This is a special memory from my own childhood.
I 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!