Thursday, May 16, 2013

Oscar Has a Plus One

My family has a habit of calling every black rat snake they run across on our farm, be it in our garage, the attic, or the backyard by the name of Oscar. The original Oscar was named by my uncle after he got done screaming like a teenager at a One Direction concert, that is. The snake had crawled over the door frame that led from the garage to the house and wigged my uncle slam out. He had to be convinced that there were very good reasons to keep said black rat snake around. That took some doing, let me tell you.

Less mice and rats and general pest species that carry all manner of diseases around the house was one of the selling points. But, I'm fairly sure that knowing the black rat snake would establish a territory and thereby keep the other more venomous relatives away was probably the thing that finally convinced the uncle to leave Oscar alone. Well, that and bestowing upon him a name. That seemed to give the guy personality and suddenly the uncle was no longer so keen on killing him.

Over the years, the whole family has gotten used to "Oscar" and they often now come running, but rather than to scream and ask me to get rid of it, they are more interested in pointimg "him" out so I can see him whenever they run across him. I have kept it pretty close to the vest that there was probably more than one Oscar around judging by the variation in size and markings on the snakes they were finding. So far, that has been my little secret. At least until today.

This morning, my mother came rushing in from the yard to tell me Oscar had been spotted breakfasting in the rose garden. "Come quick and see." Sure enough, there Oscar was, all lumpy and obviously well fed. But, here's the clincher. While we were standing there watching him, Oscar's plus one decided to make an appearance and crawled right across the yard beside us. So much for stealth.

The mother wanted to know what this meant for her birds, and we had to have the whole snake has to eat conversation. But, otherwise she didn't seem too upset by the news. I am stoked that Oscar has a "girlfriend" and various other family members around. Others might not be so pleased. Since the cat's already out of the bag, fair warning Uncle. You might want to break out the girly voice and get it ready for the next run in. Luckily for Oscar and his friends, they can't hear you screaming. So go ahead and do your worst. It's all good.

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