Tuesday, September 15

Tiny Gemstones - By Janie DeVos


          I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been getting pretty tired of this whole new world we’re living in because of the pandemic.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I DO NOT believe it’s a hoax, and I don’t believe that if we just ignore it, it will “magically go away.”  That’s ridiculous, wishful thinking, to say the least, and downright deadly to be perfectly blunt about it.  But, still, I miss the way we were.  However, a couple of blogs ago, I wrote about the fact that to everything there is a silver lining, and I continue to find that to be so true. 

My husband and I have always enjoyed having people over for dinner, or going out to eat with friends, but that’s been held to a minimum over these last months and we’ve missed it.  However, the other night, our dear friend came over for steaks on the grill, and the evening that we figured would be a low-key and uneventful one could not have been more entertaining had we had attended a Broadway show of Hamilton, with invites to the after party. 

I had just walked out on our deck when I happened to look down to see a GIGANTIC snake lying right where our yard meets the woods. 

“Julie!” (name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) I shouted.  “You’ve got to see this snake!  It’s massive!”  

She hurried out the door with drink in hand, and then my never-curses-and-never-takes-the-Lord’s-name-in-vain precious Baptist friend exclaimed, “Oh, my God!  Look at that thing!  Shit!  I hate snakes!”  

She immediately tucked herself behind me while I hollered for my husband who was in the kitchen seasoning the steaks to come take a look.  McCormick seasoning in hand, he hurried out to the deck and immediately took over the binoculars I had trained on the reptile. 

“I think it’s a King snake,” he said, lowering them.  “But I’m taking no chances.  It could be an enormous timber rattler.  I’m gettin’ the gun!” 

Off he went to load the shotgun, but a minute later he came back out and asked if either of us knew what the red button on the side of the weapon was; whether it was the safety, or what.  I knew we were in trouble then, and that the snake had the upper hand in this situation. 

“All I know is that when we were shown how to shoot that thing,” I replied, “I memorized the order in which we had to do certain things. Press, pump, push, fire!  That’s the order.  The only problem is I don’t remember what the ‘press’ and ‘push’ parts are for.”  

“Never mind,” my husband said, waving me off.  “I’ll figure it out.  But do you know where the earplugs are?  A blast from this shotgun will blow my eardrums out.”  

“I got rid of ‘em once you started wearing that mouth guard and stopped snoring,” I replied.  “But, there may be some in your nightstand.” 

As my husband went back into the house, I looked back down to see if the snake was still there or if it had slithered into the woods.  But it was still there, all right. 

“What’s it doin’?  Why isn’t it moving?” Julie asked, still using me as a buffer for a snake that was seventy five feet away and fifteen feet down. 

“Maybe’s it’s just chillin’,” I suggested, “or sleeping.  It doesn’t feel the least bit threatened, that’s for sure.  Actually, it’s probably laughing too hard to move.” 

Suddenly, my husband reappeared wearing one of those winter caps with the furry ear flaps, and cotton balls stuck in his ears,  making him look like a cross between a trapper from the 1800’s, and a Basset hound with an ear ache. 

“Couldn’t find the earplugs, huh?” I asked, trying not to laugh at the only thing standing between a potentially deadly snake and me. 

“No, but at least this should muffle the blast.  Okay, I’m goin’ down,” he said, as if he were ready to parachute out of a plane into the night, inside enemy territory. 

“Good luck,” I called after him.  Then Julie and I stood at the railing and watched as my husband—in his winter hat with flaps and gun he wasn’t sure how to operate—inched down our steep yard to the waiting serpent below. 

Carefully, he crept toward the snake, and as he did, rather than praying for his safety, I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures, laughing and shaking my head in disbelief at the sight before me. 

Finally, my brave, faux-frontiersman husband; my grand protector and defender of my life, got to within a couple of feet of the snake then slowly bent down, reached out and…picked up a 6 ft. long crooked branch. 

“Branch!” he called, holding it up for us to see before tossing it into the woods. 

“Great!” I shouted.  “We’re hungry!  Start the grill.” 

“I need another drink,” Julie sighed, opening the door and heading for the kitchen. 

Who says this new pandemic-designed world we’re living in is boring? I thought as I followed her inside. 

It’s far from it if we just take the time to enjoy the little things in life instead of always looking for the big things to engage or entertain us.  Ironically, this pandemic has helped us to do just that by forcing us away from the maddening crowd, so to speak, and providing us with the time to enjoy those smaller things simply because we haven’t had a million other things available to distract us. 

Hopefully, we’ll have learned something during this unusual time to bring along with us into a post-pandemic world.  If we have, we’ll continue to enjoy the smaller things in life, and truly value those precious tiny gemstone moments that used to slip by us when we were just too busy to notice.









  1. Oh, my God, this is so funny... It belongs in a Covid history book just to lend some levity to a horrible year. Thanks to "Julie" and your husband for providing the entertainment!

    1. Oh, Liz, you gals should have been here to see it. My relaying of the events doesn't do it justice.

  2. Oh, Janie! What a story! That whole scenario definitely needs to be in a book. And bless your husband! All in all, life remains interesting, doesn't it?

    1. It most certainly does, Nan! Thank God, or we'd all die from boredom.

  3. This is a great story! LOL There are many, many things that I don't like about our current situation, but what I have enjoyed is seeing how people use creativity to enhance their lives--from the window singers in Italy, to a street of dancers performing while social distancing to Greased Lightening, to churches holding drive-in services, seeing families riding bikes together...these things give me hope. As do the snake hunters in NC.

  4. Funny story, Janie! Thank goodness it was only a branch. Snakes scare the stuffing out of me!

    I like Margie's comment about the creativity people have found to cope with the pandemic. That's what's going to keep us going through this.