Just as I began to contemplate what I was going to write for my column, I opened a letter from a retired widow who resides in a neighboring community.
She wrote to tell me about an incident that occurred in her town a few years ago.
Her epistle recounts the tale of a couple who apparently had several potted plants, and during a cold spell, the wife brought some of them indoors to protect them from a possible freeze.
It turned out that a little green garden snake had hidden in one of the plants. When it warmed up, the snake slithered out and the wife saw it go under the sofa.
She let out a scream.
The husband, who was taking a shower, ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was.
She told him there was a snake under the sofa so he got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for the slithering creature.
About that time, the family dog came in and cold-nosed the husband on his flip-side. He thought the snake had bitten him and he fainted. His wife, meanwhile, thought her husband had suffered a heart attack so she called for an ambulance.
The attendants rushed in, loaded the husband on a stretcher and headed out the door with him.
Then the snake came out from under the sofa. The sudden appearance by the snake startled the emergency medical technician who dropped the end of the stretcher.
That’s when the husband’s leg was broken and why he was admitted to the hospital.
The wife had a problem with the snake in the house, so she called a neighborly gentleman to help her. He volunteered to capture the snake and armed himself with a rolled up newspaper with which he began poking under the couch.
Soon he decided the snake had disappeared and informed the woman, who sat down on the sofa in relief.
While relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wiggling around. So she screamed and fainted.
The snake rushed back under the sofa and the neighborly man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her.
The neighbor’s wife, who had just returned from shopping at the grocery store, saw her husband’s mouth on the woman’s and slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp deeply enough to require stitches.
The ambulance again was called and it was determined that the injury required hospitalization.
The noise, meanwhile, woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbor lying on the floor with her neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed he had been bitten by the snake.
She went to the kitchen, brought back a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it down the man’s throat.
By now the police had arrived. They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all when the two women tried to explain how it all happened over a little green snake.
The ambulance then took away the neighbor and his sobbing wife.
Just then the little snake crawled out from under the couch. One of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it.
He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table that was on one side the sofa.
The table fell over and the lamp on it shattered, and as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the drapes.
The other policeman tried to beat out the flames and fell through the picture window on top of the family dog. Startled, the dog jumped up and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smacked into the parked police car, which caught on fire.
Meanwhile, the burning drapes spread to the walls and the entire house was blazing.
Neighbors called the fire department and the arriving fire truck started raising its ladder as it was halfway down the street.
The rising ladder tore out overhead wires and knocked out electricity and disconnected the telephones in several homes in the area.
Time passed. Both men were discharged from the hospital. The house was rebuilt, the police acquired a new cruiser and all was right with the world.
About a year later, as the couple watched TV in their new house, the weatherman announced a cold snap for the vicinity. The husband asked his wife if she thought they should bring in their plants for the night.
She shot him.
Thus far, no charges have been filed.
Top o’ the morning!