Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Snake in the Garden

Yesterday found youssef, the girls and I on a walk. We took the girls over to see Abdullah the farmer that lives next door. They love him and I like it that he is a farmer, I feel like it somehow connects them to the essence of their grandpa in America.  So we visited Abdullah and he showed us a huge Garah Hamra - red squash, still growing on the vine. Sophia, bless her little heart, fell on top of it almost fracturing it from the vine, he was cool about it but I could tell he was a little freaked out, as in checked vine damage three times to make sure. I saw that she had in fact bent the vine, Youssef couldn't see so just kept asking and Abdullah just kept insisting there was no damage. I mean, what is he going to do say "heck yeah the weight of that bald headed toddler just broke my squash from the vine about two seconds after I just told ya'll it wasn't ready"? No... but that would be their grandfather's reaction! I just swooped her up and declared the daily visit to Abdullah as over. Poor clumsy Sophie girl! So sweet and precious she is. So then we meandered down the path to the ocean. Once we passed our neighbors returning from somewhere or another and were enough out of ear shot we sang songs, from Sesame Street, as well as clapped hands and made our Moroccan drumming song sounds. We made our way back up the hill towards the house, avoiding cow poop and imitating sheep and donkey sounds. I emptied Mae's pockets of the snails Abdullah had put in there for her. She was a little pissed but I distracted her to get away with it.

We saw Abdulluah's cousin Abdullah that lives on the other side of us and greeted and chatted and then made our way back onto our homestead. We were contemplating if the gravel area that we built out from the house was too much of an obstruction to those that use the path and saying, yes, probably and that is kind of jerky of us and let's go ahead and reduce that corner...and in this contemplation is when I saw it, a really big snake. It was lying at the foot of the fence facing towards the wall to the inside yard of the house. I told Youssef and he had JUST called over the other Abdullah to discuss the fence (getting confused about which Abdullah is which - welcome to my life). That Abdullah called his son and he showed up with a pitchfork and between the pitchfork and the rock, the snake was dead within a minute. Then it was paraded around the little settlement on the pitchfork, doors being knocked on, wives being told to come out and see it, all kinds of words being exchanged about snakes and so on and so forth.

Later when Youssef asked me, "so how did you see it?" I took the opportunity to up my street cred a bit by reminding him that I grew up in the American South and that I had already told him that I can spot a gator a mile away and I guess it is just in my blood. (he wasn't convinced but couldn't really argue with me as I was the one that saw it) I love moments like that! And without further ado...

 This has brought up a weird issue for me though...The snake wasn't poisonous...and they KILLED that thing...quick. Youssef was like "well - what are you going to do, leave a snake like that where your children play?". I agree, the thought of that sounds weird to me also BUT then I remembered back to a couple of summers ago down in South Ga when I was making my way to the field and came upon a HUGE snake. Within seconds my cousins, father and uncle were all there. They were there with loaded guns too...Yikes. Anyways, then the strangest thing happened, they just moved that snake on out of the way and everyone returned to their normal business. My aunt explained to me after that "we don't kill snakes that aren't poisonous, we let them be". When I explained this to Youssef he, of course, thought me to be - you know- trying to open a nature reserve or something like this...and that is fine...he didn't grow up around snakes, he doesn't really know. My thing is though...Did those guys kill that snake for our benefit? Would they have moved it right along if it had been in front of their house? Do snakes get killed - period - end of story whether or not they are poisonous around here? Sounds like I need to have a talk (translated of course) with one of the Abdullahs on this matter.

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