Today, while on my way to a dance recital, I came to a stop behind a man parked at a stop-sign. He had spotted a very long snake in the road, and decided he should try to shoo it away (at least, that’s what he appeared to be doing). He stepped out of his farm truck with a baby in one arm and a crutch beneath the other, and he was attempting to persuade the snake to slither away by poking at it with the end of his crutch. After setting the infant back in the cab of the truck, he then motioned me to pull forward around him. I crept forward slowly, because I really didn’t want to run over the snake (or the man, for that matter). See, I live in a rural area. Growing up in this type of environment, where rattlesnakes are occasionally spotted, has taught me that running over a rattlesnake is risky. If the serpent should happen to strike at a tire, even a broken-off fang can still harbor some of the venom, which can cause a potentially life-threatening injury to anyone who changes the damaged tire, later. Living in the rural Kansas and Oklahoma regions has also taught me to value the snakes which are nonvenomous, too. They are considered beneficial, and old wives’ tales suggest bull snakes (which is what the snake in the above scenario actually was) are helpful at keeping the rattlers away. So, you can imagine my reluctance! I crept by and saw the creature coiled up in striking position to the side, as I passed. So, that was that…Just a really odd experience to behold: A man, a baby, a crutch and a snake.
About thirty minutes down the road (and after driving passed two more jay-walking (or ahem,… jay-crawling snakes), I was slamming on my brakes to avoid a very near collision with two happily galloping deer. Where’s a deer-crossing sign when you need one? Luckily, my daughters were securely fastened in their seats. My youngest, who had dozed off shortly before our unplanned and sudden stop, only fluttered her eyes a bit and went right back to sleep, never registering what had happened. Everything in my front seat, though, ended up on the floorboard of my van.
Eventually, we made it to our destination, unharmed. We celebrated by watching two hours-worth of tiny, dancing, sparkling, red-lipped, rouge-wearing girls tapping, tumbling, and swinging on a stage at the Northwestern Oklahoma State University performance hall. My niece was one of the tiny dancers, and there was much amusement that came from attending the event. After the show, my extended family gathered at a McDonald’s across the street. While there, an ambulance pulled up, lights-a-flashin’, over by the college performance hall area where we had just left. Ultimately, despite the foreboding inspired by the events of the evening, my daughters and I made it home, safely. I only had to hit the brakes twice on the way back home to avoid hitting deer again. My thoughts…Seat belts are nice.