Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

June 2, 2013

Lee Ward: It's the season of the snake: 6/3/13

ASHLAND — I thought I’d just run home, do a load of laundry and feed the dogs before my meeting the other day. Although it was still early in spring, I was mindful of snakes. Last year, I had a black snake encounter on April 20 that would haunted me all season.

I was close to pulling into the driveway when a stick in the road slid forward; I knew I had me a snake.

Last year when I saw the thing making its merry way up the street, I was on foot and started screaming and ran into my house. I didn’t come out until the next day and even then, it was gingerly. I found it dead on the road, but still didn’t like seeing it there. By the time I had come home from work, it was gone. I learned the woman next door had run over it and then made her husband remove it to the woods, where “we wouldn’t have to look at it.”

As a result, my neighbor was my hero. If I were the queen, I would have knighted her Top Snake Slayer.

Thinking about last season as I sat in my car with the motor running, I locked the doors, checked to make sure the windows were up and convinced myself of what I would have to do.

I gripped the wheel, closed my eyes and hit the gas. I know that sounds insanely dangerous, but I needed to close my eyes to muster my courage. To me, it’s scary to run over a snake. What if it looped around a tire and rode away with me? What if my SUV didn’t manage to squash it properly and it tangled itself to some of those pipes underneath to attack me later when I got where I was going? What if some snake got stuck in the treads of the tire, as one of my coworkers pointed out. Anything could happen.

After crossing over the serpent, I drove around the circle of my neighborhood, thinking I should go past my house again and, as difficult as it may be to look at, check to make sure it was lying dead in the road.

However, it was not lying dead in the road. It was gone.

I drove to a local dollar store to buy some moth balls, which are said to repel snakes. Meanwhile, I called a friend who was a biology major in college to see if he thought the snake was dead.

He wouldn’t make any guarantees, but he said, “It has a backbone and you drove a two-ton vehicle over it, so what do you think?”

I couldn’t be sure, so I bought all the moth balls the store had, with the plan of driving past my house throwing moth balls out the window toward the yard.

As I was pulling into the neighborhood, I saw my neighbor getting ready to pull out and told him about the snake. He had already seen it dead in front of my property and, like last year, he moved it to the woods so I “wouldn’t have to look at it.” He also agreed to meet me at my car when I got home and to walk me down the steps to my house, protecting me from any of those vile creatures that might be seeking revenge later.

I really appreciate him indulging me like that, but I still threw out some moth balls.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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