Afternoon outing puts her sanke alert

By Lnn Moncus

While Aggie and I were taking our walk in the country Sunday, one of us had a major nervous breakdown. Yes, we ran head on into a snake, thus scaring the daylights out of me and making Aggie wonder why her leash had become so short.

Fortunately, I saw it before she did and yelled as I left the ground. While hanging onto a handful of air, I decided we were facing a bull snake instead of a rattler, but I wasn’t any calmer.

Because they look much alike to one scared woman from Ima, I checked fairly carefully to be sure my diagnosis was right. Because he hadn’t rattled, I thought he must be okay, and then when he didn’t coil or try to strike when hit by a few rocks, I felt a little safer but wasn’t about to hang around to become better acquainted.

As much as we have walked in the country, we have been most fortunate to avoid such encounters. In fact, Aggie had never been that close to a snake in all her eight years. I wasn’t about to let her get any closer because I didn’t want to confuse her into thinking she could just walk up to any snake and say howdy. As a city dog, she really doesn’t understand the danger posed by those slithery varmints.

We made a rather hasty retreat to the car, much to her chagrin, but I didn’t have time to explain everything to her. I was just much relieved that the dude hadn’t rattled or struck. I did manage to stay still long enough to capture a couple of pictures, but they certainly aren’t what a person might call close ups. I was even amazed that they weren’t blurred because I was not exactly steady while playing with the camera.

Those of us who claim to be country people are just naturally more than a little skittish when we see snakes or even talk about them because we have all had fairly close calls.

Also, our parents warned us constantly to watch for snakes. Well, mine didn’t have to say much after I could toddle because I was scared silly from then on. The first encounter I can recall was when I was about three, and I was with Dad at one of the springs in the canyon. I was crawling toward him when he saw a rattlesnake coiled between us and very quietly got my attention so I would stop long enough for him to dispatch the beast.

In later years, he said he was afraid I was too young to listen carefully, but he learned that I must have felt his fear whether or not I understood what he was trying to tell me. I can remember his grabbing me after the kill and holding me a little closer than usual. From then on when we went to that particular spring, he checked out the nearby cave and left me in it while he did his work.

You are probably thinking of your early experiences and can tell some scary stories about your encounters.

Of course, if you are as cowardly as I, you will admit to having nightmares after your encounters. I can even work up one of those if I forget to close eyes when a rattler appears on television, and I certainly had a great one Sunday night.

We will walk again Sunday if the weather permits, but one of us will be more alert than ever to our surroundings. I just hope we won’t see the real thing and that we will both remain safe so we can continue to enjoy our outings.