The S Word

Grandma Kc wrote this on July 11th, 2014 28 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

Kc age 6 kindergarten photoI don’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid of them. Nowadays my family love me and will warn me when to close my eyes if there is one in a show or movie and they will tell me when it is safe to open them again. They understand that I don’t touch the page in a magazine or book if there is a picture of one of them. They know that I don’t even like the word so we refer to them as “S words”.

This is the story of when they truly became my worst fear.

I was probably about six years old and I remember that I used to love to go out in the garden and pick strawberries or corn on the cob but instead of going bare foot I would always put on my rain boots to go out in the garden. There was also a section of sidewalk on our street where the grass was high on both sides. I had seen them on the sidewalk there before. I never walked down that section of sidewalk, I ran just as fast as I could.

That fall we went to the Hillsdale County Fair! I loved going to the fair and riding all the rides and eating cotton candy. I remember being dragged through the 4H building by my mother to see the animals, the exhibits and all the contest entries. Boring! I wanted to go on the Ferris wheel or the Tilt-o-Whirl. I was a kid then.

That evening we had gone through the House of Mirrors, another one of my fair favorites, and we were waiting for the fireworks display to begin. I don’t know how I let my Dad talk me into going in the Reptile House. I think he thought he could lessen my fears. I can see those boas in my mind’s eye wrapped around what looked like branches. I asked Daddy why they stayed up there and he explained that the bright heat lights they had focused on them made them very content to stay right where they were.

I was OK with that answer until sometime in the middle of that night. I awoke to the sound of loud thunder. The county was hit by a terrible lightning storm and the power went out. Since Daddy worked for the power company, it meant he had to go out, too. That did not alleviate my fears. While my sister slept, I sat cross-legged in the middle of our bed for the rest of the night. Even though our bedroom was on the second floor – and 7 miles from the fairgrounds –, I was convinced that those snakes were all on their way to get me. I would not get out of bed. I knew they were coming.

I have never gotten over this fear and I am OK with that! Daddy tried!
Who knew we would have a storm!

28 thoughts on “The S Word

  1. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    Another thing we have in common – fear of snakes. I can say the word, but everyone in my family knows I go in the opposite direction and change the channel if one is on the screen. Every once in a while I get surprised by a small garden snake, but you can be assured I have shoes or boots on and get the heck out of there. :-) In high school, my daughter took a class in Herpetology, and she is our go-to-person if there is one around the farm. She finds them interesting. I find them frightening.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      My (step)Mom has a both beat! She and Daddy used to have this house outside of town with this huge front yard that she would mow using a big tractor mower. She would do it in her bathing suit top and shorts with cowboy boots and a gun and holster! She would shoot them when she mowed! There are pictures!

      Oddly while I am deathly afraid of them I have really come to like the lizards that live out on the fence. Weird, huh?

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am just a big coward. Fortunately, it is not genetic and Amara has not inherited it. Neither did her Mom.

      Reply
  2. Joy @ Yesterfood

    I think that if you’re going to have a phobia, that fear of snakes and other such creepy-crawlies is a pretty good one to have. It’s a survival instinct! You would have lasted longer than the rest of us way back when we all started. ;) The rest of us would have been, “Oh, look! What is this?” and gotten bitten. You would have yelled, “RUN!” :D

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Maybe that was it but I’m finding I’m not alone. I also think it is why Ireland appeals to me so – they supposedly have no snakes at all!

      Reply
  3. Kristi

    We definitely have different childhood memories of snakes! My dad had pet snakes, and he would bring them into my school class every year and teach the class all about them.

    Though I don’t mind snakes, I try to avoid venomous ones. Spiders, however, give me the heebie-jeebies.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I think I read one of your posts – or part of it – about your Dad and kind of freaked me out! Household spiders don’t bother me much but I would certainly be very hesitant to hold a big tarantula! The one and only time I was in DC one of the museums had a live display and you could hold them – I did not! But I did watch others hold them which I could not have done with your Dad!

      Reply
  4. Joyce

    Oh yes I hate them too. Even the occasional tiny garden one I see in the yard freaks me out. I think I would have worried about a mass escape the same way you did – you little cutie, you!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I used to hate it Michigan when you would see one flattened in the road, it was just a reminder that they were out there! I sometimes thing those little garden ones frightened me the most! The could sneak up on you out of nowhere! I do take my phobias seriously, don’t I?

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Never the reptile house! I remember one time in high school my boyfriend talked me into going in there. He was sure if I just went in I would get over it. I flew out there in about 20 seconds and I bet it was an hour before my heart rate got back to normal. He was very nice about it but he really didn’t get it.

      Reply
  5. KImberly

    Snakes don’t really scare me, or spiders either really, but I have do have an awful startle reflex, if it is a bunny- I don’t like surprises. Don’t get me wrong, I have no real desire to mess with a snake. I do love me some mudpuppies though.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Living where you do and with your creek and everything it is probably good that you don’t have my fear. I think I’m going to pass on the mudpuppies, too. I wasn’t even sure what they were but after Googling I don’t think I like them either. What is really odd is that I have really come to love the fence lizards that live in the backyard. But then they are less than 6 inches and definitely way more afraid of me than I am of them. Although I have gotten them pretty comfortable with me in the yard and they are really fun to photograph!

      Reply
  6. An Enchanted Cottage

    Oh, gosh, this post brought memories of my mom to mind!!! My mom had a horrific fear of snakes – and at the same time, a fascination of them. If she were to see one on the loose, she would be in sheer panic. But I remember one time driving past a local pet shop with her and she asked if we could stop. She was very curious about snakes, and she felt safe peering at the snakes through the aquarium glass. Anyhow, thanks for your awesome story (as all of yours are!) and the memories of my mom that came along with reading it!!!

    Donna

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am glad it brought back some good memories for you! Unlike your Mom when it comes to the pet store I will avoid that section completely. When we had a fish tank I would make Jenna go ahead to make sure the way to the fish tanks was safe! Nope, just don’t want to see them at all.

      Reply
  7. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    I can just imagine little Kc wide-eyed and worried. Poor you. Yes, snakes are ICKY! I don’t “like” them and really don’t want to be around them, but I’m not deathly afraid of them. It’s probably a good thing you had a daughter and a granddaughter, not a boy who might beg and plead for a pet snake.

    I’m not sure what I’m deathly afraid of… though I do hate the scorpions in the desert. Gah!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      The only thing good about winter in Michigan – they hibernate! I think that TV shows and movies should have a special “S” rating so the people like me are warned in advance! And people should never be allowed to post them on Facebook – as someone just did! Not going back for days I swear!

      Reply
  8. imaddy

    My wife has a fear of them too. She won’t look in magazines, pictures or even fake ones that the kids play with. Once we were on a hike with a friend and she thought she saw/heard a snake, she then jumped on me almost knock us over the edge and then ran all the way back to the car and sat on top of the SUV waiting for us to come with the key for the SUV.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I would have been right there with your wife! It is probably the biggest reason I hate camping! Even if you take a camper you do have to leave it at some point!

      Reply
  9. Launna

    Kc, I share your fear of them.. my sister owns three, at on point she and I lived together for 2 years and she had one snake. I never wanted to see it, it stayed in her room… somehow he got out and she found him before I knew he was out but ohh… that made me more nervous. I don’t like snakes, we are in good company Indiana Jones doesn’t like them either, lol :)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I don’t know how you lived there Launna! I am sure I couldn’t do it. I knew someone a few years ago who kept a pet boa and I could not step foot in her place let alone sleep there! As for Indian Jones for reasons that should be very obvious I have never seen the movie and never will!

      Reply
  10. Sandy Siegel

    What a frightening experience for you at the tender age of 6! I can imagine how scared you must have been all alone in your room. I’ve always had a fear of snakes and did my best to avoid places where they might be hanging out. I’ve had a few encounters over the years and I’m sure my screams scared them more than they scared me.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Avoiding them isn’t always easy where you live, especially out in your woods. You really have to find me a picture of Mom mowing the lawn!

      Reply
      1. Sandy Siegel

        Unfortunately I don’t think there is any photographic evidence of Dead Eye Donna on her trusty lawn tractor with her revolver strapped to her leg. We both know it’s true though!!

        Reply
        1. Grandma Kc Post author

          I can’t believe Daddy never took any pictures of that! She must have destroyed the evidence! Pssst… we aren’t the only ones who know!

          Reply

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