OT-HUMOR: cats and scary shovels
'Twas the night before last and I went out on the porch around
11 p.m. to drink and enjoy a glass of milk without the merciless
heat and sun. Had the porch lights on, but stepped off into the
gravel parking area to avoid the milk being sprinkled by a dozen
flying insects attracted to the porch lights.
Well, the cat accompanies me on these little trips, but since she
doesn't like to be touched she did her usual bit and moved well beyond
where I was standing. Pretty soon she is stalking something in the
shadows. Grasshoppers, katydids and locusts being her favorites, of
course I didn't pay much attention. Soon enough there is a slight
singing in response to her actions. Not a locust and doesn't sound like
a katydid, either. A rattlesnake? Possibly. I peer toward the shadows
and watch. Can't see anything but the cat. However, the sound stops
and starts depending on her movements. So I go back in the house
and fetch a flashlight. The cat is still there. Usually interest doesn't
last this long for a grasshopper or locust. I'm getting more edgy at
this point. She's right up between the '47 Plymouth and the new Ford
pickup. I get on top of the limestone retaining wall and inch along it.
Sure enough, a rattlesnake. A fat, more than 3 1/2' rattlesnake. Now
I know from observation a cat can move quicker than a snake can
strike. But I can't. Or at least I don't think I can. There have been
circumstances which indicate otherwise, but I don't trust them. Still,
I believe even a cat might miscalculate through over-confidence.
So back into the house for a shotgun. I get an extra shell. My sighting
eye is so bad I can barely see the end of a gun barrel in daylight even
with corrective lenses. And it's dark. On returning, the cat is still
pestering the dratted thing. Intermittent buzzing tells me I'm approaching.
So I get it spotted and place the flashlight between my legs and clamp
down. Take careful aim....and miss by a foot and half, at least. It moves
along the retaining wall a few feet. I reload, creep closer, clamp the
flashlight, aim....and miss again.
Back into the house for more shells. On returning, the cat has moved
further into the dark, but is still alert. I look and look and am not
anything. I'm pretty edgy moving along the top of the wall. Finally I see
it trying to hide in leaves and pasture grass seed heads the recent winds
have blown into the corner of the wall. Okay. I get as close as a coward's
heart will allow. I keep looking all around me to make sure there are not
more of them. I repeat the process with the flashlight and gun. Aha! This
time I had success. I move closer and now the unhappy creature moves
out, wounded but not completely immobile. I want a shovel!
So I go back through the house, turning on every outside light we have. Go
through the garage and into the storeroom and get a long handled shovel.
Too timid to open the garage doors and go directly into the parking area, I
go back through the house with the shovel, out into the shadows along the
top of the wall. I locate the rattlesnake. I have to get closer to do
The adrenaline pumps faster. I thank the iris seedlings for the fresh
in the flashlight, since I check them for night chewers most nights. They
won't get checked this night, though. Too far, too dark. Success at last!
The dirty deed is done and I go back along the top of the wall, being too
nervous to actually walk on the ground. The height and the visibility of
limestone in the flashlight's beam give me security.
At the porch I lean the shovel on the wall and turn back with the light and
watch the cat creeping back toward the general location of the snake. I
take deep breaths trying to relax. Gravity causes the shovel to slide down
the wall behind me. I drop the flashlight and instantly levitate. Mercy!
I lost a few years off my life's span at the sound of that sliding shovel!
Texas Zone 7, USA - and be careful of cool, shady flowerbeds if you are
in an area which might have potential visitors of the rattlesnake and
copperhead persuasions. This is the first rattlesnake in about three
years, being limited lately to just the little copperheads.
Find long lost high school friends: