You want to know what one of my favorite songs was when I was a little girl? Those who know me are likely to guess Cher, or an old show tune, but no! My precious posies, let me introduce you to the joys of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," by John Denver. I am still awful fond of this ditty, but as a child I loved it deeply. Luuuuuurrrrved it, even. We lived in the suburbs, of course, nowhere near the country, but I dreamed of riding horses and having a garden and chickens and being all farmy. My favorite imagination game when my mom put us to bed too early (a hilarious story for another time) was "You are disappearing into the wilderness for a year and you can take only what you can fit in a [backpack/wheelbarrow/ox cart]." Yes I said ox cart. I'd lie there under the covers and play that game over and over in my head. Now would be the appropriate time to laugh.
Well today's post is just a small nod to those childhood dreams. I finally got my parents to plant a garden, so I spent most of the day today weeding the damn thing. I turned the compost heap, looked at the barn for a while, sat in the meadow and chewed a piece of grass. Then I took the dogs on a long tramp through the woods, over to the pond and the river, up through the forest. And oh my good lord, somehow in my dreams of bucolic nirvana, I just never realized about the snakes. I found FIVE SNAKES in the woods - four black snakes, which are fine. But the sixth one? It was a 3 foot long copperhead (highly poisonous) coiled up and poised to strike in the middle of the path. The dogs, which are largely senseless creatures, wanted to play with it, of course, except the little old guy Theo (Crasey's little prince of her heart, whom she left in the care of our parents when she took of for travels in Southeast Asia). Theo is 13 years old and nearly blind. On top of it all, he's...
Well, look at that face. He rules the AmazingPants family with a jaunty wave of his tail, and Crasey pretty much things the sun rises and sets out of his ass, so we all live in terror that something might happen to him while Crasey's gone. Zoe and Obie, the big dogs, wanted to play with the copperhead (AARRGHGHHHH, WHY SO DUMB!!!) so I called them back to me, brandishing a hoe in one hand. But Theo is not one to sit idly by while some other dog might be getting an ounce of attention. HE IS THE KING IN THESE PARTS, DAMMIT! So when I called the other dogs, Theo, who was trotting about, blithely oblivious to the fanged death awaiting him only 3 feet away, decided he wanted to come and check it out in case treats were to be distributed. Streaking across the forest floor, he just leaped over the copperhead as if it were any other branch on the ground, and my heart stopped. I watched him expose his soft little underbelly to the poisoned fangs of a killer snake, and began rehearsing a conversation in my head that started something like this: "So, Crasey... remember Theo?" Oh, shudders. Luckily, the snake didn't know where to bite first, and Theo got safely to my side. I snatched him up in my arms and hustled us all out of the woods.
John Denver, why didn't you tell me what it was really like? Why sing to me of cakes on the griddle and your find old fiddle or your grandma's feather bed? What good is a utopian dream if I find out that really, there are killer snakes.