Saturday, May 02, 2009

Alma, Snake Killer

I finally got around to looking something up on the internet just now—it was for snake identification.

Last week, Alma, my all-in-one housekeeper /cook / laundress nervously called Divine outside to look at the snake she’d just killed out in the garden. She’d been out there picking up fallen mango leaves and spotted the slender little 15 incher down at the bottom of the well of the sunken landscape feature. If I were a snake, I’d probably want to hang out there too—it’s cool, it’s moist, and it WAS safe, right up until Alma bashed in its head.

I knew we had a snake somewhere in that corner of the yard as evidenced by all the pieces of dried up shredded snake skin at the base of the perimeter wall in that area. It looked like it had been using the sharp edges of the bamboo fence to aid itself in removing it.

I should have made it known to everyone in the household NOT to kill any snake found on the property, to avoid it, get away from it, and then call me to deal with it. I was sad and mad seeing the broken little creature on her dustpan, but there was also regret for not making it clear that I wanted nothing killed around here. I told them, “If something needs to be killed, I’ll do it. Do you understand?”

From the look of it I could tell the snake wasn’t poisonous, but to the uneducated, which most folks around here are on just about everything, ALL snakes rate instant assassination. I didn’t even try to explain to Alma why I was angry. It wouldn’t do any good, so why bother?

This is the same dim woman that on her first day with us raked up a pile of leaves and twigs in the gutter out in front of the house and proceeded to set the little heap ablaze. Aside from the fact that doing so is against subdivision rules (which deters few), Divine jumped down her throat explaining that we bury (compost) all leaves, vegetable matter and yard clippings. Alma was a bit shocked by the virulence of Divine's reaction, which personally, I loved.

Divine knows that I HATE the way almost everyone burns stuff in this town, which chokinly casts the whole area in a continuous murky nasty dirty pall. I’m thrilled that Divine has taken up that cause as well. I tease her that I’ve turned her into a Filipina version of me.

Funny thing though, now that Alma has seen the prodigious amounts of black loamy soil that has come of OUR composting efforts; she too is a fan of doing it, even though at first I could tell she thought I was just another weird foreigner insistent on doing weird things (like burying leaves).

But composting is one thing; snakes are an entirely different matter. I doubt I will ever be able to change their views on the legless slithering reptiles; because to them, a snake is a snake, something to be feared and immediately dispatched.

Nevertheless, from my web research I determined the exterminated little thing to be a Southeast Asian common house snake. I explained to Divine that the worst thing they can do to you is to give you a nip, but only if you try to pick it up; otherwise, it had been out there harmlessly minding its own business, and eating insects.

I told her, “If Alma wants to kill something, tell her to get out there and kill me up a few thousand of those darned mango ants! Now THOSE things, you have my permission to slaughter every dang one of 'em!”

That got a grin out of her.

…And the schooling of “my people” goes on…


Opass said...

Yes yes, the trials and tribulations of us teachers. We try and try to impart knowledge and they just resist receiving it. Like radio stations with no listeners. I have a neighbor with the cutest little dog on a leash no more than one meter long. Poor little guy yaps and yaps and it's so obvious he needs friends and a bit of cuddling. I got here once in a while and stroke him and try to make him feel good. But everybody else treats him like a . . . . dog? And ignores him.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I'm having no problem schooling up "my people," in fact, Alma is a huge proponent of composting now; she just needed to see it in action. As for anyone else, no way.