Yesterday started out with a bang. Literally.
I had just finished brushing my hair in trying to get geared up for the day, when I hear lots of shouts and running footsteps and Faith comes rushing into my bathroom.
“Princess found a rattlesnake!”
“WHAT!?! Are you serious?” Brush clatters to the ground.
“Yes!! (insert whimper) Oh, Mama! It’s a baby and babies are more poisonous!”
I stuff my feet in some shoes and curse myself for not having a pair of real cowboy boots and take off running. I stop at the front porch. In the not so far distance, Princess and The Boy are walking slowly, scanning the ground.
“Did you lose it?!”
“Yes, we’re looking for it!”
I pause and ponder: who in their right mind goes looking for a rattlesnake? who in their right mind goes looking for a rattlesnake without boots? who in their right mind goes looking for a rattlesnake without boots and without a way of killing the thing?
Clearly… we do.
I join the two children in their search while Faith continues to whimper from the porch and shout, “The babies are more dangerous! Get away from there!”
I do not pause, but I do ponder: which one of us is handling this correctly, really? Me or the nine year old?
Each tentative step is filled with dread and excitement and dread and more dread.
After a couple of anxious minutes, Princess shouts, “I found it! I found it! There it is!”
I turn around to see a snake less than a foot from where I just walked.
I was hoping beyond hope that maybe it wasn’t actually a rattlesnake but some other kind of mimicking snake. You know, those snakes that try to fool hawks and such by looking a lot like a poisonous snake, but are really harmless wannabes.
I was hoping beyond hope that my wildlife loving and identifying fiends were lacking in their skills that morning.
I was hoping beyond hope that the snake (poisonous… wannabe… whatever) was dead of lovely snake life natural causes.
Those hopes were dashed pretty stinkin instantaneously.
So… there it was… three rattles and all. Daggnabit!!
Now that we found the nasty bugger what does one do next? Well… if you’re a mama and your kids walk in that area, you decide that snake needs to meet its demise pretty darn soon. As in pronto.
Now do any one of us have a weapon? Nope. But we have two phones and an iTouch. So… though we had no plan, we had lots of video footage. I texted My Sweetie. And sent a kid for a camera. Isn’t that what you would have done? No? Keep it to yourself.
Naturally, after no response to my growing in panic texts, we called My Sweetie (who for the first time in emergency history is 30 minutes away instead of 3… whatever). Princess bragged and bragged about finding it (“twice”) and then handed me the phone.
He calmly said, “Is it really a rattlesnake?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, honey. There are three rattles!”
“Ok, well…what do you want to do?”
“I want to kill it. Pronto. Dead. Super dead.”
“Alrighty… here’s what you do…” He then proceeds to walk his wife through choosing the “right” twenty-two (or .22 for you gun in the know people…aka: Texans), the right bullets, and then…. once she gets back out to the children assigned to keep an eye on the snake (as opposed to the children assigned not to leave the house no matter stinkin what)… he walks her through loading the gun. While she’s holding a cordless phone.
Four feet from a rattlesnake.
The snake gave up on its “pretend to be a stick and not move and those ridiculous humans will go away” pose
and slithers into the famous “I’m gonna strike and I’m not kidding” under a bush pose. Creepy with a capital C.
Meanwhile the kids have used the iPhone to find matching photos and identified the nasty thing as a Black Tailed Rattlesnake, juvenile. Greeeat.
Finally, I toss the phone to The Boy (picture if you will Jack Bauer or Davy Crockett…. actually, I might better be described as Elmer Fudd, whatever) and load the little blue bullets. I cock the gun. And…
Ok… it gets a little foggy here. I don’t remember if I got to shoot then or had to reload. Turns out, while I am not usually an enthusiastic gun person, I am very enthusiastic when a rattlesnake is near my kids – BUT… I really stink at loading a gun with snake shot. And when I say I stink at it, what I mean is that my kids were laughing their heads off while they watched me try to get bullets loaded. I kept thinking, “This is not funny! There is a venomous snake right there and I am hoping no loose bullets!! Someone could get hurt from that snake or my gun! Stop laughing people!”
But all that came out was, “Why won’t these bullets stay in the right place so I can kill this stinkin snake!!?!!”
Finally, the LORD looked down on me with gun mercy (I lived in Texas long enough to know that exists) and one of the blue beauties found it’s spot and I shot that snake. Since the thing writhed in agony (yes, we really have all of it on video thankyouverymuch) on its back and then its belly and then its back, you would think I would not worry about shooting again.
It was not super dead.
I fought with the ridiculous piece of steel and after picking up bullets out of the dirt again and again, finally got it loaded once more. I walked right up to the snake and shot it in the head.
Dead. Super dead.
It wasn’t exactly pronto, but… whatever.
As I sauntered back up to the house with a dead (super dead) rattlesnake hanging off the end of a gun, I beamed with pride. Pride that almost overshadowed the “Oh, my stinkin’ heck! I went over twenty years of living in Texas without my kids coming across a rattlesnake! What in the world!? Well… guess the kids aren’t leaving the house ever again. Stinks for them, but that’s how it goes” feeling. Almost.
But then I thought…
Maybe they’ll all get cowboy boots with steel toes.
Maybe they’ll all carry guns.
Maybe I’ll just carry a gun.
Maybe none of that.
Sigh. How was your Wednesday morning?