Adventures in the Wild Kingdom

Some of this story is true, Carol swears.

Quite recently, office manager Carol went out to get the mail only to be informed by Dianne Ladd, Theresa Szczurek and a friend of theirs, all weeding the Martha Arnett garden, that a passerby reported hearing a rattle snake in the back lot, near the children’s play area. Dianne looked at Carol and said ‘Something has to be done.’ Carol said ‘Yes I agree… wait a minute you mean by me?”

Carol went inside and did the only sensible thing – she panicked. After all, we’re talking rattlesnakes! As an office manager of this congregation hired to deal with personnel, communication and business issues, she has dealt with dog poop in strange places, water seeping from broken irrigation pipes in the lawn – which an anonymous someone kindly dug a hole around to make it obvious what was happening, repairmen who replace a small valve and present an invoice for several hundred dollars, emergency needs for candles that can only be brought in by special shipment from Mongolia, paychecks that don’t arrive and lots of emails that do, our website when it was losing its host server within a few weeks, dirty dishes in the kitchen, doors that don’t close, imported files that don’t open, and so much more! But this, this was the ultimate. Carol as some of you may know is a native of Chicago, where she was quite used to snakes – the two-legged kind!

Back to our story. Carol is now at her desk, contemplating not her navel but her bare toes in sandals, wondering which of her toes, or would it be her ankle, that the snake would prefer to taste when she went to put a warning sign up? What sign would work to warn the snakes off? While she contemplated her impending adventure, she sent an email out to concerned staff and others that she was handling the situation; they needed to know that she had the panicking part taken care of. After all, there was only a COA retreat happening that night, and everyone knows that UU kids prefer to hang around inside. She called Emily Conger, Youth Coordinator, who did her best to tell Carol to contact Animal Control. It took a while because Carol’s teeth had chosen just that moment to do their best imitation of those wind-up chattering teeth you buy in toy stores. Carol thanked Emily and hung up and called police dispatch, who said they would send out Animal Control. Two regular cops arrived. Animal Control was busy, or so they said. Sounded suspicious to me, but what are you going to do? The cops closely questioned Carol about her whereabouts when said snake was roaming freely, and they proceeded to walk the fence, literally. They reported finding nothing. Was Carol supposed to feel better? How about when she said to one of them “I wouldn’t know what a rattlesnake den looks like” and one of the cops replied, “Yeah, neither do I.”

Now the ending of this sorry tale. To Carol’s amazement, everyone had taken her advice and did indeed leave the panicking to her. They calmly and successfully held the COA retreat, and that Sunday, Dave Setzke found the bull snake den (hah! they say bull snake but that sounds like a lot of bull to me!). Later, Lydia (oh Lydia!) and Katie Covey saw the snake and followed it to a tree. Dearest Katie, now my best-est friend in the whole world, contacted Animal Control, who did show up this time and gave advice to close up the den with sand and rocks. Katie and later Robyn Peterson made sure it was secure. No more snake.

Anyone want to join Carol for a rousing and entirely safe round of bill pay?