnight last night. They sang for hours off and on, making me jolt awake and conclude that it was a decent hour to get out of bed. They were probably wasted on sunbaked berries. Feathery drunkards.
The happy result of my insomnia, though, was the gift of extra time this morning before we left for church. Erik and I dressed up a little. I suggested to Brian that we make an outing out of taking our bottles and cans to the supermarket after the service. We loaded them up, reaching into the box we store them in and putting what was overflowing the top into the depths of a black garbage bag, stashing the whole collection in the back of my vehicle behind Erik's seat. Then we were off.
After a successful morning at church, we strapped our happy son into the Jeep with his Dixie cup of cookies and homemade banana bread from the children's snack table on the way out the door. We then drove the short distance to the store. I went inside with Erik to locate soy ice cream for Gracie-Cat, as the yogurt I have been hiding her thyroid medicine in is apparently making her fur fall out in clumps, leaving behind bloody scabs. On our way out the door, we located Brian feeding aluminum cans into the boxy machines that crush them down and spit out paper receipts. I parked my cart where Erik could watch us work, and I got busy reaching into the basket of the shopping cart where Brian had dumped our bottles and cans. I began to help him stuff the machines, trying to breathe through my mouth as to not inhale the scent of hot, fermented beer. When I finally glanced down to see how many cans were left, I saw a length of what I thought was a bungee cord draped over the pile of metal and glass. After further investigation, I realized that I was not staring at a bungee cord at all.
I hate looking weak, especially in front of my husband. I especially hate screaming like a little girl. Instead, I quickly scanned the stripes on the thing and identified it as the booty of a healthy-looking garter snake. I immediately ceased plunging my forearm into the wire basket and heard my voice go up a few octaves to reach the frequency reserved only for emergencies.
"Honey? What's that?" I pointed to where it rested.
Brian looked surprised and amused, and we both laughed. The creature raised its head up and glided over the cans, looking for a way out of the unwanted madness. It decided not to drop down onto the foreign surface below the cart, at least at first, and retreated to a corner of the cart. Brian suggested sticking to the top layer of cans, and we picked around it. Finally, its head stuck out a hole in the bottom of the cart. It gingerly dropped down onto the concrete and quickly slithered under my can counting machine. We finished the job while I watched my toes. I had a pretty serious case of the freakies.
Brian said, "That's going to scare the crap out of somebody later."
We both laughed again.
We discussed how extremely thankful we were that the snake, who had likely traveled around the corner from the sun-scorched rocks along our walkway into the shaded box by the open garage door, had stayed in place and not escaped during church. However, it was in my Jeep the entire time. I am not deathly afraid of snakes, but I would prefer not to touch them, especially when I am rocketing down the highway in my vehicle. Oh, sure, this one was completely harmless. That is, it would be until the moment it came over my shoulder to rest on my lap or lazily wrapped around my calf, after which I would careen off the side of the road into a power pole, plunging the city into darkness, or, worse yet, through the plate glass windows of a crowded Denny's.
I consider that very dangerous indeed!