Off the Line: The thing about fear

Fear is a strange thing. It can make a grown man fall to his knees and reduce the strongest person to a quivering puddle of tears.

Fear is a strange thing. It can make a grown man fall to his knees and reduce the strongest person to a quivering puddle of tears.

It’s interesting as well in that what one finds fascinating and wonderful, another might find horrifying and repugnant.

From whence a fear grows is not always known, but on the other hand, sometimes the origin of a fear is perfectly clear.

Last Saturday my husband and I went for a drive up the valley to visit with friends and check on our fifth wheel to see how it had wintered.The day was a perfect spring day; even at 2 p.m. in the afternoon the sun still warmed my bones as I sat on the deck of my friend’s house.The background hum of insects going about their springtime business was the perfect backdrop to the cheerful sound of birds as they werespreading their wings and ridding themselves of the vestiges of Old Man Winter. My husband and his friend were out near the garage doingwhatever guys do near garages while my friend and I chatted amiably on her deck.

Fear is a strange thing. It can make a grown man fall to his knees and reduce the strongest person to a quivering puddle of tears.

It’s interesting as well in that what one finds fascinating and wonderful, another might find horrifying and repugnant.

From whence a fear grows is not always known, but on the other hand, sometimes the origin of a fear is perfectly clear.

Last Saturday my husband and I went for a drive up the valley to visit with friends and check on our fifth wheel to see how it had wintered.The day was a perfect spring day; even at 2 p.m. in the afternoon the sun still warmed my bones as I sat on the deck of my friend’s house.The background hum of insects going about their springtime business was the perfect backdrop to the cheerful sound of birds as they werespreading their wings and ridding themselves of the vestiges of Old Man Winter. My husband and his friend were out near the garage doingwhatever guys do near garages while my friend and I chatted amiably on her deck.

All of a sudden, out of the clear blue, my friend let out a blood curdling scream and made a mad dash for the safety of her steps. Not sure atfirst of what happened, I looked around to try and discover what it was that had so frightened her. There, on the edge of the patio, I saw aslithering tail disappear under an umbrella stand. That scream of hers, which was still ringing out piercingly and clear was joined by yetanother scream mine as I raced her for the door. I’m sure we were a sight, two grown adults standing in her doorway, clearly in a panicas our husbands stopped what they were doing and simply stared at us, trying to figure out what was up with their silly women.

Ick. I’m getting creeped out just writing this column and have a huge urge to scratch and peer into dark corners just in case…

My friend, Mrs. Afraidofsnakes began calling for help to rid us of the undulating intruder and I am not ashamed to say that I joined her inthat plea. I later discovered that the shovel leaning up against the house wasn’t there by accident. It seems that the day before, my friend’sdaughter and her partner had also seen the snake and my friend concluded that it was the very same snake that, the year prior, had decidedthe deck was a perfect place to bask in the sun. So, with clear foresight, my Mrs. Afraidofsnakes put that shovel nearby so that should theodious reptile show its forked tongue again, she would be well prepared. Well, sort of. There was no way she was going to dispatch of thesnake herself, but she made sure that the tool of its demise would be nearby, which is where my husband figures in. My husband, Mr. Herosaved the day. I won’t get into the gory details, but will, instead, leave it up to your imagination. Let’s just say I was greatly relieved.

You know, I never thought someone could be as afraid of snakes as I am. I was wrong and I hate to admit it, but I am glad I am not the onlyone.

Now, getting to the basis of that over-the-top fear of snakes: when I was about three or so, we used to live in Abbotsford, which back thenwas mostly a farming community. My siblings and I used to walk on a trail which frequently hosted all kinds of critters, including snakes. Mybrother, being a boy (and a brother to boot) found the perfect way to torment his younger sister. Without fail, he would find a snake for myviewing pleasure, and then, with mischief in his eyes he would scoop it up and chase me, snake extended in front of him, it’s black eyesglittering like diamonds. If I was so unfortunate to be caught, he would shove that squirming, evil looking thing down my shirt or my pants.He wasn’t picky where it ended up.

That brother has now passed away and when I think of him I can now smile in remembrance. But somehow I just can’t yet smile when I thinkabout what he did with the cow patties he would sometimes come across…

 

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