By Mike Pound
It’s been three weeks now and I haven’t seen the snake.
I think that means the snake has left my car. My wife thinks that means the snake is still in my car. My wife and I are coming at this snake thing from different directions. In my direction, I tend to think no snake is a gone snake. From my wife’s direction, she tends to think no snake is a snake waiting to drop on her feet. So my wife says she still won’t get anywhere near my car.
I noticed the snake on the floor in front of the passenger seat in my car on May 12. When I stopped my car — and believe me, if you see a snake in your car you’ll stop too — and opened the front passenger-side door while the snake was still on the floorboard. When I went to the other side of my car to get my trusty snake-fighting umbrella and came back to the front passenger-side door, the snake was gone. I didn’t see the snake on the ground, which meant that it was possible that the snake crawled up under the dashboard of my car. And as far as my wife was concerned, the word “possible” used in the same sentence as the word “snake” really meant “definitely.”
When I wrote about the “possible” snake in my car I got several calls, e-mails and letters from folks telling me their snake stories. Most of the stories were funny and they all centered around the fact that the callers, e-mailers or letter writers were deathly afraid of snakes. Mrs. Cooper, of Columbus, Kan., wrote to me about finding a very large black snake in her garden that she attempted to slay with a garden spade. Mrs. Cooper also told me what would have happened if she had spotted a snake in her car while driving.
“I would probably have a car wreck, run into a water tower, if it was around, and spill water all over blocks of homes, have a heart attack or both,” she wrote.
Mrs. Cooper also wrote in her letter that her husband used to tell her that snakes were good because they ate mice. “But I’m not scared of little tiny mice,” Mrs. Cooper wrote.
I like Mrs. Cooper.
The thing is, sometimes folks are reluctant to admit being afraid of things. But snakes, public speaking and getting stuck in an elevator with a life-insurance salesperson are about the only things that people will readily admit to being afraid of.
Last week, I was at a family reunion at a park in Neosho Rapids, Kan. Sometime in the afternoon, my 9-year-old daughter, Emma, and her 5-year-old niece, Kelly, were walking near one of the slides in the park when Emma started screaming. It turns out that there was what appeared to be a very large black snake in a tree right above Emma and Kelly. Emma’s cries of “SNAKE!!!!!!!! THERE’S A SNAKE IN THE TREE” got everyone’s attention.
As near as I can tell, every person at the family reunion is afraid of snakes. So when Emma yelled “SNAKE!!!!!!!!” everyone, of course, ran to the tree to look at the snake that they were so afraid of.
It turns out that Emma didn’t see a big black snake. She saw two big black snakes. My brother-in-law, Pete, majored in biology in college. He informed everyone that the snakes were — to use a biological term — making snake whoopee in the tree. Apparently snakes like to make snake whoopee in trees. Oh, and sometimes they wear costumes.
The thing is, everyone tells us that snakes are just as afraid of us as we are of them. I’m not sure that’s true. I mean, most people are pretty afraid of snakes. But I will concede that snakes are probably afraid of us. So I’m pretty sure that while the snakes were in the middle of making snake whoopee, the male snake probably looked down at all my relatives staring up at him and yelled in his little terrified snake voice, “PEOPLE!!!! THERE ARE PEOPLE ON THE GROUND!!!”
Later, I had my nephew, Eric, sneak over to where my wife was standing and drop a large brown cord on her shoulder. My wife screamed. A lot. Later, my wife told me she was mad at me for asking Eric to scare her. My wife told me she would get back at me. But I’m not worried.
I’ll just stay in my car.
By Mike Pound
- Local News
Neosho National Fish Hatchery honors veterans
Gary Wallington started a trend during the third annual Rainbows for Veterans event on Saturday after he reeled in a trout bigger than any his friends had caught.
Duquesne receives storm shelter
The city of Duquesne now has a storm shelter thanks to the city of Joplin and the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri.
St. Patty’s Revenge slated in Miami next week
Part duathlon, part adventure and all challenge, the St. Patty’s Revenge Urban Adventure Race will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at the Miami Civic Center.
Wally Kennedy: Music store design hits right note
A persistent winter slowed some construction projects, and one of them was the new building that will house Ernie Williamson Music, 925 S. Range Line Road.
MAP: Construction in area tops $1 billion since 2011 tornado
Recovery began the morning after the tornado. Now, approximately 34 months later, Joplin and Duquesne have broken through a barrier that looked a long way off on the evening of May 22, 2011. As it stands now, Joplin has racked up $997.3 million in repairs and new construction across all categories.
Joplin City Council member says she has not moved
A Joplin City Council incumbent says rumors and Facebook posts indicating that she has moved to Webb City are unfounded.
Deadly hog virus arrives in Missouri; experts forecast higher pork prices this summer
Hog farms across Missouri have been struck by porcine epidemic diarrhea, a fast-spreading virus that can kill 80 percent of piglets that contract it. In some cases, entire nurseries containing thousands of piglets have been wiped out overnight.
Mike Pound: Fear of root canal requires sensitivity
The other day, my wife said her tooth hurt. Because I am a caring, considerate and thoughtful veteran husband, I looked up from the basketball game I was watching to express concern. “What?” I said.
Students show off projects at regional History Day contest
Jillian Lopes knew she wanted to research the Holocaust for this year’s History Day competition, but the subject was far too broad. So she whittled it down until she was focused on Irena Sendler, a non-Jewish Polish woman who worked to save children during the Holocaust and whose life later became the subject of a play called “Life in a Jar.”
MSSU panel prepares presidential job advertisement for publication
The advertisement for the president’s job at Missouri Southern State University could be published as early as next week, the university’s search committee was told Friday. The ad will run in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a print and online publication for higher education professionals, for 60 days, said Darren Fullerton, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, and a member of the committee.
- More Local News Headlines
- Neosho National Fish Hatchery honors veterans