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Neighbors Growing Together | Jan 22, 2018

A spring cleaning surprise

By Bryce Kelly | Apr 14, 2017

By Bryce Kelly, Mt. Pleasant News

 

It’s spring and that means spring cleaning is afoot. Hooray!

Now, for all you super cleaners and organizers out there, I’d like to share a precautionary tale with you when it comes to tackling that garage or shed of yours. After a long winter, it’s no secret that the amount of dust, dirt and grime that has accumulated from December to now is probably pretty thick – as is the sheer number of objects that have found their way into the corners and shelves. Now, it’s my opinion that if you have a free afternoon on a sunny weekend, it’s best to stop putting off the work and just get to it…before you begin, however, I offer you this nugget to chew on.

Our tale begins last weekend when my mother decided to tackle the garage at her house in Ft. Madison. My older brother had stopped by my parents’ house with his five-year-old son, Camden, that day to use my dad’s welding shop. After some conversing and putting Camden down for an afternoon nap, my mom ventured out into the two-car garage while my brother headed up to weld.

With a broom in hand, some country music softly playing in the background, and the garage doors wide open, Mom began the long process of sweeping, sorting and restoring. After about an hour, she came to a set of shelves on the far left side of the garage. One by one, she dragged items off each ledge and placed them down beside her.

And that’s when it happened.

After she took a large box off the tallest shelf, she thought she saw the faintest sight of something getting jostled down with the box as she slid the large container into her arms. Not thinking much of it, she gingerly set the box down next to her, not wanting to break any of the contents inside.

As she set the box safely to the floor, she looked aside to something black-looking on her foot. To her horror, she found she was not the only one in the garage. A long, dark brown snake was curled around her foot.

Letting out a scream, mom didn’t know what to do. Paralyzed with fear, she just stood there in a panic.

Thankfully for her, little Camden awoke from his nap hearing her screams echoing from the attached garage. Not knowing what to do and still a little groggy from his abrupt awakening, he ventured out to see what all the fuss was about.

When he opened the door to find Grandma Dana in a state of sheer panic, he joined her in the pandemonium.

“Grandma, what’s happening?!” he cried, looking to her to calm the situation that he didn’t yet fully understand.

That calm did not come.

“Camden, I need you to focus,” Mom screamed, her wide eyes motioning down to her foot. “This is no time to panic!”

Says the woman literally having a full-blown panic attack.

“Go get your dad, quick! Run!”

With fear as his only driver, Camden set off in his socks and shorts for the shop as fast as his little legs could carry him.

Bursting open the shop door, Camden bellowed, “Dad come quick! Grandma is getting eaten by a snake!”

As if that was explanation enough, he spun around and headed back for the garage.

Now, it’s obvious by now that my mother is no fan of reptiles. And if her fear of snakes is bad, my brother’s fear is just about equal. The Kellys don’t care for snakes. Period.

Needing a minute to process what Camden had said, Trail responded back, “Well what should I do?!”

Knowing my dad was on a work trip and that the only man around was him, Trail decided he was going to have to step up to the plate on this one. Rousing up courage, he set off at a brisk jog down to the house to see what could be done.

What followed is not for those who are sentimental to the plight of our scaly friends.

By the time my brother had arrived at the scene, our family dog, Baxter, had already gotten a hold of the snake and was thrashing it from side to side in his powerful jaws. Ordering him to drop the creature, Trail realized the snake was already half dead from Baxter’s harassment. Putting it out of its misery, Trail administered the final blow with a spade, literally cutting the head off the snake.

Now, a week later, my mother is still talking about her experience with the unwelcome serpent. As I was not present for the event, but have since heard it told more than a few times, I would offer up a few words of advice.

First, as you venture out into the great unknown known as your pre-cleaned garage, be mindful of any woodland creatures that may have decided to set up camp. Proceed with caution as you open boxes, shuffle items around and disturb dark, untouched corners.

Secondly, if you do get into my mom’s situation, it’s best not to rely on your five-year-old grandson to be your mini messenger. Keep a phone nearby so you can call for help, or clean with a partner. The old-fashioned buddy system rarely lets you down.

Third, and this is primarily aimed at all you men out there – if your wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, mother and so on has a snake on her foot and is about to have a coronary, don’t let the first thing out of you mouth be, “well what should I do?” Guys, act like you know what to do even if you aren’t quite sure. Second guessing too much is not an option in such situations.

Finally, and this is for all the snakes out there, if you do decide to come slithering onto the Kelly property ever again, let what happen last weekend serve as a reminder. We may be scared of you, but we do have a dog that’s not and a spade that will finish whatever you start.

 

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