I was inspired by a friend’s recent snake story and remembered this true family tale…
It was June 2009.
Just before I dashed out the door, I scribbled a note to Jane. She would arrive for work in a few minutes and I needed to warn her. Moments earlier, having forgotten the events of the previous day, I opened the freezer and shrieked. There was a small snake between the vanilla ice cream and the green beans.
The note to Jane read,
“There is a snake in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Don’t be alarmed. I thought you should know. Love, Mama Emily”
It all began quite innocently. After lunch Noah was walking up to school when a maintenance man asked him to come look at a snake. Noah could see it was just a little grass snake and wrapped it around his hand and went to school.
I arrived home later that afternoon and saw a plastic tub on Noah’s desk which was liberally poked with holes. I carefully pried off the lid and was startled to see a small snake curled up in a grassy nest. Noah told us the story while I started dinner. I asked him to please keep the lid on as I did not want to discover an escaped snake hiding in my washing machine.
We pulled out the reptile book and before long realized it wasn’t a grass snake, but looked a lot like a black mamba or boomslang! Emily and Daniel took the tub directly to a friend’s house… a friend who had lived in the desert and was snake savvy. Our friend inspected the black mouth, the size of the eyes, the coloring and scales. The identification was not conclusive, but this adolescent snake was doomed. After a few sharp raps to the head, the dead snake was brought back to our house.
We examined it again while paging through reptile books and online articles. “ deadly…when threatened, highly aggressive… injects large amounts of neuro and cardio toxins with each strike… ” We were having fun, but it wasn’t funny anymore and we slid the snake into a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer for the time being.
We talked about holding the snake… laughing and taking pictures, cheek- to-cheek with the snake. One time it had reared up, hissed and inflated its neck folds. Why didn’t it strike? A friend gave the answer. God protected us. We didn’t know the danger, but God did.
I was shaken but thankful to be safely on this side of the snake story. It reminded me of the time God closed the mouths of the lions when they surrounded the prophet Daniel. Hmmmm. This time, was His hand on the mouth of that little snake?