I heard a true tale as I sat eating the last of my Thursday lunch in town today with my friend, Sharon. It rivals my grieving chicken story. And again, it makes me wonder about how much wonder most of us miss in the world.
I was still picking through the last of my bargain basement pile of Burger King fries. My friend had finished her chicken sandwich and was replacing her cell phone back into her purse after taking it out to check on the time. Suddenly she straightened up a bit taller in the booth with one of those ‘oh, and’ looks on her face as she said, “My granddaughter called me this morning. She was cracking up. You won’t believe what she told me.”
OK, I’ll bite. Sharon’s granddaughter, Shelly, arrived at work in a nearby town this morning a little earlier than her boss did. She was busy sorting through real estate folders at the start of her day when her boss burst through the door.
“Come out here and look! You have GOT to see this! There’s a gigantic snake out here in the parking lot!”
The real estate office sits behind the town’s Denny’s restaurant and shares its parking lot. Once Shelly stepped out through the office door, she was greeted with a pandemonium movie scene. Groups of excited people clustered together pointing and squealing near their parked cars. More people streaming out of the Denny’s. In the center of the parking lot arena wandered a massive snake, in and out, under and around the cars, obviously searching for the best way out and not finding it.
It twisted and turned its direction, heading first one way and then another as the growing crowd skittered and chattered.
“What should we do?” Shelly heard people calling to one another. “Don’t hurt it,” someone finally shouted loudly. “It’s not a rattlesnake. It’s a bull snake. It can’t hurt anyone. Just leave the poor thing alone. It’s confused and scared. It will leave by itself.”
Shelly was as fascinated watching the people as she was following the trajectories of this snake, out of place on this hot pavement, obviously having no more idea what it was doing there than the people did.
Suddenly two elderly women rushed out of the restaurant. One of them moved toward their pickup truck and stood there while the other woman, brazen and very self directed, marched across the wide parking lot directly toward the snake who stopped dead in its snake tracks at the sound of her firm and commanding voice.
“What in the WORLD are you doing out here!” The woman spoke to the snake as if it were a wayward child. “I thought I told you to stay in that truck until we came back out! Now, you get yourself BACK in there right this minute! Do you hear me? I’m talking to you. Get yourself back in that truck — NOW! Do as I say!”
Shelly could hardly finish telling her grandmother this story she was laughing so hard. “You won’t believe what happened next, grandma! That snake straightened out its body and headed right to that truck. It poked its head up the side of the rear tire, arched itself over the top of it, and – really, grandma, I am telling you the truth – got right back into that pickup like it was told to!”
Once the snake had followed its orders, and with the tailgate slammed shut, the women turned to the awed crowd and told them the rest of the story.
“We both decided we deserved a Denny’s breakfast this morning,” reported the snake charmer. “We were on our way into town when I had to slow down for a snake crossing the road. Only when we got closer, we could see that there were two snakes, great big ones. But one snake was smashed dead. The other one, this one, lay close beside it and wouldn’t move an inch even after I saw it was a bull snake and I walked right up to it and tried to chase it away.”
“What to do with a stubborn snake? Nothing, I tell you. Not a thing. So I decided to ignore it and let it have its way as I bent over to pick up that dead one. It took me a couple of minutes to carry it down the shoulder and into the Mesquite bushes off the side of the road. It was heavy! I laid it down to rest there in the shade.”
“By the time I got back to the road, the other snake was gone. I thought it had wandered away, but as I got into the truck my sister told me she caught sight of it in the rear view mirror climbing into the back of our truck. We always leave the tailgate open for better gas mileage, you know how that goes. I didn’t shut the tailgate after the snake got in. I figured it would just stay in there until we were done with breakfast like I told it to, and then we’d just drop it off where we found it on our way back home.”
The listening audience of bystanders, bound to remember and tell this story for many days to come, decided as a group that these two snakes were obviously married for life, and had been for a long time. They decided this surviving snake was beside itself at the tragic death of its mate, and being left suddenly and completely alone, hitched a ride with these two kind strangers.
Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting Website
The Children’s Bureau has launched a website for Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting. The website includes findings from 17 cooperative agreements “to support the infrastructure needed for the widespread adoption, implementation and sustaining of evidence-based home visitation programs” and a cross-site evaluation. Resources are available in the form of archived webinars, newsletters, and research documentation.
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