The following is a except from my Memoir called a Grandmother’s Story. Norma is my older sister by three years.
By the time us kids were in the fourth and sixth grades Norma was a complete through and through tomboy and the controller of the neighborhood. Norma-nator should have been her name. I drove her out of her mind with my meek and shy ways.
We didn’t lack for playmates. Next door in a long green stucco house lived the Grilley boys, across the highway was the Nelsons. They were old, but their granddaughter played with us when she visited. The three Horner girls lived on the other side and on top of Saurey Hill lived the Saureys. This bunch of kids is who we played with or fought with depending on Norma’s mood for the day. We had my wish. A creek was only a half mile away. We followed a country road north until we came to a spot where the creek passed under the road, made a bend and went back under the road. This area was ours. We fished and swam, built forts and ate picnic lunches there.
Shy Brookies lived in that stream. We caught them on worms and Eagle Claw hooks, size number six. We crept real careful, not making a sound or casting a shadow on the water, as we flung our lines into the water. The current took the worms downstream under overhanging bushes where fish hid.
Norma caught her share as we all did, but woe be to any of us who made noise. One day Norma shrieked. She high-stepped quickly in the opposite direction.”What’s the matter?” I asked in a loud whisper. “You’re scaring the fish.”
“I almost stepped on a damn snake,” she answered.
“Not afraid of a little snake are you?” I asked, surprised at her forbidden word.
“Of course not! I just don’t like them.”
Norma is afraid of the small green water snakes, my mind said. This was an enormous discovery. I now had an equalizer!
I bided my time. Sure enough a few days later she told me to move further downstream, because I was in the particular spot she wanted.
Mumbling to myself, I trudged downstream and plopped on the bank. Movement caught my eye. I reached into the weeds and pulled out a wiggling, hissing snake. It was only a small water snake, but when I held it by the back of the neck, it dangled down a good foot. Wiggling. Mouth open and forked tongue sticking out. Perfect.
“See what I found,” I said as I quietly stood at her squatting back.
She glanced up. “Yukkkk,” she screamed. “Get away!”
I held it closer.
“Wait till I tell Mom what you did!” she screamed at me and ran for home.
A little guilt about having a loving heart should’ve nagged, but fishing was good that day
This is me and my Sister about the time of the snake. We are best friends now but enemies as girls. Funny how it works that way.