Are We There Yet?

May 14-20, 2018

By Jay Edwards


These warmer days find me working more outside, in my backyard, which is an Amazon jungle wannabe. It’s mostly an ivy issue. It is trying it’s best to consume everything behind the house, being many years past the “sleeps, creeps, leaps,” stages, turning my once quiet lawn into a bad imitation of “Little Shop of Horrors.” It has moved well up into the huge pine trees on that side of the yard and pretty well covered my next door neighbor, Brian’s fence. I saw Brian in his yard the other day attacking it from the left flank, while I moved in from below. We took some time out to come up with a new strategy, meeting by my beer-filled fridge in the garage, before our commanding officers arrived. Our CO’s call themselves wives, but we aren’t fooled.


It was on the second beer I think, that Brian asked me if I’d seen any snakes slithering around yet. Behind our houses are hundreds of acres of woods, which is a wonderful thing, but it also gets us the occasional critter who strays out of the wild. I told him I hadn’t seen one yet, and then recalled the big fat Copperhead story from a few years ago that came out of the ivy just long enough to send me in for the day. Brian knew the story, hearing it every year around this time, usually standing there by my garage fridge. Then he tells about the 12-foot ugly black snake that was hanging on his son Tanner’s jungle gym one day. “I turned and there he was, his face just inches from mine. He was smiling at me.”


When I first heard the story, it was six feet long and he saw it from across the yard. But my Copperhead had grown over the years too.


I asked him what he did next and he said, “What any good snake-fighter would do in that situation, I ran like hell, got my shotgun and marched back to the yard to do battle. But he was nowhere to be seen.”


“Probably down in the ivy, biding his time.” I said.


“Yeah,” Brian whispered. And we both stared silently out at the green ground cover, like Two Sheriff Brody’s, looking out to sea from the safe shore of Amity.


I got another beer, knowing full well that KM would put me on KP, or latrine duty when she pulled up in her Jeep. “Did I ever tell you about the time I was playing golf in Scottsdale?” I asked Brian, handing him another beer. Of course I had, but he, being the polite garage-guest, said, “I don’t think so.”


“Well, we were playing one of those desert courses, where if you hit it out of the fairway, you’re in the desert.”


“Do you ever hit it out of the fairway?”


Knowing full well Brian’s not a golfer, I lied. “Not often, but on this day I hit a wild shot. Probably someone talking in my backswing.”


“Oh,” he said. Giving me his full attention.


“So I was out there, among the rocks and sand and cactuses.”


“Cacti,” Brian corrected.


“Whatever. So there I was, in the desert. The other guys were moving on down the fairway and I still hadn’t found my ball. So I started jogging. There was a medium-sized boulder just ahead, and rather than go around I jumped. I cleared it without a problem but to stick the landing, I saw to my horror, I would have to land on top of a huge rattlesnake.”


“Oh no,” Brian said.


“Yeah, oh no. All I could do was try and bounce off it, which I did. And just kept going.”


“Wow, you’re Batman.”


“I know. Grab another brew, they don’t cost nuthin.”


See all of Jay’s past columns on our website at