The post title is attributed to my grandfather, deceased before I was conceived but whose advice has lived for generations.  With all the insanity on the internet, these words come to mind often; real life seems to prove them true as well.

Yesterday afternoon, Tad and I were in our room when we heard Stephen call out, “Mom! Quick! Look in the front yard!”  The insistent tone of his voice compelled me to rush to the nearest window as I yelled in his general direction, “What is it?” while in the same movement, scan the yard. His disconcerting answer? “I don’t know.”

He’s ten…surely if he didn’t know, it had to be dangerous. A reasonable, albeit delusional, mom conclusion.

We heard Aussie barking just prior to Stephen’s frantic exclamation which can mean just about anything…a neighbor jogging, another dog on the prowl, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, a mail delivery, an axe murderer walking up the driveway, you name it.  She’s indiscriminate in her bark, and although she’s woofed “wolf” often enough for us to barely give her notice, it does serve as a sort of ambient “intruder alert” (we fully understand there is no bite attached to her bark, just don’t mention that to the serial killers).

We had ignored it until Stephen barked, too.

I scanned our yard closest to the house first, and then with a gradual outward sweeping glance…left to right, right to left. I searched for whatever it was that had caused Stephen (and Aussie) concern. 

Maybe 50 yards? 75? from our house, the yard begins a steep decline; from my second-floor window, it looks like it simply drops off (although it’s not actually that steep).  Out of the corner of my eye, I finally saw “it”–


A cobra…upright, with it’s hood flattened and extended.

Tennessee is home to 32 species of snakes, four of them venomous. Cobras are not one of themI concluded rather quickly it wasn’t a snake, but obviously not thinking clearly, my next thought was ostrich.  At this point, all indications are that I need a tune up on my seven-year-old lasik treatment.

I grabbed our digital camera, flew down the stairs, ran outside, eager to catch a glimpse of whatever it was fleeing our yard; Aussie had not stopped barking so I had to move fast (other creatures don’t know she’s scared of her shadow).

I got to the edge of our driveway, and “it” was gone.  I couldn’t have been more disappointed not to have discovered the cobritch? ostra? that minutes earlier had teased and taunted me, terrified (and confused) my son, spun my dog into a canine frenzy….  Until I noticed our new neighbors standing in their front yard, clearly entertained by the very thing I was seeking.

I walked over, introduced myself, and in the same breath, asked if they knew what Aussie had been barking at.  They did…they even took pictures.  And God bless their neighborly soul, they remembered my email and sent pictures to us.


Thing is, I’m not sure who’s the bigger turkey–these guys or me!

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