Country Roads

April 16, 2006

Most people know that we’re living in the country. I was reminded again today how far out in the country we really are. When I woke up this morning, I noticed that the clock by our bed was blinking, which meant that the power had gone off overnight. It wasn’t until we saw my brother at church that we found out the reason. Alan had been called into the emergency room in the middle of the night to sew up the face of a young man who had an accident on the winding road that passes by the cattle gate that leads to our cabin. It seems that the young man had called a friend at 1 AM to say he was coming over to pick up a transmission. Let that thought rest in your mind for a moment. As Alan put it, “Only a 21-year-old kid would think to himself, ’Hey, it’s 1 AM. I’m going to go pick up a transmission from my buddy.’” He never made it because he was going too fast around one of the curves in the road when he came upon a deer. Instead of hitting the deer, he decided to drive into a ravine, hitting a pole, knocking out a transformer (and the electricity to our area), rearranging his facial geography in the process. Alan said the kid was laughing about it as he sewed him up.
This afternoon I decided to go for a quick bike ride. Because it was almost 6 PM, I decided not to ride the Natchez Trace, but instead followed that same country road. As I pedaled around a curve, I noticed something moving in the middle of the road. As I closer, I could see it was a snake of some kind. It wasn’t hurt or crushed, just very slowly making its way across the road. Passing it with maybe three feet to spare, I went around the curve and then thought to myself, “I should go back and look at it.” I think I thought that because I’ve watched that crocodile guy from Australia pick up snakes and talk about them. So I decided to go back and take a look at the snake. When I got there, the snake was moving across to the other side. It looked to be not quite three feet long. It’s head was up and the tongue was flicking this way and that. I didn’t stop but I could clearly see a diamond pattern on its skin. I think it was a rattlesnake but Alan said it might have been a copperhead. Here’s the eerie part. I pedaled past the snake and then turned around to have another look. It couldn’t have taken me more than ten seconds, but when I turned around, the snake had vanished. I rode up and down past the last point where I saw it, but the snake had disappeared into the grass. If you were walking on the shoulder, you wouldn’t see it until you stepped on it.
The snakes are out, which is one sign that hot weather is on the way. Marlene said tonight that she’s seen more snakes in last few days than in the last 18 years. I don’t remember ever seeing a snake in Oak Park. Alan says that snakes hate sulfur so we’ve spread sulfur all around the cabin. He also said not to worry, he’s never seen a snake near the cabin.
There’s one other sign that things are heating up in Mississippi. The kudzu is coming back to life. Snakes and kudzu and kids who miss a deer and hit a transformer while on their way to pick up a transmission at 1 AM. It could make a good country music song. Sometimes I think I’m living in a Jeff Foxworthy routine.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?