On April 18th last, the Midwestern US woke up to an earthquake. Now while not unknown in this part of the country, they are not as frequent as they are here on the west coast. I have ridden out several since moving here, including the Ash Wednesday Nisqually Quake here in Seattle.
My relatives in the Midwest obviously were a little shaken by the quake, especially my niece, who apparently had been reading about someone under a bed attacking someone before she went to sleep. The earthquake sent her into hysterics, and running to her mother. When I told this tale to my other sister, her remark was, “Mom lives again.”
Which brings us to the anaconda story. First the set-up. My mother was a night owl, much like me. However, when this story occurred, the idea of 24 hour TV had not yet come to pass. Otherwise my mother would have had only infomercials to watch. Apparently one station did documentaries late at night.
We had an old dog at the time, who was forbidden to pass beyond the tile in the kitchen. She had to be in desperate straits to even consider stepping foot on the living room rug. And one night, the night of the anaconda, apparently she was in desperate straits.
My mother hated snakes. Feared, dreaded and reviled them. How she came to be watching a documentary on anacondas late at night when she fell asleep in her chair, one hand hanging down, is a mystery to this day.
As I said, Mom had fallen asleep, our poor dog Honey was in need of the bathroom. We can only imagine her stopping at the tile, trying to get my mother’s attention. Finally, she really needs to go. She tiptoes across the carpet to my mother in the chair, and puts her cold nose on my mother’s hand.
My father tells of hearing my mother shriek, and coming out to find her standing on the chair. Poor Honey, it’s a miracle she didn’t lose control of bowel and bladder. Likewise my mother. After letting the dog out, and assuring my mother there were no snakes in the house, my mother finally settled down. The dog did her business and came back in. And that is what came to be known in the family as the Night of the Anaconda.