Monday, June 1, 2009

Call me narrowminded, but ferrets are as far as I can go

The Scientist tells us that geckos (which I thought was spelled with a double-k) have hit Philadelphia. Interesting though they undoubtedly are, they're not cuddly and I want cuddly animals around me.

I never liked snakes. Family legend has it that my grandparents moved back to Poland, Ohio, after settling in Micanopy, Florida, because Grandma Lydia didn't like snakes. I had a grudge against snakes because when I was eight and away at camp, I was startled by a snake, fell, got a bad gash, and got stitches instead of a picnic; I also found my all-time favorite rock, which got stolen years later, which just goes to show.

When my daughter Lydia was a baby I decided that I didn't want her to be, you know, a girl about snakes (like me). Her room had big posters of snakes, and I got inflatable snakes, and carved wooden articulated snakes*, and best of all, at the Boston's Institute for Women's Work** I found a stuffed crocheted multicolor snake to wrap around baby Lydia's crib bars. Its head leered at her as she slept.

When we visited our friends Ed and Julie, Lydia stayed in his daughter Liz's room, along with Slither the Snake. Lyd really liked Slither. Lyd liked all snakes. When we went to Star Island every summer, she'd head off to the marine lab just to meet the new snakes. I'd find her down there between organized activities, maybe with a green snake wrapped along her arm. It's refreshing to learn that something you planned about your child actually worked.

I finally got off the bus when she came home from a seventh grade weekend in the Catskills. Someone had had a boa constrictor and Lydia brought home a photograph of herself with it wrapped around her shoulders, going up the back of her head through her hair and coming down in front inside her glasses. I don't know where that photo is and I don't want to know. I'd rather deal with gekkos.

*To prove that no good idea goes unpunished, people seeing these snakes assumed that I really liked them, and gave me more snaky things.
**It closed long ago but was on Boylston Street diagonally opposite the Public Garden.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I tell this story, I unfailingly add that there is one thing you did not deliberately inure me to: bugs. You failed to deliberately inure me to bugs because you thought I would be automatically inured to bugs, because you don't mind bugs at all. As a result, I am totally fine with snakes, but bugs freak me out beyond words.