Summertime was a time to be free from shoes, homework, and schedules when I was a little girl. My older sister and I would spend as much time outdoors as we could. We had a beautiful property to run and play on as much as our hearts desired.
When it got too hot, we would go into the woods surrounding our home and play in a cool, shady spot. We would play house in the dirt, pretending to bake pies and cakes. We always had a grand time. It saddens me that today’s children will never experience such a simple activity. It made us better human beings by allowing us to be more appreciative of the little things that life can offer.
Along with the fun of being outside all day, there were also learning experiences. The occasional wasp sting would undoubtedly slow our fun down. A lightning storm would send us running for cover as well. But the most fun-busting thing of all was the unwanted guests that would cross our paths.
I have loved animals all my life. But when I was little, I encountered a big Ground Hog standing up on his hind legs, which scared the beans out of me. This happened to me several times one summer. My Mama & Daddy finally made me realize that if I just shouted loudly, I could scare the Mr. Ground Hog away. I still was not amused when he made his appearance.
Our mailbox was down the mountain, at the end of our long, gravel driveway. It was a little steep walking down and even steeper climbing back up. The walk provided some good exercise for sure. I loved having the chore of checking the mailbox. I never received mail, but that didn’t keep me from dreaming that maybe something would be in the mail for me.
One day while making my way back up the steep driveway, I was greeted by yet another critter. This one was not big and furry but instead long and slithery. You guessed it, a snake. It was lying under the wild blackberry bushes that grew on the fence line. The moment I saw Mr. Snake, I screamed. The loud noise must have disturbed him because he began moving towards me. I began to run as fast as my chubby little legs could take me, screaming for Daddy as I ran for my life. Daddy was always outside working when we were out playing.
The snake began to chase me. I ran so fast to the top of the driveway. By then, not only was my Daddy there, but Mama had run out of the house too. Daddy already had a hoe in his hands. He began hitting the snake with that hoe until it was no longer moving. I was still crying and inconsolable. Both parents kept trying to assure me that the snake was dead, but I did not believe them. So Daddy took the snake up with the hoe and down toward the pig pen he went, telling me to watch what he was doing. When he reached the electric fence around the pig pen, he slung the snake onto it. The snake immediately started sizzling and smoking. I calmed down.
My Daddy became my hero that day. I saw him as a superhero in a comic book. I thought he was the bravest, strongest man I could ever know. He went above and beyond for me that day. The story may sound gross to some, but it is a story I keep tucked away in my heart. I know a lot of people who weren’t raised on a farm or in the country would say that Daddy shouldn’t have killed the snake. What else was there to do if it were chasing a child and about to strike? This is just one of the many stories that explain why I loved my Daddy so very much. He wasn’t perfect by no means, but the things he did right out-shined all the bad!
Thank you, Daddy, for being such a great hero to me.