Thursday, May 25, 2006

Live Snakes, Next Exit

On the outskirts of my hometown near the Brazos River (Brazos meaning the arms of God -- in this case, God's arms are full of old tires, tree limbs, and man-sized catfish), there is a sign that tells you to exit if you want to see snakes. Home for Christmas about five years ago, my mother and I visited the Brazos River Snake Farm. Under any other circumstances, I would have driven by it, but I was on a mission for Christmas presents and wanted to see what they had to offer. At the very least they might have t-shirts, and I felt certain that those would make dandy gifts to bring joy to many. If you've been reading my blog, you know my mother's great love for snakes. I, however, run in fear at the slightest sound of a rattle.

After you passed the stuffed rattler that jumped out at you as a greeting by the door (not a good moment for me -- I jumped and clutched my mother in a rare moment of absolute terror). She couldn't stop laughing and we proceeded inside where nothing else would prove reassuring either. Big cardboard boxes were upside down with signs that said, Caution! These boxes, anchored down by rocks, appeared to be moving. A big old boy named Garland with a sterling silver rattle around his neck said nifty things like, That one in the snake is a mean son of a bitch. If he gets out, I'm running. Cool, I thought, as the mean son of a bitch hit the glass over and over again. If you want to see something really scary, go outside and look at the pits. He offered us free food for the pigs outside (the babies they used to feed the pythons) and a view of large ravines full of snakes. I passed. My mother went outside (being far braver) and Garland said, You're actually in more danger in here. There's more snakes inside, you just can't see them. Still, I stayed and didn't touch anything or even breathe when I could avoid it. The room grew silent except for the constant rattling sounds until I couldn't hear anything except my mother's voice outside, telling me she wouldn't be much longer.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

“The wound, which was reopened, is bleeding.” St. Padre Pio

Gummy Worm Punch

Freeze gummy worms into ice cubes (these will float around in the punch)
Green Kool-Aid base
Vodka (a few shots depending on how much you want to drink)
Hang a few stray gummy worms outside the bowl for decoration

Benedictions and Maledictions

Hank Williams on the Night Shift in Branson

His show over, he dishes popcorn,
dispenses Cokes. He’s the 2 o’clock
legend, Elvis gets the night. This Hank
has to be at least seventy, already forty-one
years luckier than the man he impersonates.
Or maybe not -- the real Hank, drunk,
heartsick, riding in the back of a car
at night -- he didn’t have to serve food
and he sounded like no one but himself.


cindy said...


wow, Scary! Snakes are like most men -- beware at all times. Especially the poisonous varieties!


Wichita-Lineman said...

Having just bought and watched the Hank documentary "Honkey Tonk Blues" last week, it's was a given I'd love this poem.

I liked the snake story. For some reason it reminded me of the story Daniel Mueller read at the Orchid reading. That one was more snake fascination though. Never was able to find that story. Almost forgot the piece you read, one of the greatest first sentences ever!!!!

paul said...

Little Queen,

I've seen more than enough snakes for one lifetimes. I suppose it's a smart thing they give me the willies and always have. And for you, too, sounds like. Great picture! And poem!

R2 C2

Cheri said...

I saw a Tony Soprano T-shirt at DEB at Macomb Mall and thought of you. I would have bought it but I didn't have any money (yay for college!) and figured I'd rather tell you about it instead. =D

John said...

Dear Michelle,

Have you ever modeled for the Catholic church? This would make for a great recruiting poster, no question. Cheers! Can't wait to have a drink with you!

JR's Thumbprints said...


I wouldn't mind having a pet snake; however, my pet rats in the living room might feel a bit uncomfortable. Your Hank poem made me reflect on how he died. Oh, and man-sized catfish!--More cats to come. --Jim

Bonnie said...

Beautiful as always, dear. Gorgeous!

Tom said...

My grandmother always warned me of snakes around her home in So. Ca. King snakes and rattlers. She also, loved em. ' they keep away the critters ', she would say. All I know is, they both rattle, and I can't tell one from the other.,,,,,Hope the shiner is healed, and take care of that leg. That's quite a pair you have.


N. said...


would kill for them legs, yes. You are beautiful woman and friend!

cindy said...


Shiner? I hope some heartless bastard didn't hit you, surely? If so, call the hotline right away and you can always stay at my place!

Cindy, always there for you when the men suck -- which is usually (as we all know all too well)