This story is a legendary tale in our family, having been told and retold through the years in many forms – a memoir, an entertaining anecdote, a cautionary tale. One morning about fifteen years ago…
“Come home right now,” I told my husband when I called him at work that morning.
“Are you alright? What’s wrong? Are you hurt?” he asked.
“No, I am fine, you just have to come home.”
“I just got to work. Why should I come home now?” he replied.
“Because… a snake just crawled out from under our stove.”
“Sn-sn-snaaaake? What can I do about a snake?”
“Listen here, Chicken Little. Get home right now. I don’t care how scared you are of snakes, we need you to come home and get rid of it. NOW.”
I hung up the phone and reminded our son Mark, who was sitting at the table eating his breakfast, to stay far away from this unwanted visitor that came into our kitchen that morning. It was just a small black snake and after it made its appearance it may have been more scared than we were. But I knew I couldn’t let it crawl back under the cabinets or refrigerator or stove or I would never stop wondering when it might come out again.
So I found a big plastic tub we kept outside toys in and somehow managed to slam it down over the snake so it couldn’t get away. Then Mark and I waited for Dad to come home.
Pretty soon we saw him walking across the back patio with Mark’s hockey stick in hand. He grinned at us through the windows, but when he came through the back door his face was sober.
“Where is it?” he inquired as he looked around. We both pointed to the upside-down tub.
“What now?” I wondered silently. But I smiled at my husband. “All yours,” I said.
And that is where this retelling must pause. I have interviewed all the witnesses and none of us can remember exactly how the snake was removed from the kitchen.
We all recall that the snake did not survive the ordeal. We seem to recollect shouts and screaming. We agree that the hockey stick was probably used as a weapon of self defense. And we are certain that the snake was never seen again.
Somehow in the numerous retellings down through the years we have lost a few of the important details, but I have no doubt that this isn’t the last time our snake-in-the-kitchen story will be retold.