Dead battery, copperheads … and little secrets

The battery in my wife’s automobile died, and then she found out about the copperhead snake ‘issue’ we’ve had recently. You never know where the drama of a morning rush will move you.

I gotta wife and we have a boy in the first grade. She works. I work. He goes to first grade. Getting all three of those motives rolling together each morning … well, you know.

One recent morning, the wife was close to being late for work. Told her to get gone and I’d get the boy where he had to go. Fine. Good. She went to the carport to launch off. She’s back in the house 20 seconds later, “My battery’s dead or something. It isn’t cranking. Can I take your truck?”

“Hold up there. I gotta have my truck and we need to get fixed what’s wrong with yours,” I said. Time’s ticking. You can lose a morning quick if you ain’t careful. It’s like herding lizards, but I’ll get to that later.

The neighbor comes out of nowhere. I see her only a few seconds before she’s right there on top of us under our carport. We like her fine. But that morning was no morning for chit-chat. The neighbor had a concerned look on her face that she wanted to share. She did.

“Y’all in a hurry? I got something you need to see. I think it is a copperhead snake,” she said in a nice but in a “nobody’s leaving here until we address this” sort of way.

Wife’s eyes go big. Mine go, “Dang it.”

Neighbor had the snake right there in a five-gallon bucket. She captured it. Had a long claw that looked like it was built for such things. Yanked if from one of her flower beds that butts right up to our property. I was a little impressed. She went on to say she’d seen but missed another snake that was ‘huge,’ as she put it, producing dimensions in the air with her hands and arms. She pointed to the snake’s last known path, which of course was in line with our shed. I want to find the copperhead she measured out. A world record. A capture or kill on that magnitude would have landed me on the local news with rumors of National Geographic calling soon. I doubted it, but that didn’t matter now did it.

A slithering secret

Here’s the thing: We've had record amounts of rain in south Georgia. Around our "hood," we have woods. We live on a clay hill, good solid land above water. And snakes and the things they like to eat know that. I had withheld some recent information from my wife. I had seen a copperhead, too, in our yard. He was ‘dispatched’ before she got home. But let’s keep that between us. But the neighbor let the cat out of the bag, and there one set striking the sides of the five-gallon bucket and sealing his fate.

We have a zero-tolerance snake policy in and around our little slice of Eden. At least that is what the wife has declared. She’s a good ‘policymaker.’ But between you and me, I typically let the non-venomous snakes pass. I argue the more good snakes you have the fewer bad ones you have.

Other cold-hearted things, like the anole lizards which number in the scores around our house get passes, too, unless they get into the house. I’ve cracked many a good toe banging down our hallway responding to a blood-curling scream from the wife. Lizard in the bedroom. Well, he’s gotta go? But the lizards don’t get to go feet up with their tongues hanging out. They’re under the “relocation policy,” which means I gotta chase the boogers, throbbing toe and all, and humanely handle them. (If I can’t get them with my hand, I gotta little beach-crabbing net and a piece of Tupperware for the job now. Tool used to be a thin-wired waste basket.)

Anyway, snakes, nope. They get sent to their final reward if the policymaker gets sight of them or hears word of them.

Finally got to the battery in her car that morning. Jumped it off and directed her where to go and who to tell to put a new one in. I didn’t want to bother with it that morning. She’s was fine with that. She’d issued a new policy that morning, anyway, and it involved the ‘monster’ copperhead. I got the boy where he needed to go. Went back home and put on some boots and headed to the shed.

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