Thursday, April 21, 2011


Long ago, my Father-in-Law claimed acquaintance with a member of the wildlife community inhabiting one of the many dimensions of his grassy barnyard on Waverly Lane.  He dubbed his friend "Icabod."  I suppose it was the first name that occurred to him gazing into the eyes of a fully mature and robustly healthy black snake.

Icabod Poses

Father-in-Law seldom mowed the grass, owing to his gas-burning frugality, and when he did he used a bush hog.  As its name implies, a bush hog takes care of bushes leaving grass pretty high.

Perhaps it was Icabod's effect on various visitors that Father-in-law enjoyed most.  In particular, one of his wife's friends - a city slicker from California - who never ceased recounting the horror of her encounter with Icabod in the tall grass.  As her voice climbed higher and her gestures became more frantic, I detected a naughty smile curling the corners of his mouth.

Father-in-Law Enjoying a Smile

On meeting the big snake, I usually screamed making apology to Icabod for being so unsophisticated.  He took it with his usual aplomb, disregarding me as he slithered on his way (no doubt some grumbling sexist explanation crossing his primitive reptilian mind).

Icabod, Ready for His Closeup

Over the years various descendants of the original Icabod, who we still call "Icabod" remain with us.  Grandaughter was nearly crowned by a tree-climbing Icabod, who took an inadvertent fall.  Everyone recovered.  On the hottest day, one climbed our front steps and had to be gently removed with a shovel to the shady bank.  Recently the young men reinforcing our shoreline with stones described their chilly bumps when witnessing the size of an Icabod in the brush.  I explained he was a family member in good standing and meant no harm.

Now He's Getting Nervous

All the Icabods love duck eggs and show up regularly to dine, the ducks objecting vehemently.  What it must be like to cause such a stir everywhere you go!  Since he hardly missed a day touting the serpentine magnificence of Icabod, Father-in-Law would take pride.

1 comment:

  1. Icabod is a perfect name for a snake. I love snakes but now and then I'd have a scare walking to the pier at night when I would come upon our resident black snake in Deltaville. I admit, I screamed like a girl. There's just something startling about almost stepping on a shiny snake at 10pm when you're 12.