In a Sow’s Ear
Hunting and hunters exist all over the globe. It’s a built-in trait. However, you do not have to don camouflage-patterned outdoor garments accessorized with bright orange vests and tromp over hill, dale, prairie and mountainside to hunt. You do not need to go to Africa and beat the bush for wild animals. You do not need to sail the oceans searching for the wily octopi, whale or shark. Not at all.
Brother Tom and wife, Catherine, have retired to Florida to spend their dotage years. They don’t ranch or farm and the only livestock they own is a toy poodle that goes by the name of Cloe. You might think such a mundane existence would preclude hunting. You would be wrong. Brother Tom advises that he has become a Great White Hunter of Snakes.
The tribulation happened on an evening when Tom, preparing to watch a movie, had ensconced himself in his usual overstuffed armchair with Cloe on his lap. (She likes Disney films). From another part of the house came a loud, “THERE’S A BIG SNAKE IN THE COMPUTER ROOM!” Catherine came galloping into the TV room and grabbed up Cloe to keep her safe from possible snake attack.
Uttering an unprintable expletive, Tom went to investigate. No snake showed itself.
“Catherine, you sure you saw a snake?” he asked.
Those were definitely the wrong words to utter as Catherine give him “the look” before stating, “YES THERE WAS A SNAKE! I KNOW A SNAKE WHEN I SEE ONE! IT WAS RIGHT THERE!” She pointed to the floor.
Tom went to get his snake-disposing weapon ” a pair of long-handled pliers. His preferred viper-harvesting method is to use the pliers to grab the critter behind the head ” if it holds still ” then carry it to the back of the property and lob it into the trees. If the varmint doesn’t stay still, Tom whacks it dead and then tosses it into the vegetation.
In this instance, no snake could be found. That evening, Catherine refused to sleep in the master bedroom which was next to the computer room. She chose the guest room on the other side of the house. Tom decided he needed to protect her so he joined her in the guest room for the night’s repose.
Next morning Catherine insisted the house be de-snaked. She would NOT permit the things in her house! Tom repaired to a local emporium where he purchased a gallon of Snake Away ” a product heretofore unknown to him.
The directions advised that after utilizing the stuff, they should vacate the house for two hours. Upon return, Tom saw the invading snake under a table. Employing his handy pliers, he thumped it into snake heaven. With the creature dangling from the pliers, Tom showed it to wife, Catherine, who instantly shielded her face with both hands.
“Get that away from me! How do you know it’s a snake?”
Now, Brother Tom is a philosopher and a patient man. He pondered the meaning of life before insisting, “Catherine, look at it. If you don’t agree that this is a snake, you’ll constantly be saying, ‘How do I know that snake in the computer room is dead? I didn’t see it.'”
Catherine decided to agree that the dangling pencil-sized creature was indeed a snake. “It looked bigger,” she said, “when I saw it on the floor.”
Tom stalked out to the trees and got rid of the body. That evening, the Great White Snake Hunter once again ensconced himself in his plush armchair, allowed Cloe onto his lap and prepared to watch the film he’d missed the night before. It was supposed to be a scary movie, but wasn’t. There were no snakes.
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.