I have new superheroes. My wife, Sandra and our 19 year old niece, Olivia, discovered a 3 foot black snake in our basement yesterday. The poor thing was just sleeping and cooling off from the blistering 90+ degree heat when they rudely interrupted him with loud girly screams. Then what did they do? Of course, they picked up the phone. But they didn’t call me (for which I am grateful). They didn’t call either of Sandra’s brothers either. In fact, their last call, or so they feared, was made across the gender line. They called Olivia’s 18 year friend, Grace and her slightly older sister, Beth. It seems that Grace doesn’t mind picking up black snakes and escorting them back to a more desirable location (for us humans that is. I think the snake was quite comfortable in the basement). Now don’t get the wrong impression. Grace and her sister, Beth are not toothless, snuff dipping redneck farm girls with underarm hair from the back woods. Just the opposite. They are very pretty, outgoing and bright girls who apparently have more courage than me and love an adventure. How many other people would come running over to catch a snake for you?

Before I overhype my new superhero, just like all of them, Grace has her own kryptonite. As it was told to me, because remember, I was not there, Grace came into the basement smiling and laughing at the silliness of my wife and Olivia over a little ol’ snake and said in a cocky tone, “Alright, where’s this mean and vicious creature that has you all in such an uproar?” Olivia replied, “Up there somewhere” pointing to the overhead insulation where a ceiling would be if it was finished….bazinga, Grace’s kryptonite. “You mean it’s above my head?” and then she screamed like a little girl and threw both hands up and covered her head. During the time Grace was donning her superhero cape and flying over to my house, the snake had climbed the wall and slithered into the ceiling area. Apparently it’s not as fun catching a snake when he’s looking down on you playing hide and seek with the ever present threat of him swan diving on your head. Makes perfect sense to me especially in my basement because the ceiling area is creepy and scary looking. Instead of sheetrock, it’s just open with the insulation, plumbing and snake like thick black wires exposed. So in a superhero tale, this is called the climax. The part where the superhero has been exposed to his kryptonite and strapped onto the conveyor belt moving toward the enormous, scary circular saw blade. As nervous as this always made us watching this happen, we know that the superhero always overcame his deathtrap and continued to battle his enemy and win. Same here…almost. Grace did swallow her fears and fought valiantly, but the snake ultimately won. He just remained hidden in the ceiling, probably finished his nap and waited the girls out. It’s okay. I seem to remember that even though Batman foiled their plans, the Joker and the Penguin often slipped away at the end. Batman, just like Grace and the girls, would have to prepare for another battle another day. I’m left with the disconcerting fact that a snake is running loose in my house. At least he’s a black snake. If he helps eliminate the mice and copperheads, I’ll consider him my buddy…or at least an ally.

We all have our fears to overcome and I admire Grace, Olivia and Beth for fighting back theirs to help me. We are not supposed to grow wearing in doing good and sometimes doing good is a challenge. Thank you, girls. You all are heroes in my book.

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