At one point in my life, my family and I lived in backwoods Mississippi. It was outside of Tupelo, in fact – yes, that revered birthplace of The King. I rather loved it there – we had several acres to call our own, a goodly sized house, and about 1.5 neighbors. There was one family that lived on our route, and they had other relatives that lived a footpath away. So yes, nice and isolated in an excellent school district that treated me good, and y’know… was just able to be a kid and have fun.
Some of the amenities of our lot was the lovely trash-burning pile (yee-haw!), isolated road, sandy stream, and treehouse. Okay, it was like.. three planks nailed to a tree; Dad had all of a single day a week off from his fancy job as a McDuffs manager, so didn’t have a lot of time to do things like build treehouses. But between all of these goodies, I had an enviable playhouse set up under my treehouse, complete with patch of carpeting and discarded lounge chairs. I had a large Lego bucket that I kept full of mud from the sandpatch at the end of the drive, and would use the cat food cans that didn’t burn up as little dishes to serve my ‘food’ to friends and siblings.
It was all in all snazz, and I’m totally neglecting to mention the other 3/4 of the space surrounding the house. But then, they’re not so relevant to this story, especially since I hadn’t mastered riding a bike yet. Perhaps it’s because I’m short, or because I’m a lefty and thereby naturally off balance to the rest of the world, I just couldn’t manage to get on a bike and stay on one. Because of this, I’d trundle around on the tricycle with little to no shame; I wanted to roll, so I was gonna roll, yo. And it was on one of those gorgeously perfect summer days that seem to fill childhood retrospectively that I was going up and down the drive (at least, the first eighth of a mile of it), and having a generally good time. I spotted my mom and sister coming down the drive, or perhaps Dad was coming home and getting ready to park up, because I veered off the drive and down to my treehouse. Suddenly, Mom started yelling at me for some reason, though I couldn’t make out why. I slowed as she came running up to me, yelling and pointing at something. After she calmed down a bit, she managed to finally point out the snake that, apparently, I’d run over.
On a tricycle… whups.
Honestly, I don’t think I ever knew what sort of snake it was. It probably wasn’t a rattler, and it probably wasn’t poisonous, considering that it was the same sort of tawny-to-tan colour of the drive rocks. And as my parents never moved it, it was always there, almost out of sight, as a testament to the might of my six year old ass rolling around on a tricycle. I presume that it’s long since decayed now, seeing how that was… eesh… 20+ years ago. But there you go – trike beats snake.
And y’know… happy weekend, if that’s your thing.