Dorothy Harris

No good deed goes easy

I had just pulled in after work when I thought I heard my name being called. I looked around, seeing my neighbor and her daughter through their glass front door, waving like crazy. I started to wave back, but their animated gestures and muffled pleas could mean only one thing- snake!

Their gestures made it clear the snake was on the side of the house and they had no intention of coming out until it was gone. With me safely between them and the offending creature, they cautiously slunk outside to describe it to me. “It’s a light tan color with a black head.” “Why, that’s a Coachwhip,” I replied, thinking they must be mistaken because these aren’t real common. I assumed it was a black racer, but as I walked around the side of the house, sure enough, a nice-sized Coachwhip slithered through the grass towards me.

Cornering the snake, I looked for something to coax it into. “Can I borrow this trash can,” I asked. “You can keep it, just make sure that snake is gone,” they insisted. My daughter and I loaded up the unwanted critter and headed to relocate it somewhere appropriate. On the way, we lost the trash can lid, but managed to keep the snake until we were able to stop and back track for the lid. By this point, the snake was losing its good disposition.

Then, as we arrived at the relocation site, the sky opened up. Standing in the downpour, I struggled to dump the snake from the giant trash can. Finally it slithered out, took one look at me and immediately zipped off, heading for the shelter of our truck. As it slipped underneath, my jaw dropped as I watched it look back once, then work itself up into the undercarriage. “Oh crap,” I muttered, knowing Mr. Harris would not appreciate snake meeting fan belt. Jumping back into the vehicle, I tried to figure out what to do about our stowaway.

At home, I popped the hood and was delighted to see him resting on top of the air filter housing. My neighbor, watching through the blinds, put two and two together, and not surprisingly, did not share my joy.

Mr. Harris arrived just in time to see Mr. Snake slip back down into the engine compartment. I could tell he was delighted to come home after a hard day’s work, only to play a rousing game of “chase the snake.”

As he climbed under the truck, I tried to encourage Mr. Snake out of the engine compartment with a broom stick. Unfortunately, as soon as it would pop out underneath, it would see Mr. Harris and slither back up into the undercarriage. It went on like this a bit, until I was able to grab the very tip of its tail.

As I kept my death grip, Mr. Harris played grab the snake while it attempted to bite him continuously. Finally he grabbed a loop of body and when it struck his other hand, gloved with leather, we had him.

Mr. Harris kept his hold on the business end while I worked the remaining length of body from the under carriage. After posing for photos, Mr. Coachwhip went into a pillowcase, our favored snake transporting container, and we took off again for the scrubby woods. With a final successful relocation, the neighborhood is safe once again thanks to the dedicated, if not comical efforts, of Harris & Co.