In October 2010, my two brothers and I spent the weekend at our farm in Dike. We gathered to see the freshly mowed land and to marvel at the difference two coats of white paint made in the look of our 75-year-old farm house.
The paint job had just been completed, and the screens had yet to be replaced. During night one of our visit, Twink, my white and brown rat terrier, slept at the foot of my bed.
Around 2 a.m., Twink jumped from the bed and ran to the closet across the room. Just as quickly, he jumped back on the bed and stationed himself by my head and stared at our bedside window, which was narrowly cracked open with a stick to catch the southern breeze.
In a softly modulated voice, Twink went, “Grrr.”
“Don’t make me get up and get a newspaper and bust your tail. Hush!”
My threats ignored, I looked around to discover what had Twink’s undivided attention.
In the bright light of the full October moon, I saw a large, black snake coiled on our side of the window, a very few inches from my feet.
Twink, without taking his eyes off the snake, backed up against the bed’s head board to make sure it didn’t fall. I rescued my feet and called for backup from a brother sleeping in the next room.
“Twink’s treed a snake on our side of the window.”
Bill’s feet hit the floor, and momentarily he got his own view of Twink’s uninvited guest. The snake returned our stares. Bill, fast thinking, grabbed the stick I used to hold the window up. He pinned the snake’s head against the ledge.
“Donald Wade,“ Bill said in his best colonel’s commanding voice, “get me a butcher knife.”
With the knife, Bill decapitated the snake, cut it in half and pushed the body parts out on the ground below.
Snake blood dripped down the wall and on to the floor. It smelled worse than rotten turkey eggs.
“Bill, I’ll go catch a skunk if you promise to hold his head while he sprays the room,” I proposed.
Bill ignored my humor.
“There’s wasp spray on the washing machine. That might cut the smell.”
To Bill’s credit, the wasp spray neutralized the snake odor enough for me to sleep.
I woke up now and then. Twink refused to sleep.
As I watched, his eyes never left the window.
“Grrr … grrr … grrr,” he would growl as if to say, “‘Sleep on master. I’ll watch out for both of us.’”
“Twink, the snake’s gone,” I said.
“Grrr … grrr … grrr," he continued to answer.
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