COMMENTARY

The Critters Are Out

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The other day, I walked past one of the azalea bushes. I noticed something strange, so I moved in for a closer look. Wrapped around one of the branches was a little snake—a monster of a snake, no longer than 5-6 inches.

I’m fascinated by snakes, so naturally I moved in for the capture. I’m a catch and release kind of guy with my no-legged friends. As soon as I grabbed it, he began to spray, squirt, saturate, whatever you want to call it. It didn’t faze me, but I didn’t want it on my hands, so I went inside to wash my snake scented paw. I wanted to snap a photo of the friendly fella prior to his release.

Lucy was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, so I slid past her en route to the sink. I wasn’t trying to scare her, but when she turned around and saw what was in my hand, well, she scared me. I momentarily feared for my life.

A Jim Croce song immediately came to mind:
“You don't tug on superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim”

Well, you can add “you don’t bring a snake in Lucy’s house.”

She said that if I do that again, she was taking the baby and was going to burn the house down. I never did get my picture.

I’ve seen several dead snakes on the road, but oddly enough, that’s the only snake we’ve seen at home this year, and we’ve been outside a lot, primarily in the garden. I fully expected to find a copperhead the other evening while clearing a woodpile. While I didn’t see a snake, I did discover an armadillo hole.

We have all kinds of critters out here. There were two possums, Slim and None, living under the house. They came to the porch every night to eat from the cat food buffet. I haven’t seen them in a couple of weeks. I hope they didn’t try to cross the road. Their chances of successfully doing so were slim and none.

They had it pretty good, that is, until the big orange tomcat started showing up. Now I think he lives under the house. He won’t let us get near him. He appears old and haggard. Maybe we’ll name him Merle.

The three big dogs stay in the backyard most of the day. They let us know when Merle comes around. Ruby barks some. She’s a dog. That’s what they do. TinMan barks a lot—a whole lot. Then, there’s Jude. We’re convinced he’s sees dead people. He barks and barks and barks—at nothing. Did I mention he barks? By the way, I must give the Sixth Sense reference to Lucy. That was pretty good. He really does see dead people.

Maybe he sees dead possums, too.

So, get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. Just keep your eyes and ears open, because the critters are out, too.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com

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