CONFESSIONS OF A NERDLING - PART 6
NOT for the squeamish! Let me just say there is an image of a snake on this page, so if you have a phobia of them like I do of mice, do NOT scroll down. Now...onto my nerdish, ridiculous, childish story...
I have NO idea how I happened to turn out to become a reasonably mature person other than I am 60, so it's probably time, but after some of the silly things I did as a kid--and still am inclined to do to this day--it's all very questionable. One of the joys of my life is to make people laugh, even at my expense, so I'm inclined to tell about the stupid things I've done and do because I know it will garner a giggle from someone.
Okay -- Cindy and I were walking home from school, and I'd guess we were in about fourth and second grades. We often walked home in lieu of riding the bus, and in those days a kid didn't have to bring a note from home to obtain permission. You simply set off walking instead of jumping on the bus. Can you imagine the school system allowing that today? As I recall, it was a hot day, so it was probably mid-May as we trudged along on the one-mile walk.
I was quite the daredevil as a kid, but something happened to that side of me because now I am the most UNcourageous, UNadventurous, scaredy-cattish person alive! Back in the day, though, there wasn't much I wouldn't try at least once.
We have a lot of blue racer snakes in Michigan, especially in wooded areas. I saw a lot of them growing up, and they never bothered me, even though they could grow to several feet long. Usually in the spring you'd find them coming out of hibernation, all curled up under a big shade tree secluded by dry, brown leaves.
EXCEPT for that dead one we found along the road on our way home.
Apparently, he wasn't in his 'racing' mode yet because he never made it across the road before a car smooshed one end of him. Well, Cindy and I bent over the thing to investigate whether he was truly dead. When we determined he was, we picked him up, He felt warm from lying in the sun--and, well, a little limp. We decided to carry him home, even though he was a little heavy. We argued a little bit about who got to carry him, so to be fair we worked it out that we'd count off 50 steps and then we'd hand him over. This worked for about a half-mile. (Our goal, by the way, was to take him home to our mothers and scare them. Is that not naughty?) When we reached our dirt road, we heard an approaching car. We moved off to the side, but then the car screeched to a halt, sending dust everywhere. Oops! It was my dad. He rolled down the window speedy quick. I can still hear him to this day.
"What in the WORLD are you doing?" he asked in a croaky voice. His scowl stretched across his face, and my dad didn't often scowl. "Put that thing down and get in the car immediately. And don't touch the seats. That thing is probably full of germs!"
We only had a tenth of a mile to go, but it was a long tenth, as we sat speechless in the backseat, our dead pet snake tossed in the ditch. When my dad pulled into the driveway he killed the engine and turned around to face us, but Cindy jumped out fast as a wink. "Bye!" she hollered, disappearing like smoke in the wind.
My dad stared at me for a second then chuckled and shook his head. "Don't--go picking up anymore dead snakes, okay?"
I jumped out of the car and made a beeline for the kitchen sink to wash my hands. I can still imagine him sitting in his car watching me from behind the wheel. He probably muttered some prayer that went sort of like this: "Lord, please help that girl make it into adulthood."