Mom vs. Snake (Round II)
Many, many years after utterly decimating a copperhead, mom ran afoul of another snake. Well, mom was actually defending her mother… and it wasn’t really a poisonous snake… in fact it was sleeping. But I get ahead of myself.
My grandfather loved his ranch, but was in moderately poor health, so we sold it. This was well after my mom and dad got divorced, so not much going on at the ranch. Gran used some of the money from the ranch to build a garage apartment next door to my mom’s house so he could keep an eye on us. We had about an acre and a half, which was very cool, especially for being in the city limits. At one point we had two horses in our backyard. This was much later though.
Each night my grandparents would walk the perimeter of the land five or six times. On this occasion, Gran was somewhere and my grandmother (hereafter referred to as ‘Tince’, don’t ask me why) was walking on her own. Mom and I were in our house doing our nightly things, eating, homework, whatever. Suddenly, out of the backyard, a call to arms rings out…
“SNAKE! SNAKE!” my grandmother shouts. I run outside with the intention of throwing myself in front of the viscous predator and keeping my maternal grandmother from harm. [Hey, she made me M&M cookies, bitten by a snake would be a small price to pay!] Mom, knowing Gran wasn’t home, ran for the arms locker. OK, she kept a .38 under her pillow.
Gran, still the rancher type, had planted a not insubstantial garden in one corner of the land. And there was the snake. Tince was jumping up and down screaming her head off. And there was the snake… asleep… under the green beans. As I reach the startling conclusion that there is no immediate threat, my pulse slows, my brain kicks in, and Mom arrives with a fist full of gun and blood in her eyes.
Again, let me say that I don’t like to hurt animals, I rally couldn’t care less about people, but I don’t like hurting animals… for no reason. This snake was minding its own business, but Tince was freaking out, mom has a personal grudge, and I had to live with these women. It wasn’t like the snake was making me M&M cookies every Christmas, now was it?
So mom stealthily approaches the snake from downwind. A hunter on the prowl. Her target has been sighted and locked. Weapons are armed. No deer hunter ever moved so silently. No tiger ever made an ambush this effective. No, my dear readers, this snake was doomed.
She stood over the snake. Carefully cocked the pistol and fired. A thunderous boom echoed through the town. A cloud of freshly mulched dirt showered into the air. The snake was still asleep. We could see no injury on the snake. We looked at mom in surprise. We know she’s a better shot than this. She sets a look of grim determination on her face, cocks the pistol and fires again. Another boom, another cloud, another miss.
At this point, I start giggling. Thrice more she fires, thrice more she misses, thrice more the snake is unharmed. Nay, it is not even awaked.
Mom looks confused. Tince is now actively worrying about being arrested. Neighbors are leaning over the fence putting bets on each fired round. Mom fires again. click. Oops, five round revolver. She heads for the house mumbling under her breath. I trudge over to the garden shed for a shovel.
Mom returns as I’m about to cut the snake down with a spade. “No,” she shouts, “I’ll get it this time.” She hasn’t reloaded. No, she got a bigger gun. Apparently, she knows where Gran kept his .357. Now a .357 and a .38 are basically the same cartridge. In fact any .357 gun can fire .38 rounds and many .38s can fire a .357… once. However, the two cartridges are not the same. It’s kind of like a the cute, little convertible Mustang that you get for your 16 year-old daughter and a Shelby Boss Mustang. They’re both mustangs, they’ll both kill you, but one is WAAAAY more powerful than the other.
So mom appeared with something roughly akin to a shore bombardment naval cannon. It gets worse. This revolver had six rounds.
The first shot nearly knocks her down. I can’t describe the sound to you because everyone in the city limits was deaf now. When the dust settled, we see that the snake is wounded. Yay, she got it. However, the snake, now realizing it is in imminent danger responds by twisting around itself very rapidly. Such that the next five rounds only graze it twice more. We now have a wounded snake, two empty guns… and, yep, a shovel.
The shovel is a useful tool. Not the least use is throwing the remains of a snake over the fence into the ditch.
As an aside… that particular patch of ground never really grew anything again. Gran swore it was the lead poisoning.