|Dad on a river, probably the Niangua. |
My favorite picture of him
Recently, I read an article, here, that reminded me of him, about a young man bitten by a copperhead. We’ve had torrential rain and devastating flooding, all over MO, and have been reminded to watch for relocated snakes, but of course we don't think about it.
Snakes are a part of rural life (city too). As I’ve mentioned previously, I happen to like snakes. I think they’re cool. I don’t tell people that information much or there is a big possibility I will lose friends. Snakes are not on my fear list, but if at this moment there is sweat forming on your brow and your heart is racing, then perhaps you have a snake phobia. If so, then you should not click on the links in this post, and you should not travel with me down the rural memory road.
I asked my dad once about how many snake bites he’d received in his life. His eyes twinkled when he grinned and said, “Oh I don’t know, Teresa, too many to remember.” (He almost always said my name in sentences, even if I was the only one there.)
I told him I remembered once when he’d reached inside a feed bin (made I think out of a refrigerator on its back or maybe an old freezer) and he came out with a snake bite. His hand looked pretty bad, swollen and somewhat bruised after that. He said it was a copperhead that had bitten him. Even though he was bitten a few times in life, it never changed my mind about snakes. Knowing the way he felt about doctors and hospitals, I don’t remember him visiting a doctor, either.When I was a kid, I remember dad owning a snake bite kit, something like this found on Ebay. The cylinder thingy had a blade inside to (maybe?) cut the bite open. After that the suction cup, one half of the cylinder, would be used to suck out the venom.
John Miller a “snake expert” said in the aforementioned article, in the Springfield News-Leader, that in modern day there is no cutting the bite area or sucking out the venom (paraphrased). You just need to get to the hospital as soon as possible and keep the bite below your heart (edited). He said there is no reason to take the slain snake to the doctor for show-and-tell since the modern anti-venoms are great.
Oops, I might have taken a brown recluse, live spider, in a brown paper bag to the doctor’s office when I was bitten. I felt the need for show-and-tell, to prove it was what I said it was because I knew they’d say something like “I doubt if it was a brown recluse.” And they did! And...I was ready to point to the brown paper bag, I’d placed on the counter in the room, with the spider inside (yes, it was in a jar, but they didn’t know that).
|Dad as a young man, holding a snake!|
My dad always respected wildlife and nature and more than that he loved it. When a hawk that he was nursing back to health landed on his arm and dug his talons in flesh, Dad said, “He didn’t do it on purpose.” Dad always said that about snakes. They don’t seek out people to bite them. We intrude or scare them. He also said that about spiders, how they have their place in the world and that some...are...beautiful. Of course, I tuned most of that information out because spiders and I go way back and it's not a pretty story.