My sis has a penchant for naming things. She has done this for years now. Aside from the obvious— such as one supremely wonderful son and pets— she assigns special names with a certain creative expertise to trees, flowers and plants, animal life, insect life, cars, and stuffed animals. In effect, she names most animate and inanimate objects in her immediate world. It’s brought a lot of fun to our lives. Seriously. So much so that I’ve started naming things as well, although I’m nowhere near as creative and prolific in scope as my adorable sis. My best effort —with the exception of my children—has been naming cars. I’ve just handed “Goldie” off after a nearly nine-year relationship to welcome “Sylvie.” She shares garage space with Rocket-man’s car, “Fritz.” I’ve got a few pet names for my pet (The Poodle), other than his official name and of course I’ve got a few endearing names for Rocket-man (most recently, we’ve been calling him “Duck” but that’s another silly story altogether!). Still, with this name game, I’m not so good at naming plush toys, plants and other such things. Call me a work in progress.

So the other day I was ironing (yes…ironing) in the kitchen area. It’s a never-ending chore that I particularly despise…nonetheless, it’s a chore that must get done. I do try to make it pleasurable by watching a movie or something on Netflix. So, as I laid a freshly pressed pair of shorts into the laundry basked I just happened to take a casual glance out the window.

And there it was….

A snake.

The current object of my angst....

The current object of my angst….

Just beneath the crawl space vent under landscaping edging liner…right by the water spigot. The very spigot that I go to every day in order to water the patio plants.

My stomach immediately lurched. My heart began racing.

OKAY. So it was a rat snake. They’re supposed to be the “good” snakes, eating frogs, mice, and other rodents. Pish-Posh I say. I make no apologies in my declaration that there is no such thing as a “good” snake.

I ran to grab my camera. I took several shots but through glass and window screen the images didn’t turn out very well. I watched the snake for a good five minutes.  It looked liked it was trying to crawl up the side of the house; It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon for goodness sake…and very hot out.  Isn’t it supposed to be under a rock somewhere?!   It’s forked tongue constantly flicking in and out made me sick to my stomach. When it opened it’s mouth completely—as in unhinging its jaws—It was the personification of pure evil to me.

Folks, I’m going to be a mess of angst over this snake hanging out underneath my kitchen window. It doesn’t help that just last week my neighbor Emily down the street found a snake in her house.

Let me repeat that….

EMILY FOUND A SNAKE IN HER HOUSE.

Not the garage mind you. One could reasonably expect to find a snake in the garage given that the garage door is often left open for a spell. But this fellow was well into the house. In the sewing room to be precise. Fortunately (or unfortunate, from the snakes point of  view) that snake found itself in one pickle of a predicament; It got stuck to a sticky pad trap that Emily had set in a corner for a suspected mouse. Finding a snake instead was quite a shock to her (and to me as well!). I cannot get the image of a snake slithering around the house out of my head. I haven’t slept a wink since she told me.

So I called my sis to tell her about my snake. She knows that snakes have been on my mind a lot lately, to include in my dreams—or should I say, nightmares! My brother-in-law knows this too. He’s tried to calm my fears by saying that snake dreams can be positive, suggesting healing, rebirth, resolving issues and ultimately, freedom.

Hmm. I’m not quite sure what to make of that!

As I place the call to my sis, the snake begins to move out from underneath the black plastic landscaping liner and it’s full length comes into view. Yikes! It looks to be about three and a half feet long. I hurriedly message a photo of the snake to my sis.

Sis is indeed sympathetic as I become a border-line purple minion. And yet….as I unload my escalating fear and anxiety upon her she sweetly says: “You should name her.”

That jolts me momentarily from my anxiety-induced nausea.

“Are you kidding?” was my reply.

She wasn’t kidding. “Really…she’s kinda cute. And she’s not poisonous. You should name her Petunia.”

I AM NOT NAMING A SNAKE!” I tell her, a bit too forcefully perhaps.  (Sorry sis…I do love you so….but the name game stops at snakes!)

“But why not?” sis asks, pressing the point of the subject at hand’s cuteness.

“I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. And besides, if I name this snake then, for me, it implies a relationship of sorts.  It is NOT my pet.”

So, while we went on about THE SNAKE, it slithered off, around the corner of the house.  I stood at the window for what seemed like an eternity waiting for it to return.

This was a week ago folks. I am now borderline obsessed about all things slithering and a good night’s sleep has eluded me since.  It was a huge mistake to read an article about a Copperhead in a woman’s car—just inches away from her face—as she drove on an interstate in North Carolina (miraculously, she made it out of the car without being bit!). And, It was an even bigger mistake to read about Copperheads, upwards of sixteen or more, arriving en masse, at night… on a freshly mowed lawn, in order to dine on cicadas at the base of an oak tree. Turns out this is a common phenomenon!  You don’t believe me?  Here’s the link: http://www.chron.com/sports/outdoors/article/Copperhead-engage-in-nightly-summertime-feeding-8399696.php

I shall never walk on my lawn at night again. Better yet…I think I’d like to move to the North Pole. I’d rather suffer from frostbite than a snake encounter.

Since last week, I must look out that kitchen window a hundred times a day expecting to see the snake. There is no bliss in that. But have no fear folks, I did manage to find something to be thankful for just yesterday, while strolling through my Facebook notifications. Friend Jeff had posted a series of photos of his backyard visitor. Thank GOD in heaven I don’t have a gator to contend with!

"George-the-Gator" by Jeffrey Lobaugh

“George-the-Gator” by Jeffrey Lobaugh