May 2018

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Woohoo, congratulations students, teachers, and parents! You made it! Summer is here!

While things have wound down for the school year, that means activities are just winding up here at the library. Summer is our ‘busy’ season. Starting June 6th, we will have Summer Reading Program every Wednesday from 2-4 for completed K-5th graders. And starting June 1st our Summer Reading Challenge is open for students 6th grade and up. Summer Reading Challenge works differently in that students read books at their own pace and earn points for books and special challenges. Prizes will be awarded to the top three students with the most points by July 20th. We will also continue our Thursday Story Time for the Pre-K kiddos through July. So be sure to get your kids signed up for these programs!

So many great things come with summer, but there are a couple downers too. Along with the face melting temperatures, there is also my least favorite part of Texas…snakes. And by snakes, I mean the devil spawn with rattles. And as long as we are on the subject of snakes, I have a cautionary tale of the embarrassingly funny sort for you today. I’m one of the world’s best self-tattle tellers and while I might be embarrassed at first, you just can’t let a funny story go to waste. And this one is a doozy.

It all began one Saturday night. If you want to draw a crowd in our family, all you have to do is come through the door and yell “snake”. And that’s just what happened late one evening as my brother came in and reported there was a rattler in the front yard. A flurry of activity ensued which involved boots and guns. Before too long shots were fired and flashlights flashed. But something was wrong. It was taking too long. The guys should have made their triumphant entry with rattlers in hand by now. Instead they come back with the news no one wants to hear: “He got away, we can’t find him.” No! Not in the front yard, not this close to the house, not with a half a million cats and ducks and bear feet running around. No Bueno. It seems impossible that they missed him, but he disappeared all the same. So mentally, we all go on high alert. And that’s when I did a stupid. I opened my mouth and said, “Boy, just watch, I’ll find him tomorrow morning when I’m here by myself!”  And here enters the cautionary part of my tale (at least the first part). For goodness sake, be careful what you say people! You wanna know what happened? Yep you guessed it. I ate my words. All dressed up in skirt and strappy Sunday heals I ate my words! In a rush the next morning, I made it all the way to my vehicle, eyes to the ground, watching. I was in the car, I could have made it, I could have pulled away and never been the wiser. But no, I looked out the passenger window and scanned the little tree covered hill where the rattler had escaped the night before… and that’s when my eyes did a double take. They spotted an irregularity in the shadows and leaves. And I then I saw him. Stretched out and pretty as a peach. That is if peaches were poisonous and looked like death.

I don’t like snakes. I don’t like dealing with snakes. I ESPECIALLY don’t like being ALONE dealing with snakes! But I couldn’t just leave him there. So in short, I call my Dad, who guides me through finding his gun and ammo, and I go back out to do my duty. Mr. Snake is still there, right where I left him. Hmm, how nice that he isn’t in a hurry today. Unlike a certain someone was. Oh well, I was already running late, might as well make it worth it. A small wire fence is between me and the snake, so I stay as far back as I can but close enough to shoot through it. “I can do this,” I tell myself. “I’ve killed snakes before. I’m a snake slayer. And I’m gonna do it in heals to boot! Then I’ll really have something to praise Jesus about in church today.” With that bit of courage coursing through my veins I take aim, I fire. *Click*. Nothing happens. I cock the hammer back and try again. *Click*. I check the safety, I reload with a different shell, I make sure to really slam the break closed. *Click. Click. Click.* Well that’s just lovely. Here I am facing down woman’s deadliest enemy (next to the scale after Thanksgiving dinner) and I’ve got a dud of a gun in my hands. At this point I’m pretty flustered, which is compounded by the annoyance of several curious cats that are slowly moving closer and closer to certain death.

Dad, who has been on the line this whole time, tells me over the phone to hold tight, leaves church, and books his way to my rescue. I use this time to attempt to lure some of the cats away and quickly return to my post. Before long Dad calls to check my status. “I’m almost there, can you still see the snake?” he asks. “Oh yeah,” I report, “he is still right there, hasn’t moved, I’m watching him!” This snake has been surprisingly docile, I think. “Okay, well, I’m almost there,” he hangs up. And then it happens. One of the cats has slowly made his way to within a foot of the rattler’s tail. “You stupid cat! No, no, no! Go away!” I screech under my breath. That approach doesn’t work, so I try again. “Here kitty-kitty. Come here kitty, come here!” Even my sweetest sweet-talk doesn’t work and now the stupid thing has moved even closer. I can’t throw anything at it without certainly angering the snake, so I just watch, heart pounding as the cat stretches out his paw in what seems like slow motion and, horror of horrors, bats the rattler’s tail. And. Nothing. Happens. The snake doesn’t move. Ummm, thaaaaaat’s not normal! And just as the light begins to dawn, Dad pulls up. “Is he still there?” He asks as he hops out. “Wellll, yeah, he’s still there.” I answer sheepishly. “Right where he’s been all morning. In fact…ummm, he hasn’t moved. Even when the cat pawed his tail.” Dad just looks at me. I purse my lips in that embarrassed way people do and confess, “I think he might be dead.” Dad walks over and takes a look. With a smile he says, “I think he might be dead too. But we’ll make sure.” I take some comfort in that the gun doesn’t fire for Dad either. But then, adding insult to injury, it turns out when I thought I had it set to fire, it was actually on safety! As a disclaimer, I’ve fired guns before, I’ve taken an NRA course in basic pistol, this safety was counter-intuitive y’all, if the arrow is pointing AT something wouldn’t you think it means that is what you’ve selected?! Yeah, now you see my problem. So needless to say, that deflated me faster than a bad hair day on prom night. One good shot later and my humiliation was complete. He was dead alright. Apparently Dad HAD hit him the night before and they just couldn’t find him.

It didn’t take long before we were both having a good laugh at my very red-faced expense! Better a twice dead snake than a live though, I say. Obviously, there were questions when we got back to church. Curious family asked, “Did you get him?” To which I simply answered. “Yep. He’s dead.” ‘Cause that was the god-honest truth.

So while I was thoroughly embarrassed that I didn’t understand the safety or think to try switching it the other way, and further embarrassed that I couldn’t tell the difference between a live snake and a dead one, I’m not too embarrassed to tell you all about it. In conclusion, here are some take always from today’s story. Number one: I feel pretty good knowing I can spot a snake if I’m looking for him. That’s a useful skill, you know. Number two: Know your guns. That’s all we’ll say about that.  Number four, it doesn’t matter what age we are, we can all use a Fatherly rescue from time to time. And lastly, always beware of snakes, especially the dead ones, they can cause a lot of trouble.

Desarae Phipps

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