One of the pitfalls of the outdoor lifestyle, especially as it gets warmer here in The Deep South, is the presence of potentially dangerous animals. The gators, for whatever reason, don’t really phase me. In fact, they fascinate me. But the snakes, oh, the snakes. Copperheads and cottonmouths, namely. They just blend right in.
A week ago Saturday, I was out on the course playing 18 at sunset. I played the back 9 first and then played holes 1, 2, and 3. As I drove from 3 green to 4 tee, something grabbed my attention. Just on the cart path, the end of a snake’s tail peeked out at me. Just off the cart path, the remainder of the rather thick, venomous snake blended right in.
I’m not a big fan of horsing around with snakes, but something inside of me told me I needed to handle the situation. The snake was nestled right around a bend, right where walkers might walk, camouflaged completely. I couldn’t take the chance that another person might encounter it. At a minimum, I needed to get this joker back into the woods just to my left. So I grabbed a log, some sticks, and some pine combs, but instead of me encouraging the snake to wiggle back into the woods, I just pissed it off. It started striking at me, so I had to punt and go to plan B.
I hopped in my cart, retracing my steps back to the clubhouse so that if any other players were nearby, I could warn them. Back at the clubhouse, I found a couple of guys who were informally trained aka not terrified of snakes, and they came and helped me out.
Long story short, the situation got handled, I finished my round, and I dreamed of snakes for the next three nights (only joking). And then, remarkably, this happened…
When I was 23 years old, I found myself looking for a furry companion who, how shall I say it, shared the same zest for life as me. After careful consideration, I got Becks, a newborn Jack Russell terrier, who ate zest for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (She also ate everyone else’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I digress.)
From the start, she was my spirit animal. She loved life, and she craved freedom. She also drove me nuts, but in a I wouldn’t have it any other way kind of way. She didn’t listen to a damn thing. From Day 1, she was on her own mission, a mission that was bred deep inside of her, and I quietly admired that.
She listened so little that we had to put an electric fence in the yard, but that didn’t matter to her. I keenly remember one day (or a thousand days) where she bolted down the street, getting shocked the entire way. She’d be gone for 15 or 20 minutes, and then she’d return home, neck bright red, but happy as a clam.
For the past however many years, I’ve told people that when it’s her time, she will inevitably die at the hands of another animal, likely a snake, which makes this last bit all the more funny (don’t worry, she didn’t die).
Since the move to Mississippi, Becks has fought raccoons, armadillos, and God knows what. A couple of weeks ago, she fought, well, God knows what.
While we were in South Florida, she stayed at The Farm, where freedom reigns supreme. When we returned and she came home, she was the same old Becks, but with a big grapefruit on one side. I didn’t think anything of it. I never do with her. She’s lived nine lives plus some. But a couple of days later, the grapefruit burst, so Christy took her to the vet.
I wish I had been there when the vet examined her and said, She has been bit by something. Likely a non-venomous snake. Three times. But she’s fine. I can see it happening. The snake bites. Becks keeps at it. The snake bites. Becks keeps at it. The snake bites. Becks finally says screw this and walks away.
I called my parents. They started cracking up. I called my sister. She started howling. I’m giggling just thinking about it. Ol’ Becks. Nearly 16 years old. I’ve got her living to at least 20, easy. She’s just got that zest for life.
Have a great week.-Benj
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