Witwithwords Blog

It’s been a tough week ….

Posted on: April 27, 2017

I called my sister Cyndie the other night after a spectacular Spring day with sunny weather. She said it was one of her worst days! She explained it was the first chance she had to get outside. She was pulling weeds from an ivy-covered stone wall, when she spied a small snake, all coiled, ready to strike.

She freaked out, as any female in my family would…blame it on my mother, Ann Woodbury. She was terrified of three things – close spaces,lightning and snakes. (Even though she often laughed about how she played with snakes in the local creek with her brothers as a young girl.)

My three sisters and I can’t even stand to say the word. (The phobia didn’t transfer to my brother Woody but I know he has a healthy respect for them and gives them a wide berth if he comes upon one like he did when he managed an IBM property in upstate New York years ago.) My older sisters also feared them with a vengeance and when my older sister Pam had a nightmare about them, she used to make Linda, the next in line, search for them in the sheets and covers at the bottom of the double bed they shared when young.

I tried to calm my sister Cyndie down…asking if she could identify what kind it was, assuming it was a non-poisonous, garden variety.

“Are you freakin’ kidding me? I just screamed bloody murder, grabbed my big shovel and before it could do anything, I scooped it up and threw it in the garbage bag with the grass and weeds. Then I ran as fast as I could to my neighbors to calm down and get a big hug.”

Her daughter Alexa and grandson Brock soon stopped by. When her daughter asked where it was, Cyndie pointed to the garbage bag of weeds, now in her huge trash bin. “But Mom, you didn’t close the bag,” Alexa admonished her mother as she jumped back after opening the large trash bin.

“So it is now the trash man’s problem,” I concluded.

“I want to sell my house and move! I’m so upset I just took a drive away from there. How am I going to sleep?” Cyndie said. A widow, Cyndie lives alone and has frequent bouts of insomnia.

“You would be terrified,” she said.

“I’m sure I would,” agreeing with her. But then I reminded her of my encounter with a rattler while hiking as a neophyte backpacker with my former husband in the Mexican Baja desert eons ago. I had reached up to get a foothold on a rock and there it was, sunning itself!

“How could you ever think of going backpacking, knowing they were out there?”

“Hey, it was something new, we existed on one salary and we wanted to see the real desert…”
This was way before cell phones. A bus left us off Friday in the dark on a dirt road and did not come back until the end of our 3-day Sierra trek. We were miles from civilization in the desert.

“Never mind that we nearly lost our lives when the canyon washed out. Never mind that most of our food and supplies were washed away too. Never mind that we slept in a cave with our feet against a ledge until the spring storm subsided. Never mind that we ate chia seeds to feel full because they would expand in our stomachs.

“Never mind that every time I tried to go to the bathroom in the wilderness the vision of more snakes psychologically put a damper on things! My fear of you know what landed me in the ER and I was treated to an upper colon enema,” I recalled.

Cyndie did not want to hear more. She just wanted to go home to sleep.

I checked in with her the next day…she had slept little, and decided to take the garbage bag to the dumpster at work. Otherwise, it would still be there because her own trash pickup wasn’t until the next day.

Logical for her? Yes.

But there was so much Monday a.m. rush hour traffic, she forgot to dump the trash bag at work. It was now dark again, and she was riding home with it in her trunk.

Get up early before trash comes, I advised, and open your trunk in the daylight. I had visions of the wiggly thing in her trunk! I was now starting to get “sn–e” visions of my own!

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