Friday, September 25, 2009

. . .and it was THIS big!

I hate to say goodbye to summer blooms, and every year it seems I am the last person to put out mums and tie up cornstalks. Don't get me wrong - fall is my favorite time of the year. But the change of seasons - especially in the fall - makes me nostalgic, and all too aware of the rush of holidays just there on the horizon. The day after I put out pumpkins and hang up my fall leaf wreath, it's time to brave horizontal sleet to hang Christmas lights. Trust me.
So every evening after DaBoys and I return from our last tour of the neighborhood, I venture out into the dark-wrapped driveway, fill my big green watering can and give my plants a drink. The white impatiens, petunias in pink and burgundy and the hanging plant on my porch that looks like a green afro with tiny white flowers - they all get a drop or a drench as needed. I pinch back dead growth, loosen up the soil and wonder how much longer they'll hang on. Then I head back down the driveway to water the huge Black Eyed Susan mom and I bought at a little greenhouse out in the middle of nowhere. Best five bucks I've ever spent - it's been blooming it's little heart out all summer.
Last of all, I water the creamy hydrangea and the bushy, purple-y geranium that came from the garden of my dad's friend, Gene Werling, after he died. Just as I learned classical music at a young age by watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, I learned my colors from Crayolas, and this old fashioned geranium is a startling, beautiful shade of red violet. I think of Gene everytime I water it.
A trail of kid laughter from down the street hems the quiet as I coil up the hose and turn off the faucet. I like these solitary moments in the evening - just me and my flowers and a handful of stars overhead. The evening smell of grass soft in my nose and the last of the day's heat lingering in the blacktop beneath my feet. So serene.
Except tonight.
Tonight, it was more dark than dusk when I filled my green watering can. As I held the hose nozzle down in the can and turned on the water, A SNAKE came wriggling out of the spout. Shooting out of the spout, really, and let me tell you, it was not a happy SNAKE. If we haven't covered the topic of snakes on Scrapinator before, let me catch you up.
I don't like SNAKES.
I've never liked SNAKES.
I think God made SNAKES because He has a weird sense of humor. Besides, as Gary Larson once depicted in a "Far Side" cartoon, rolling out SNAKES is cinchy.
In my mind Hell is humid and has SNAKES.
When I was little, my mom and dad ordered a new blue set of Colliers Encyclopedias. When they arrived, our little family lined up on the couch and looked through each volume with its shiny pages smelling of fine ink and its beautiful, sharp, full page photos. I unsuspectingly opened the "S" volume and turned to a photo of a snake and launched that book straight across the room and into the philodendron before I knew what I'd done. It was several minutes before I figured out that I hadn't also wet my pants.
Before I met Ken, I once went on a date with a dentist who lived in my building. He was dreamy and funny and we had a wonderful evening. When we got back home, he suggested we call some mutual friends and hang out in his apartment. As everyone else was arriving, I excused myself to use the bathroom. I remember thinking to myself that this guy was someone I definitely wanted to see again. I opened the bathroom door, flipped on the light and just about had a heart attack. There on the back of the toilet tank was a huge aquarium that contained a SNAKE. We never dated again. As a matter of fact, I tucked a towel under my door for months afterward just in case.
Several years ago, I was walking back to my car idly flipping through the newspaper. There on the front page of the Entertainment Section was a huge photo of a SNAKE with (gulp) it's mouth wide open and (I have my feet up off the floor as I type this) fangs showing. Next thing poor Annie knows, I've thrown the entire Sunday paper through the window at her and am running down the street at a good clip, screaming. Maybe the Entertainment Section folks were watching from a parked car, entertained and high five-ing each other. I certainly wasn't entertained.
So to recap: I HATE SNAKES.
When SNAKEZILLA shot out of my watering can tonight all fangy and scary, I ran screaming like a banshee into the house, up the stairs and hid in the bedroom before Ken and DaBoys could figure out what happened. Of course, by the time Ken turned off the hose, there was no SNAKE in the driveway. Or in the flowerbeds. Or the lawn. This did not comfort me. To prevent future incidents, Ken thoughtfully left the watering can hanging from a nail in the garage. Not that I'm ever going to put water in a watering can again - even one hanging from a nail - since we all know SNAKES can get into anything they darn well want to. And his comment that the SNAKE was probably more afraid than me didn't reassure me, either.
Yes, I love the fragrant petunias and bright impatiens of summer. But tomorrow in the bright light of afternoon, I'm going to be putting out pumpkins and hanging my fall wreath because they don't need water and SNAKES can't hide in them.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go nail the back door shut and start caulking around all the windows. And I hope to heaven I don't wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom, because Ken will just have to get up and take me.


  1. Snakes are totally creepy, but thanks for the laugh!! I hope you come out from under the covers long enough to know how much I look forward to reading your blog!!!

  2. Mom, I applaud you for your artful understatement of the snake paper throwing incident. You craftily omit the small detail that you threw that paper like Cy Young threw baseballs and also the part where my face got in the way. Nice work.