What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

And Then You Die October 26, 2013

My mother has always been a Girl Scout. She even became a leader while she was attending college in Arizona. She took the girls on all sorts of adventures. Camping, caving. She even organized trips to England.  And of course the girls learned lots of lessons under my mother’s ever watchful eye.

When some people think of Girl Scouts, they think of cookies and sewing, which my mother did with the girls, but most of the time they were learning survival skills. In case you never had anyone like my mother around or have never camped in the desert, there are a few things that you need to know to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Always bring lots of water. It’s a desert. You’ll get dehydrated. And then you die. Never camp in a dry river bed. It could flood. And then you die. Don’t pick up wood off the ground. It could have things living in it that could bite you. And then you die.

My mother once took her troop on a camping trip and sent some of the girls to get firewood. The girls knew the rules, but they found a beautiful fallen log and could not resist its temptation. They carried it back to camp, all proud of themselves. My mother saw them coming and yelled at them to stop and put the log down slowly, but the girls didn’t listen. They had found the fire starting jackpot! Again, my mother told them to drop it. That’s when one of the girls looked inside and realized they had been giving a rattlesnake a ride! She screamed, and they all threw the log at my mother.

In my head, the next part looks like The Matrix. The snake flew out of the log, mouth open, and attached itself to my mother’s thigh. Its fangs sunk in, and I’m sure there was a fair bit of screaming. I’m not completely sure about the details of disposing of the snake. Somehow, they got a hold of emergency people who raced out to take care of my mother’s rattlesnake bite. When the workers finally got there, my mother was fine. No sucking venom from the wound. Or cool anti-venom shots. They gave her some disinfectant and a band-aid.

Apparently, a rattlesnake has to want to inject its venom into you and prepare itself in order to bite properly. And this poor snake just couldn’t perform on such short notice. My mother was fine, and I’m sure those girls learned a valuable lesson. If you’re going to try to kill your scout leader, make sure the snake is in on the plan and has time to prepare itself.


6 Responses to “And Then You Die”

  1. ABE Says:

    You will see how I understand if I tell you that, when I was growing up in Mexico, my mother was for a while International Commissioner for the Mexican Girl Guides. Our leaders were UNFLAPPABLE – they had to be. Taking girls camping (in Mexico!) you had to get permission from very patriarchal fathers and there had better be NO problems. Or that girl would never be allowed out of the house, with strangers (even if they’d been a member of our troop for years), EVER again.

    And thanks for the tidbit about snakes – which means you don’t have to worry if you disturb a sleeping rattlesnake and it bites you? I did not know that. My future life with rattlesnakes with be much less problematic.

  2. SummersDay Says:

    Good story! Thank you for a much needed LOL. My favorite line was, “this poor snake just couldn’t perform on such short notice.”

  3. I love your closing line! ROTFL

  4. Reblogged this on Gina Quinn, Medicine Woman and commented:
    Snakes have to “be in the mood” to strike?!!

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