On the journey home from an al fresco lunch to celebrate the Fourth of July with a group of like-minded friends, the theme music to the film Stand By Me was playing.
Meredith often mentions this rite of passage movie about four boys setting out on an adventure that will change their lives ; it reminds her of her childhood growing up in Northfield, a northern suburb of Chicago.
In the Hollywood film, four young boys find a dead body–which propels the story.
In the car yesterday, the music reminded her of the day she and her three young friends (all boys and she was an enthusiastic tomboy) suddenly found themselves confronting an aggressive rattlesnake in a vacant lot.
Yes, a rattlesnake!
But you lived in suburban Chicago!
I remembered my Dad telling me about seeing rattlers in Arizona when he was there in ’44, training to be an RAF fighter pilot.
Arizona: dry, arid, hot, rattlesnake country for sure!
Chicago: cold, windy, wet, rattlesnake country?
Our property backed onto farmland in those days.
What did you do?
We squealed, reeled backwards and ran for a Dad–but there were no Dads to be had at home that afternoon.
By the time we got back armed with a rake and a hoe, the snake would have high-tailed outta Cook County –if it’d had any sense! I don’t remember ever playing around that piece of prairie again!
Soon after we arrived home last night, I went out to pick up the post from the box.
On the ground a couple of feet away from me, stretching itself full length across the driveway–was a snake.
Not a rattler–lucky for me–a western whip snake or couleuvre, a non poisonous snake that eats small rodents.
Clearly it had HEARD IT ON THE SNAKEVINE and decided to make contact.