Pancakes for Breakfast and Cobras in the Yard

I was preparing to cook pancakes for breakfast when Mom called. “Guess WHAT? I got a debit card! Now you’re going to have to show me how to use it!”

“Wonderful! I’ll be right up after I finish cooking pancakes for the kids and then cleaning up. Cooking will take about 15 minutes. Cleaning up afterwards about an hour and a half.” Sadly, I was probably underguesstimating the clean up time.

“Uh, I’ll wait for a day when you don’t have the kids.”

“Mom, you do not want to see your great grandchildren?” I laughed, picturing Hurricane Zoe in her spotless house. “ZOE! Put MeeMaw’s freezer bags BACK IN THE DRAWER!”

“I, uh, have to get my hair cut today. When do they go home?”

“Oh, they’re here every day until school starts!” I assured her.

“Even the weekends?” she asked in horror.

“Oh, no, they’re home on the weekends.”

“Well, there you go. Saturday you can show me how to use a debit card, AND I need a cell phone!”

Wow! Could purchasing a computer be far behind? Wuh oh, where’s Zoe?

“Zoe! Get off MeeMaw’s computer!”

“You ARE going to be driving up with me to Kansas City, aren’t you?”

Uuuurgh. The Jeopardy song was playing in my mind. I hadn’t had a single hit on my resumes this summer. They do have me in a slot in the middle school next year. I thought I would have another job by this time, at least a nibble of interest, and I may actually have to work in the school system again this year so we can have luxuries like electricity and food. This trip would be in the first couple weeks of school. I only have five days of vacation time remaining. School administrators DO NOT look kindly upon people in temporary contracts that skip out on them.

On the other hand, my Mom really wants to see my brothers and bring one back with her. She hasn’t driven outside of small Georgia towns for a *very* long time, and recently told me that I didn’t need to drive faster than 50. Ever. And she’ll be driving on freeways.

On the other other hand, my husband is pretty disabled by his arthritis, and there’s no way he can care for my livestock. It takes me about two hours a day. How long would it take him? Oh, who am I kidding, he wouldn’t do it.

“You ARE going to be able to go with me aren’t you?” she repeated plaintively.

“Zoe! Put Papa’s trash BACK INTO the trash can! Um, yeah, yeah, of course I’ll be able to go!” I said, crossing my fingers behind my back, wondering what kind of get rich quick scheme I could engage in that would give me sufficient money to pay for a two-week trip to KCMO in the next four weeks. Particularly when I’m homebound. I’m open to suggestions.

“Oh, good. Now, on that cellphone, I don’t need one to text or take pictures or do any of those sort of things. I just want to be able to call for help in case I have car problems.”

“Yeah, I can help you with that.”

“Oh, and I killed a cobra yesterday!” she dropped into the conversation.

“WHAT?” I stared at the telephone, and told the kids to turn down the television because I was obviously not hearing correctly over the telephone. “Where?”

“It was outside of the tool shed. I wouldn’t even have seen it because it was dark colored but then it coiled and reared straight up in the air and had its hood spread out!”

“Uh, did you call anybody about this?”

“It would take somebody two weeks to come check it out and you know it won’t wait around for their convenience! No, I got my axe out the shed and chopped it up into little snake bits!”

“No, AFTER you killed it. If there are cobras wandering around unsupervised, somebody needs to be notified!”

“There weren’t nothin’ left to identify after I got through makin’ sure it was dead!” Yep. Mom does have a tendency of making sure every square inch of a snake is dead in case it would sneaky regenerate somehow.

“Are you SURE it was a cobra, and not a hog nose snake?”

“It had a damn design on its hood! I didn’t have no flute, and I thought the axe was a good substitute.”

Hunh. Well, guess we’ll never know whether it was just a poor ol’ puff adder/hog nose snake that made the mistake of tryin’ to scare my mom, or whether it was actually somebody’s exotic pet that escaped (or was released) into the wild. This would be primo cobra habitat, all right.

“I called a man about gettin’ a concealed carry permit, too, and I’m waiting for a call back!” Mom continued, even though I hadn’t quite gotten over my shock at the cobra/yard bit.

“What? You’re going to have to take a class!” I warned.

“Well, I don’t think so. Bob didn’t have to take no class! He just paid his money and got his permit.” Bob was my stepdad and her late husband.

“Bob was in the military. He didn’t need one. I don’t have to take a class, either, because I was in the military. The military’s purpose is that they make sure that you can shoot things very well”, I explained.

“Well, I don’t see no sense in carrying an unloaded pistol in the car and with my arthritis trying to load bullets into it while somebody is tryin’ to kill me. I think it needs to be ready to go! I want that permit.”

“Well, just carry it loaded and worry about the legalities later.” Is some cop going to really search a tiny white-headed great grandmother’s vehicle/suitcase for weapons when he pulls her over for going waaaay under the speed limit on the freeway? Oh, I gotta remember to tell her not to carry it in her purse while she’s traveling in case she has to show her driver’s license.

“WHAT? That would be illegal!”

“So is shooting the neighbor’s dogs, Mom!”

“It is?”

Oy.

I finished the breakfast and have yet to clean up the debris. I’m just sitting staring at my computer, completely exhausted by my morning telephone conversation AND breakfast making. And I need to find some way of making money quickly. Perhaps I could pin a sign on SwampMan snoozing in his Lazy Chair and sell him for an art piece.

“Hey, MEEMAW! Watch THIS! Jacob is gonna kick me in the nuts!”

“No I’m not, MeeMaw!”

“JACOB! Quit standing on your brother!”

“Waaaaaaaaaaaah!”

“Dylan knocked Zoe down, MeeMaw!”

“It was an haccident, MeeMaw. I didn’t mean to knock Zoe down. I was trying to knock Jacob down.”

And maybe a little exhausted by keeping the kids in one piece until Mommy gets them this afternoon.

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Paco said,

    Great stuff, Swampy!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’re our modern-day Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

    Linked at PE.

  2. 3

    rbeccah (@rbeccah) said,

    You mean that’s not a normal telephone conversation?

    ??

    • 4

      kcduffy said,

      Sounds normal to me. Swampie, you gotta get out more – there’s LOTS of us having conversations that are eerily similar to that one…

      • 5

        swampie said,

        I guess that’s my problem. I just assume that everybody else has conversations about the weather and how little Johnny passed the FCAT.

  3. 6

    Paco said,

    The FCAT? I was always relieved just to hear that my boys had made it safely across the county line.

  4. 7

    J.M. Heinrichs said,

    I just let the phone ring, on the grounds that, if it was really important, I’d have answered it already.

    Cheers


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