On this day dedicated to the most special of men in the world, I offer the Internet a story about my dear ol’ dad. Daddy. Daddy-o. Father of Great Mighty. The Pops. Or, the family favorite, Buster Brown.
The first time our family visited Florida, we were shocked by the weather. It rains in Seattle, just like they say it does. The days are grey and drizzly, and the rain showers and sprinkles and drips all day long. But in Florida, it pours. Buckets. God takes a hose and points it straight up, and all the water that wasn’t needed in the ocean for that moment finds a home on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, not in the actual earth, because there is so much water spewed forth from the heavens that it cannot possible be absorbed into the dirt.
The rain floods ponds, roads, and yards within minutes. The plants are swallowed into the sea, quite literally. Unfortunately, it’s not just plants that are inhabitants of that moisture-laden terrain. Animals have to scurry to high ground, of which there is little on the coast. That’s how they end up in the house.
During the daily storms, we hunkered down into our condo and marvelled at the display. We have earthquakes and volcanoes, but hurricanes are a little off our radar. Nothing strange occurred during these bursts from the clouds– besides our fear of going outside and lifting our heads and drowning. Oh no, it was after one such violent storm that we looked in the screened-in porch and saw it.
A big, black snake.
A snake with scales. With fangs. With poison so venomous it could drop a 250 pound man in 5.5 seconds. Ok, I don’t actually know that, but it was a black snake, and it was in our house.
We know nothing about snakes. Well, not nothing, because we have rattlers. You can tell they’re rattlers because they, you know, rattle. Rattlesnakes also aren’t black. So basically we know nothing about this snake. Maybe it really could drop a 250 pound man in 5.5 seconds. I DIDN’T WANT TO DIE!
By this point, we have sufficiently convinced ourselves that this snake is going to eat us all for an appetizer and then head on over to the mall for the main course.
That’s when my dad strode past us all, chest puffed out in trembling confidence. He carried a broom handle like a saber drawn for battle, charging to defeat a mysterious but eminently dangerous enemy.
“Don’t worry!” he proclaimed in a voice that would give any military general a run for his money. “I watch Crocodile Hunter!”
I don’t think our laughter was quite what he was going for.
For the record, we later asked the groundskeeper about the snake, and he said that it sounded like a harmless garden variety, not a venomous monster poised to kill a group of unsuspecting tourists. But I still claim that my dad totally saved our lives.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! We love you lots because, as my youngest cousin can be heard saying, “Buster Brown is my best friend!”