I wonder if you liked snakes as much as I did as a kid. Loved them, actually. Well, not the garter snakes that grew too big and bit you if you got too close… no, the tiny chocolate-brown snakes with the red-orange bellys.
I knew all the good spots to find them, they liked the field behind the abandoned house on Lover’s Lane. They were thin and hard to catch but oh, so rewarding when you did. I let them wrap around my fingers and watched in endless fascination as they curled up and made themself comfortable. On hot summer days they felt cool and soft and I just couldn’t get over their colors. What was with that orange belly anyways?
Brought them home – couldn’t just leave them there, now could you?
Can’t keep them, sis, Jim said.
Can too. I squared my shoulders ready for a fight.
Dad won’t let you.
Dad doesn’t need to know.
And he didn’t, at least that’s what I believed for a long time. Put them in a glass jar with a metal lid and snuck them into the basement. Damned if they weren’t always gone in the morning.
You’re in trouble nowww… Why did Jim like that so much?
You have to poke a hole in the lid – they breathe air. Duh?!
Yeah, well, now they’re gone.
Well, help me LOOK!
Nope, those beauties would never be found, not by us anyways.
Payback came dozens of years later when my oldest daughter fell in love with snakes. What was that sticking out of the living room floor vent? I moved closer. Oh, brother. A garter snake.
Have I not taught you anything?
Out of the house with that thing, right now, young lady. And wash your hands.
You liked snakes- No missing that accusatory tone.
Yeah, but cool ones like orange-bellied brown snakes.
She just grumbled as she headed outside to her terrarium filled with baby garter snakes and I hid my smile.
Since a parent does knows everything, I just have to assume my parents did, too.