Something happened last night that reminded of similar things over the years.

I hate to kill anything, but will swat a fly or spider or other nuisances if needed. Once, when the boys were little I started out the back door and slithering there at the bottom step was a rattlesnake. Cassell was at work and I knew I had to do something because I was afraid it would bite one of the boys. I quickly abandoned the idea of a hoe because I didn't want the memory of snake guts to haunt me the rest of my life. I eased down the steps and picked up a big flat rock from my flowerbed. It wasn't very heavy but it was big. I got back on the top step, raised the rock over my head and let it fly - missing the snake by a mile. Suffice it to say that it took about four tries, but I wiped the smile off that snake's face and left it there until Cassell got home.

One year, we had those big, green, juicy worms on our tomato plants. I knew I couldn't leave them and the thought of worm guts ...(well, you know) I put on a pair of gloves, picked the worms off one by one, covered them with dirt and smashed the mound of dirt with a big rock. I took out 33 of those suckers but I had nightmares about green worms for so long that I never killed another one.

I never had to deal with a mouse while Cassell was alive but, as always, we'd see a few when the weather started getting cold. I started putting out D-Con and when I saw one somewhere, Rocky or Tim would dispose of it when they got home. The problem was when I'd see a mouse that had been D-Conned, but still had a little life left in him. I hate to see a slow-walking mouse. YUK!! When I saw one of those, I'd trap it under a laundry basket or bucket and wait for one of the boys to get home. Once, there were two baskets, a bucket and a cardboard box all turned upside down on the kitchen floor when Rocky got home. He really laughed at me about that one.

A huge spider went scurrying across the bedroom floor once and I grabbed my hair spray to immobilize it. That worked for a few seconds and it started moving again. Hating to do it, but knowing I had to, I bombarded it with my flop. Boy, was that a mistake. It seems the spider was in the family way and I had baby spiders running all over the bedroom. Between the flop and the hair spray, I got them all - I think!

One night about five years ago I was lying across the bed talking to a friend on the telephone. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something walk out of the master bathroom and amble across the bedroom floor. I raised up and there was a 'possum - yes, a 'possum - casually making his way across the floor toward the door. I made an excuse to get off the telephone, quickly shut the door and put a towel in the crack at the bottom. I knew I couldn't just let the 'possum wander around and I was living alone, so I knew I had to do something. Armed with the toilet bowl brush, I quietly opened the door. I looked in each of the other two bedrooms and didn't see it, so I shut those doors. I went down the hall looking for it and finally found it sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor.

When he saw me, the 'possum started back toward the living room. Dropping the brush, I grabbed a broom, a flashlight and my trusty laundry basket. After searching for awhile, I saw the offending intruder sitting at the corner of the piano baring sharp teeth at me. I climbed on one of the Queen Anne chairs. There I was, one foot on each arm of that chair, in my nightgown, curlers in my hair, a flashlight in one hand, a broom in the other, and a laundry basket on my head! If anyone had seen me like that, I'd have been taken straight to the loony bin. Stepping from one piece of furniture to another, I finally managed to trap the 'possum under the basket and the poor little thing looked pitifully at me through the openings. Just as I was feeling sorry for him, he showed those sharp teeth again. I went next door, introduced myself to my new neighbors, told them the problem and two men came and got the 'possum and released him outside. I heard them laughing as they went home but I later made them a batch of fudge for saving me.

In the wee hours of this morning, I was sitting at the computer playing Scrabble when I noticed something moving about halfway up the corner of the wall. I turned my head and saw, believe it or not, a frog - yes, a frog - slowing making his way up that wall. Just counting his body, he was only about one and a half inches long, but when he stretched his legs to walk, he looked monstrous! At first, I thought I'd leave him alone but the vision of waking up in the middle of the night to find that frog sitting on my nose and scaring the poop out of me made me decide to do something. Smashing the little amphibian wouldn't do (frog guts and nightmares, you know) so I got a can of Black Flag ant spray. My plan was to immobilize him, get him in the dustpan and let him loose outside. By the time I got back with the spray, he was all the way up to the ceiling. I sprayed him good and he landed on the floor with a PLOP! I looked and looked but I couldn't find that frog anywhere. The only thing I could do was to go back to playing Scrabble and I did so for about an hour.

Then, I looked down and there was that little frog, on his back, legs in the air right at my feet. I nudged him with the fly swatter and he didn't move. I never knew ant spray would kill a frog. Or maybe the fall did him in. I scooped him into the dustpan, dumped him in the toilet, slammed down the lid and flushed. I raised the lid slowly and that darn frog was right on top of the water with his eyes bugged out and looking right at me. He still wasn't moving but I was afraid the water would revive him, so I flushed again and he disappeared. I know I'll never lower my big butt on that commode again without wondering if I'm going to be attacked by a frog. When I woke up this morning, there was something red, dried and flaky under one of my fingernails. "FROG BLOOD!" I screamed to myself. Then I remembered that I had gotten a staple in that finger last night and it had bled quite a bit.

Isn't it funny that I had to be pricked in seven different places at the doctor's office so they could get a little blood but I got stuck with a staple and lost a couple of tablespoons? Go figure!

Kathleen McCoy Eldridge©
August 29, 2002
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