At the end of the day, after figuring out all the world’s problems and their obvious solutions, when I started to tire of my daydreams, a wonderful thing happened; my much older brothers would get home from school. The house would get so lively and interesting. This was my typical day at age four.

Mark and Chris’s room was a go to place to hang out in as it had bunk beds to play on and one very large boa constrictor living in a home-made plywood and wire screen cage. I’m not sure what their opinions of a little squirt like me hanging out there were but the door was never locked. Mom was afraid that the snake would get out and eat me, causing Mark, the owner of said snake, to have to give constant assurances that “no, mom, it can’t get out”, to which she would give a Marge Simpson “Hmmm” and walk away. Upon entering the room one day, I saw a bunch of Mark’s friends huddled around the cage. I wiggled my snake-food sized self between the group and right up to the cage. It was feeding day. Mark had bought a mouse from OK Hatchery and invited his friends. My presence in the front row went fairly unnoticed until, at mid-mouse-swallowing, I threw up all over the snake. The crowd cried a collective “eew!”

Some weeks later, I heard a very concerned, yet hushed scuttlebutt coming from their room. I strode in, always one wanting to see what’s up. “Oh good!” “You’re here!” they exclaimed. Now, this was the first time that I’d gotten such a warm welcome into their room, but I figured it was about time. “The latch on the cage is undone and the snake is missing” they exclaimed. “We have to find it before mom finds out”.  This was easier said than done as our house was abundantly bursting at the seams with stuff. Eventually, the head authority had to be notified. The head authority was not at all happy about this development. The snake was eventually found but I don’t remember it remaining a part of the household much after that.

Mark, Chris and
Snake Food in the Background
Mark, Chris, Steve, Me and Mom in her flower outfit of the late 1960’s

Though the large snake was gone, the local chapter of “The United Snakes of America” lived on, complete with code of conduct and bylaws, all written in Crayon. Incidents of a reptilian nature remained at bay until, while at the dentist office, a tiny ringsnake that Mark had forgotten about, slithered out of his pocket, sending the dental hygienist out of the room screaming.