The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Snakes In The House

on May 20, 2012

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;  but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”  Genesis 3:1-3

I’ve been pondering this passage for a while now and I always come back to the same question: why in the world did Satan use a serpent to tempt Eve? Wouldn’t a cute cuddly puppy or kitten made more sense?  A snake? Really?  Had I been in the garden I would have been too far away from him to hear what he had to say. I know that because I’ve found a snake in my flower garden before and I generally don’t stick around for conversation. I exit as quickly as possible even though I live in an area with no venomous snakes and I know they can’t hurt me. They creep me out.  Yeah…snake wouldn’t have worked on me.   It would have worked less on the men in my family.

My husband is a tough guy. Brave. Strong. My hero. Never gets rattled. Calm.  Until he sees a snake. I’m pretty sure he got that from his father who is also notoriously scared of snakes.  They are both big strong strapping guys and will take on anything. Except for a snake. Well….they’ll take on a snake with a weapon.  My father-in-law has a machete he keeps around in case a snake gets in his house.  I’m totally with him: my father-in-law is a very wise man.  Snakes don’t belong in houses. I We live in an area that has a few bull snakes and a LOT of garter snakes.  Again, I know they are harmless, so I don’t bother them as long as they are outside where they belong.  (Unlike our oldest son who used to on occasion mow interesting patterns into our lawn because he saw a snake while he was mowing.) The problem is the silly snakes sometimes forget where they belong.

Two years ago we had our back door replaced. It was almost finished and just needed a door sweep and trim put up.  We hadn’t had time to finish the project.  One Sunday my husband had to work an afternoon shift, so when the alarm went off in the morning, he got up grabbed his pillows and headed downstairs to get some extra sleep away from the noise of the rest of us getting ready. I was only about half awake (I call it “in between hitting the snooze button slumber.”) when I heard my dear husband gasp and whisper –  “Oh CRAP!”   That got my attention.  I decided that I should probably investigate since, as I said, my husband doesn’t rattle very easily.   There curled up as nice as you please on my  rug at the entrance of our kitchen was a garter snake.  My husband was frozen in the dining room clutching his pillows staring at it. Now I would like to pretend that I am brave when it comes to serpent home invasion, but I’m not. I looked at my husband wide-eyed and asked the most pertinent question that my not yet caffeinated brain could come up with: “How did THAT get in here??”  My husband looked at me, swallowed and said, “I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out how to get him OUT of here.”  Oh…yeah.  Because I am the ever willing “help mate”  I said, “Do you want me to go get the garden shovel? Maybe he would curl up on that and you can toss him outside.”  He looked at me kind of funny, but agreed.  I came back with the shovel and, being the good help mate I am, high tailed it back to our bedroom, shut the door and waited for the “all-clear.”  I heard some serious banging and then the deck door shut. Whew – my hero!  When I returned to the kitchen I found my husband, now very wide awake.  “Everything ok?” I asked.  “He tried to go down the vent, so I had to smack him with the shovel. I threw him outside, but I’m not sure he’ll get far.”  Well…he tried to be humane. It wasn’t our fault the silly snake didn’t know he was supposed to get on the shovel.  He never should have made a break for the floor vent. The door sweep was installed the next day.  I thought we’d seen the last snake in the house.  I was wrong.

Last summer I walked into the house after work and heard our youngest child crying very loudly in our basement. His sisters were sitting very calmly in the living room. “What’s up with Jakob?” I asked. “He’s scared.” daughter number 2 replied. It wasn’t storming. I was confused. “Scared of what?”  As calm as you please, “A snake dropped out of the ceiling down there.” that was daughter number 1.  Surely I heard her wrong.  “A WHAT did WHAT?”  Daughter number 2: “He  was downstairs and a snake dropped out of the ceiling in front of the stairs.  He can’t get up here without going by him.” Ok that makes sense.  Daughter number 1: “I went down to see what the problem was but when I turned the corner and saw the snake I came back up here.”  My mind was racing at the size of the snake it would require to knock out a ceiling tile.  “So you just left him down there?!? How long ago did this happen?”  Daughter number 1, still calm, “It was a BIG snake and I knew you’d be home soon.  It’s only been about 15 minutes.” Daughter 2: “Maybe 20.”  Big sisters can be SO loving!   “So you thought you should wait for me to handle this?” I didn’t want to handle this either honestly.  Daughter number 1: “You’re the parent.”  sigh….GREAT.  Okay I couldn’t just leave my poor son down there.  I knew that.  Trying to convince myself I was brave, I crept down the stairs and peaked around the corner.  There was no snake, but there was a ceiling tile lying on the floor.  I walked into the family room and told our son, “It’s ok, he’s not there so you can go upstairs now.”  I’ve never seen the kid move so fast.  On his way upstairs, he called back to me, “He went under the refrigerator Mom!”  Shoot! I was hoping he’d crawled up the steps and shown himself out.  I knew that I couldn’t just ignore the fact that there was a reptile in residence. Who knew where he’d slither next.  My husband wasn’t due to be home for several hours, so I was in a fix.   I either had to be brave or find a brave person.  In a sudden burst of inspiration I realized that there were probably still guys working in the building that sits behind our house.  (We live in front of a quonset where a local sanitation company stores their trucks at night  – cleaned and empty. It isn’t as bad as it sounds.)   I ran back there.  Jesus really does love me because there was one guy still working.  I quickly explained my dilemma and he was kind enough to not laugh out loud at me. He grinned and followed me to the house to get our snake for us.  It took him about 5 minutes.  He calmly walked up the stairs HOLDING the thing and threw it outside into the field next door. (Good Samaritans sometimes drive garbage trucks, just saying…)  I found him the next day and handed him a gift bag containing flat-iron steaks and hamburger patties. (I think heroes should be thanked with beef.)   My husband investigated when he got home and discovered an area where the calking had pulled away between the sidewalk and the house.  There was a small crack in the foundation. It was filled two days later. I’ve chatted with our  good Samaritan snake remover a few times in the past year and he’s asked if we’d had any more snakes in our house.  I tell him no.  He says, “Darn.  Those were some mighty good steaks so let me know if you need any more removed.”  Apparently he isn’t afraid of snakes.

This past week our oldest son posted to Facebook that he’d run over a 4 foot rattlesnake with his truck. (He lives on the other side of the state. They do have scarier snakes there.) I told you the men in my family aren’t afraid of snakes when they have a weapon.  In this case, he used his 2001 Ranger.  I know lots of people like snakes and keep them as pets. That’s fine if that is your thing.  I don’t foresee that happening in our family. I’m not sure why, except for maybe this:

“So the Lord God said to the serpent  “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her SeedHe shall bruise your head,  And you shall bruise His heel.”  Genesis 3:14-15

My family takes that  verse seriously. No snakes in our houses!


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