Sally Smith: Oral Tradition

By Guest Contributor December 7, 2014 01:05

Another FANtastic Tale of Adventure

By the Rev. Sally Smith

On this sunny Monday morning, my mother was celebrating the lack of the usual fog by hanging out laundry in the backyard of our house on Eucalyptus Avenue in Berkeley, California. While a fresh-smelling sheet swooped and billowed around her I escaped her watchful eye and ran into the forbidden unfenced front yard.

Intent on discovery, I bent low over the gutter by the sidewalk where the street’s namesake trees had filled it with leaves and debris.  Here was a nice little stick for exploring.  Perhaps if I poked around awhile I’d find a treasure or two.

My concentration was complete when I saw a better stick, straight and shiny among the leaves.  I reached for it, and all of a sudden it moved!  What kind of stick was this?  I reached out to touch it again.  Oh no!  It seemed to lift and lunge – to attack, forked tongue flicking out like a tiny spear.  Then it slithered off, until hidden under the debris.

“I’m killed,” I thought as I threw myself down on the side walk, legs flailing, mouth wailing.  “Help!  Mommy!  Help!”

Not Mommy, but Rex, the big black and brown Doberman next door, came running, curious to see what was causing such a commotion. He stooped over to check me out and gave my face a good licking. I began to calm down and was rolling over to stand up when the dog grasped me by the seat of my pants and began trotting toward our backyard.

We met an agitated Mommy running around the side of the house. I guess she’d just missed me or heard me howling. The big dog went to her and gently set me down.  He looked up at her with an expectant expression. It was time for praise.

“Good dog, Rex,” she said, patting him. Bending to pick me up she asked, “My goodness, what’s going on?  Sally, what are you up to this time?”

I grabbed my mother’s hand, saying, “Come on, Mommy.  Come and see.  It bit me, it did!”

With Rex at our heels, I dragged my confused mother around to the front of the house and pointed to the gutter. There lay the dangerous monster, still now and somehow smaller, a little way from where we’d had our encounter.

“There it is.  That long black thing bit me,” I declared.

rev-sally-smith“But honey, that’s just a garter snake.  It’s probably more scared than you are.  It won’t hurt you.”

Clutching Rex for protection, I took another cautious look at the quiet reptile, but remained unconvinced.

(I don’t know if this etiological story is completely true, but it is firmly entrenched in family oral tradition as the reason I love dogs and detest snakes.)

The Rev. Sally Smith lives in Sonora, California.

To read our Tales of Adventure Contest winners’ stories, see the Winter 2014 issue of Friends and Neighbors Magazine, available at these locations and by subscription.


By Guest Contributor December 7, 2014 01:05
Write a comment

No Comments

No Comments Yet

Let me tell you a sad story. There are no comments yet, but yours can be the first!

Write a comment
View comments

Write a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*