My Life With Snakes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
My greatest phobia in life has been snakes. They seem to have a thing for me, though.

Submitted: August 21, 2013

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Submitted: August 21, 2013

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My Life With Snakes

By Janet Bradshaw August 2013

In my 4th or 5th year of my life, my dad bought a new tract home with his GI loan from the Army, in the new suburb of Casa Oates in Dallas Texas. Previously we rented in the now exclusive Swiss Avenue neighborhood. Back then they were used as multi-family dwellings. Now they have been purchased and renovated to their original magnificent homes. It is a beautiful neighborhood near Baylor Hospital with apartments sprinkled here and there to accommodate the growing medical community.

So, anyway, our still growing family moved into a nice neighborhood that was perfect. In almost any new ground breaking it is sure to shake up the things that lived there before we did. Yes, in our case it was snakes. Mom and Dad were both raised in the country with a limited education, but they knew about snakes. Mom would dig out flower beds to add flowers and shrubs to our house. Dad made sure our grass was free of ants, chiggers, stickers. We kids could play outside all we wanted and never had those irritations to deal with, except when mom would find the occasional snake in her garden She always had a shovel or hoe nearby and when she screamed for all of us to come look, we knew what she found. She would have chopped it to death by then and warned us to NEVER come near one or touch one after it was killed. We were five girls, we played with dolls and dishes, not snakes. But, it did ingrain that fear of snakes, mostly in me. I began to have nightmares of snakes. Snakes everywhere, I could not step without stepping on one and possibly getting bit. Quite a few times I had to sleep with my parents.

Finally, I started school and had other things to occupy my mind. I wrote plays and directed circuses in the neighborhood. Yep, we had no electronics to play with so we had to use our brain for entertainment. The Twilight Zone Series started and renewed my fear of snakes. Especially the episode when the snake crawled into a man’s pillow case. I started waking up in the night and making daddy check my sheets for snakes. Oh, they thought I was nuts all right, until mom was getting a quilt out of the closet and a snake skin fell out.

In junior high school, I rode the bus to the drug store and then walked home or mom picked me up. Dealing with bullies was bad enough, but there was a boy on the bus coming home and he had found a grass snake. When word got around the bus that there was a boy with a snake, of course, never having heard of a poker face, I couldn’t conceal my fear. I began to stare out the window praying that he would see through me. He didn’t. When I turned my head around he was holding it by my face. I screamed all the way to the drug store which provided the entertainment on that ride. The bus driver made him throw it out, but the damage had been done. The nightmares had begun again.

Life continued with the occasional snake being killed in the flower bed. Later, I married a Marine who had to ship off immediately, so I packed up a few boxes and stored them under my bed in my old room. One particular night I heard a loud hissing sound under my bed.. I rolled on a different part of the bed and it quit. There! It was just my imagination! Until I rolled back and the hissing started again. Up I ran, a grown woman, to my daddy to come save me! He stripped the sheets and with me not in the bed there was no noise. I continued to insist there was something there, so he pulled one mattress off and then the other. Well, there had been hissing alright! One of my boxes stored underneath the bed was not closed and taped. It had a spray can of some kind of cleaner sticking up and touching the part of the bed I had laid on, and it sprayed out all of the ingredients onto the bed. My Bad! I felt silly but relieved. We all had a good laugh.

I had a very good girl friend that decided she and I should go fishing. I had never been fishing which sounded interesting, but if my memory served me, snakes also live in creeks. We drove around until we found a spot that I felt was snake free. I told her that the first snake I see the excursion was over. She almost convinced me that when you are fishing it scares snakes away. We found a clearing and backed the pick up close to the water. I got out and went around to open the tail gate and 4 feet away lay a BIG brown snake curled up. I never stayed around to see if it was dead or alive, but one thing I knew it was...a snake... Never fished again.

Years rocked on and I became an apartment manager in a nice condo community. It had a creek in front of the property. Snakes never entered my mind, I was not a camper and never had reason to be thinking about snakes. At least, not until my maintenance person came in and told me there were baby snakes in the swimming pool. Well, where there are babies there is a mama. I called my supervisor and asked if she had ever had this problem and what should I do. No, she had never had this happen, but I (me?) needed to catch what was in the pool and take them to another area and let them loose. What??????

The condo that I lived in was by the creek. I had a screen door installed to keep anything from crawling in when I wanted to air out the place. I had a nice storage on my patio and one day I needed something out of it. The sun was bright so when I looked into the storage it was very dark. But as my eyes adjusted, I saw something black curled up in the corner. Wanting to see what it was I started to reach for it. My hair stood up on my arms and the internal warning that you get sometimes, was going off, big time. Yep, It was a snake! I called maintenance to come get it and that very same weekend I moved to another location NOT near the creek.

I was later promoted to another property that was not near a creek. It had paranormal problems. That’s another story altogether. Gladly, I accepted another property and here came the snakes again!

All these properties were within the same management company, so I had the same exterminator from the beginning. He turned me on to a snake away product. But, he could not get over how many snake problems I would encounter. None of the other properties had this problem. Gosh, was I a snake attraction or something?. As I said, snakes were once again a nuisance, people had them on their front porch when they walked out, on their patio, in the baby’s room under the crib ( it crawled away and we tore the wall up looking for that one).

After a near (or real) nervous crumble-down (my own word), I had to stop working. This was not because of the snakes, just stress. I moved in with my sister until my disability kicked in. She and her husband decided to go on the road as drivers for a while. I did go to work part-time to help out. One morning, as I was getting ready for work, I noticed one of my two cats was in a prey stalking stance. Once again my skin got goose bumps and the fear-warning kicked in. Oh, yeah, it was a snake. I had no one but myself so I got a broom and small trash can and cornered it. After I got myself halfway together, I walked out to the back of the house and turned it loose. I just could not cut it up, didn’t know what kind it was, but it didn’t rattle or curl up and hiss. It did not bite at my cat, so I took pity and released it.

Not finished yet, in my 60's I moved into a darling one bedroom house with a huge front porch. One night it was raining and I went to the kitchen for a drink. I just happened to turn toward my living room windows and saw what looked like a tree branch blowing near the window. But my instinct kicked in and I peeked through the blinds and sure enough, a snake was on my window, inching it’s way up towards the ceiling of the porch. At ten o’clock, I was not about to go back to bed and not know where it went. Armed with a broom, I walked outside and flipped the snake out into the yard where it slithered under my porch. OK, I can deal with that, maybe it will go to someone else’s yard tomorrow. The next morning I remembered the snake and carefully opened my front door and there it was again! It had crawled back up and was laying on the 2x4 in the ceiling of the porch. Armed with wasp spray and a broom, I sprayed it (made it real mad) and pushed it out into the yard again, where I never saw it again I will always have a broom and a bucket nearby for when the next visitor decides to pay me a visit. I guess you could say I overcame my fear of snakes. I faced my fear several times. I taught myself to face my fears and found out I was still alive after all that. I don’t want to meet another snake, but if I do, I think I’ll be able to cope.  

One of my grand-daughters, who has a masters degree  to become a professionl counselor, just got her third snake!  Will I never get away!  They are beautiful, though.


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