It was decided by official decree that the Groovy fam was going to go camping. We loaded up most of our gear on Sunday afternoon. Monday morning found us pulling together all the last minute goodies and then we'd be out the door.
We had just pulled the car out of the garage when suddenly Mulletman had an inspiration. He shut the car off and trotted over to our wood pile. We don't have a wood stove, but we do have a large fire ring in our yard and we keep a stack of wood near it - a very old and well seasoned stack of wood. Why in the world should we pay for firewood at a campground when we could bring our own, eh?
Mulletman had the girls lift their feet up and started stacking wood on the floorboard. He got several logs in the car and then got distracted for a few moments. The girls also got distracted and ran upstairs to give goodbye kisses to Grammy and Grampy. I just hung out in the driveway wishing we could go already.
Mulletman returned. The girls returned. Everyone piled into the car. The Groovy fam was just ready to go! Finally!
No, wait...Mulletman had noticed something about the wood. Apparently it was crawling with BUGS!!!! Little bugs, but still....Eeeewww! And they were now in our car! The Groovy fam quickly exited the car!
Mulletman started pulling the wood out of the driver's side and I pulled wood out of the other side. Suddenly he yelled, "SNAKES! Watch out for the SNAKES!"
I thought he was just fooling with the girlies. You know, Haha, I scared you, that sort of thing. Then I looked up and saw his face. My normally rather swarthy husband was white as a Maine winter and he had jumped about six feet back from the car.
"Are you serious? There was a snake in the wood?" I querried.
"Two," he gasped. Now normally, Mulletman is our protector and our hero, but the poor guy comes rather unglued when he sees a snake. I knew what those pleading eyes were saying to me.
"COOOOL! I'll catch 'em!" I quipped as I rounded the car.
My readers who've known me long and well know that I am something of a science geek. I LOVE fungus and insects and chemical reactions and symbiotic realtionships and weird latin terminology. I also love snakes. Happily, living in Maine, we have no rattlers or mambas or cobras. We don't even have water moccasins or coral snakes. We pretty much have 2 species of snake: Green grass snakes and garter snakes (which some folk call "garden" snakes), neither of which are dangerous in any way.
In fact, one day several years ago I got a call from my dear friend Tamara's husband, Rick. He had never called me before, so I knew something odd was up. Sure enough, I was right.
"Groovy. I understand you like critters and outdoorsy things."
"Well, I need to move our woodpile."
"I need to move it because it's too close to our kitchen door and..."
"And what, Rick?"
"It's infested with SNAKES..." His voice was as pale as Mulletman's face.
"I'll be right over."
I rounded up a couple of containers and headed over to their house. We burned the entire woodpile, I caught and contained 3 sizeable garter snakes (2-3 feet long) which I then released in my own backyard, and everyone was happy (including the girlies who got play with Rick and Tam's kids the whole time I was there.)
So anyway...I rounded our car and saw the cutest little garter snake all coiled up on the floorboard. He terrified and was playing dead, so he was easy to catch. I grabbed him and tossed him back out into our yard. Unfortunately, his compatriot was nowhere to be seen.
"Honey, I don't see another snake. Are you sure there were two?"
Mulletman was still several feet away, "Yes. The other one slithered under the front seat."
So we looked and we looked. We pulled stuff out of the car and searched thoroughly (translation: Groovy searched thoroughly while Mulletman and the girls skittered around.) No snake. Time was wasting away and we really needed to get going, so Groovy put on her best science teacher voice, "Alrighty, Mr. Snake is probably scared to death and is hiding. He's a little guy and he only eats bugs. He wouldn't even nip at your toe..." At the mention of "toe" the girls immediately started changing from flip-flops to sneakers. Sheesh!
After much assurance and persuasion, I finally managed to get everyone in the car and we drove off, though Mulletman still looked a bit edgy and grim. Our first stop was the town playground for some fun before lunch. Mulletman, who ALWAYS locks our car - especially when his very expensive Taylor guitar is inside - insisted that we actually leave the doors open while we played "in case the snake wanted to leave". Groovy tried hard to be supportive and not laugh at him, but it...was...very...hard! (snort!)
After much running, climbing, swinging, and sliding we headed into town to Subway for some nourishment. Still no snake. Perhaps he HAD slid out when the doors were opened.
We ate our leisurely lunch and piled back in the car to start for the campground. We were chatting, we were driving, we were listening to groovy music. We were NOT thinking about Mr. Snake.
And that's when I felt something tickle my right elbow.
"I think I found...Mr. SNAKE!!!" I triumphed as I grabbed him. The girlies cheered and, to his credit, Mulletman, who was looking rather ill, did not wreck the car. However, the vehicle quickly filled with a rather noisome stench; Mr. Snake had pooped on me! And it stankith! Eeeeewwww!
Even Groovy was relieved when Mulletman pulled over beside a grassy lot and she could toss Mr. Stinky Snake back to the outside world. She was even more thankful for those baby wiped she keeps in the door pouch of the car "just in case".
As they pulled out of the lot, I said, "Oh, I hope he went toward the field and NOT under the car after all that. I'd hate to run him over."
Mulletman looked at me with disgust and said, "Running him over would be a GOOD thing!"