Seniors & Aging

Pam Stone | Don’t jinx it!

It has happened so many times that you would think by now, I’d have learned my lesson. However, I seem to willingly become a magnet for becoming jinxed.

But only when I open my mouth.

“Gosh,” I’ll think, turning the key to hear my truck leap to life, “for a beater, this sucker just keeps on running...”

Don’t say it...

“And you’d think that pushing 200,000 miles, surely the transmission would be on its way out.”

Shut up.

Then aloud, to Paul, during a a muted commercial for a car dealership, “As much as I’d love a new truck, that old Dodge still runs great.”

SHUT UP!!

And like clockwork, the following morning, as I prepare to head out to the feed store for a load of hay and turn the key...

Nothin’. Nada. Crickets.

That was a couple of months ago but this week, I’ve done it twice. Three days ago on my walk to the barn to muck out and feed, I passed beneath a dogwood that only last year had grabbed my attention because I had noticed one limb was bowing down from weight and was distinctly heavy and ... black.

Snake! Above my head! Snaaaaake!

So what did I do? Why, after chores I returned to the house for breakfast and after chiding Paul for leaving every kitchen cabinet open (seriously, if he were Native American his name would be ‘Can’t Close Doors’) as he prepared a smoothie, I said brightly, before realizing my dreadful, potential, fate, “You know something? I haven’t seen a snake yet all year!”

If only I could harness my power for good because that very evening, children, I kid you not, I was leading Forrest into his stall for dinner and just caught glimpse of the long, undulating, tail-end of a King snake disappearing into the pile of hay I had just dumped in the corner.

SNAKE! In Forrest’s dinner! Snaaaake!

I did what any rational, no-nonsense woman would do: I screamed like a little girl and ran to the house, pulled his martini out of his hand and dragged ‘Can’t Close Doors’ into the barn and armed him with a pitchfork. Ducking outside the stall, I instructed, “Don’t kill him, they’re good snakes, just see if you can wind him around the pitchfork and we’ll put him in the woods.”

Do you have any idea the toe-curling suspense of carefully digging through a haystack, just knowing the next dig is going to result in a giant snake flying toward you, like the joke ones that pop out of cans?

“Are you sure it was a King snake?” Paul asked, picking his way through the pile with distaste.

“Well, I’m not sure, but I think so.”

“So not a copperhead?”

“Don’t think so, but it’s getting dark, so I didn’t get a good look.”

“Any distinguishing characteristics?”

“For Pete’s sake,” I replied, exasperated, “this isn’t a police line-up! All I know is that I was leading Forrest into the stall and I saw about a foot of something very dark moving very fast right into that hay pile.”

In the end, and truth be told, rather deflated, we found nothing in the hay pile. Remembering that black snakes are great climbers, of course I had to look up into the barn rafters and every tree limb as I walked back to the house.

And yesterday? What did I have to blab to Paul after vacuuming up dust bunnies the size of tumbleweeds and made up of cat fur?

“You know, as much as I miss all the kitties we’ve had over the years and lost, it is nice to be down to only three, if for no other reason that it’s easier to keep the house clean...”

Cue the stray cat.

If you didn’t know I was talking about a kitty, you’d think I was describing a meth-head: grayish hair, yellow eyes, scabby. And to cap it off, mites in his ears and when he turned around, most decidedly an intact male.

Oh, and a very cute pink nose and quite affectionate.

“What’s he want, 10 bucks?” Paul said, looking at him over his coffee cup, through the front window, as ‘Tom’ yowled plaintively for something to eat.

Or to have sex with.

“Don’t fall for the old story that he’s run out of gas on the way to taking his mother to the hospital and just needs enough to put a few bucks in the tank,” he added.

“Leave the cats in and I’ll try to crate him up and take him to Dr. Jenny,” I sighed, cringing at the thought of yet another vet bill.

Well, I began to think, at least it’s not a dog...

Shut up! Shut UP!!!

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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