The first eighteen months that we lived in our home, I had traipsed barefoot through the basement, using the stairway light, and the sun that streamed through the window to guide me. One night, I turned the corner and nearly stepped on something, consequently I have never walked through the basement in the dark again.
I flipped on the light, and a snake lay on the floor in front of me. We eyed each other for several minutes deciding our next move. When I looked closer, I noticed that he had a pattern on his back and a triangle-shaped head. I guessed that he was possibly poisonous.
However, there was one thing that I knew for sure: Snake handling was not in my wife/mother employment contract and removing one was a man’s job. Since my husband has always loved a challenge, the logical solution was to present my husband with the gift of letting him determine how to get rid of the snake. When my husband returned home from work, ready to relax, I would surprise him with his next job.
The thought of getting close to the snake unnerved me, but I decided that I would put a large bucket over it, and I would weigh it down with several hundred bricks. Though I didn’t want to let our squatter out of my sight, I left to get a bucket. I chuckled wondering how my husband would remove the snake. Would he slide the bucket? Would he lift the bucket and take a chance of the snake striking?
Naturally, when I returned, my husband’s friend was gone. Now he was a full-time resident. I had lain awake the next few nights –or years— wondering if it would slither up the steps to our bedroom. Suppose it slid up the side of our bed? What then?
The following spring, our housemate had donated his skin to decorate his living quarters, and I couldn’t help but wonder, did it belong to him or one of his siblings?
Though I have had our home inspected and sealed, this was the first of several snake episodes. Each family member has had the joy of encountering at least one.