August 30, 2012

On Catching Snakes and Kissing Frogs

Posted in Humor, Just Life, Wildlife tagged , , at 8:21 pm by catsinboxes

I like snakes, and if you can’t tell by the picture, I like catching them.  We don’t have any poisonous snakes in this area, so unlike    some people, I didn’t have a fear of snakes instilled during my growing up years.  I did learn “red to yellow, kill a fellow . . .”.  I enjoyed looking at venomous snakes and giant constrictors when they were one side of a glass panel at the zoo, and I was safely on the other.  I loved hearing stories about my mother’s encounters with rattlesnakes when she was a camp counselor in North Carolina.  All that to say, I like snakes, and depending on their size, I like catching them.  I draw a line with big garter snakes, they just wiggle too much and it makes me squeamish, but I digress.

At camp this summer, during counselor training, we all visited a bog.  It was a fun nature walk, and right in the middle of the bog what should we find but a snake!  A couple people had spotted one, and then I saw it.  Call me competitive, accuse me of trying to prove myself, and you do have a point.  But hey, I like snakes!  I saw that snake, and within moments, I caught that snake.  It wriggled frantically, but it wasn’t big enough to affect me.  Someone said, “grab its head”, but I didn’t pay much attention.  And then, then that nasty little bog-dwelling garter snake whipped his head around and bit me twice on my knuckle!  I put that snake down dropped that snake pretty quickly!  It was a neat battle wound, and I still have a tiny mark.  I even have a picture of it, but I’ll spare you my bloody knuckle.  Lesson learned: snakes that live in bogs are bad tempered.

All right, so that’s a little about catching snakes.  But kissing frogs?  I didn’t grow up doing that.  I was introduced to it by a friend two years ago.  Over the course of the summer, I did do it on occasion.  I kissed frogs and toads of various sizes.  It was a slight competition; I made it my mission to pass the number 5 since that was the record held by another counselor.  Once I reached 6 I was done, or so I thought.  A few weeks ago, I told my Bible class of 5-7 year olds that I had kissed frogs.  They were awed, disgusted, incredulous.  And that, I thought, was the end of that.  Little did I know . . . A few evenings later, the class was on the playground, when one of our 7 year-olds showed me a frog he had caught.  Frog doesn’t do it justice, that was one of the BIGGEST green frogs I have seen all summer.  He grabbed it, held it up to me, and said, “Kiss it!  You said you kissed frogs; kiss it!”  Well, what could I do?  How could I explain that a friend had enlightened me to the fact that some frogs and toads can carry salmonella.  I prayed a silent prayer, “Lord, I’m doing this for you!”  I picked up the frog, and I kissed it.  Oh, the reaction.  “SHE’S KISSING A FROG, SHE’S KISSING A FROG, LOOK EVERYBODY!!!”  A throng of my 5-7 year olds came hurrying over.  I held the frog aloft and announced I would do it one more time, just once.  And I did.  If you want to impress/make a lasting impression on 5, 6, and 7 year-olds, cheerfully kiss a frog . . . It works.

Back to snakes, I met one other snake at camp.  It was so little, I thought I’d try again.  I started to pick it up, and what do you know?  That little stinker did his best to bite me.  I put him down, and rather than fleeing, or I should say, slithering to safety, he coiled himself up and proceeded to glower at me and strike whenever my hand came remotely within striking distance.  I laughed and named him Rosencrantz.  That name seemed to fit him perfectly.

After those experiences, catching snakes became a hazardous occupation in my book.  As to kissing frogs, it was doable but too fraught with bacterial danger to be worth it.  And then, last night, my confidence in catching snakes was restored.   Walking down the road, my path crossed that of a small garter snake.  With encouragement, I was prevailed upon to pick it up.  And though it slithered around, it didn’t dream of biting me.  We have well-mannered snakes at our house.

And that is all I have to say, just talk of snakes and frogs,

So heed my warning and beware, of snakes that live in bogs!

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