Last night, after all the trick-or-treaters had come and gone, Mom and Dad were sitting back, relaxing, watching a little tv. Mom had left the door open so we could play in the garage while the ghosts and goblins came around. So late into the night, Dad looked in to check on us and maybe wrangle us in, which leads me to this week's Thursday Thirteen...
1. We had a frost warning the other night, so Dad had brought all our potted plants in from the deck, front porch and back yard.
2. When he looked out to check on us, only Huggy Bear and Maggie were in the garage.
3. They were huddled around one of the bigger plants. The leaves and branches hang down to the ground.
4. Dad thought they were getting some leaves, or maybe the string of a folding camp chair in a bag.
5. But when Dad moved the chair, the string was still there -- and it was black with yellow bands.
6. It wasn't a string at all. It was an S-N-A-K-E! (About as big around as a pencil and maybe six to eight inches long.)
7. Dad scooped up Maggie and slid her inside, shutting the door behind her. Then grabbed Huggy Bear (twice, he wiggled out of Dad's hands the first time). When he went to put HB in, Maggie flew back out into the garage and straight to the snake. Maggie was ejected again (this time he used Maggie to block HB coming out).
8. Dad had Mom check for Josie and me to make sure we were inside and not hiding in the garage somewhere. (At this point, Mom didn't know what was going on.)
9. When the coast was clear Dad opened the big door and, using the broom, invited the snake to go explore somewhere else. The snake headed out into the side yard toward the neighbor's house. (Dad was torn between his respect for all creatures and the sanctity of his house, and left the snake with the warning that next time he gets the shovel instead of the broom.)
10. When Dad came in and told Mom it gave her the heebie-jeebies (although I looked hard and couldn't see any heebies or jeebies).
11. To give Mom peace of mind Dad went back into the garage (had to fight HB and Maggie back again) and swept out the garage, inspected plants, shook out sheets and comforters lying around to check for a nest or other freeloaders. (The sheets and comforters are to cover the storage stuff in the garage, and for us to nap on -- we're not slobs, really, we're not.)
12. Dad found nothing, but cleaned out some leaves and mulch from some of the plants to make sure everything was clear.
13. Mom says no more garage time for us for a while. She's afraid the snake could have come inside, but we've assured her that we'd hunt it for her and protect her if it tried to get sneaky.
[Update: Dad thinks it is a non-venomous Eastern King Snake. He found pictures of what it kinda looked like, and pictures of what it might grow into. Mom saw these and said, "YIKES! That might eat kittens!" But Dad assured her that it wouldn't.]