"There's a snake in my boots."
~ Woody, Toy Story
It didn't matter if it was 90 degrees in the shade and a thousand percent humidity, he'd paint on his Wranglers and cram his feet into miniature Tony Lama's. Cowboys don't pay no mind to the weather.
He was 2½, terrific…and terrible. Determined. Stubborn. Short-tempered. Once he made his mind up about something – anything – nothing could change it.
But, oh, my word, this kid had a way that could soften butter and puddle glaciers. And he could make me laugh at will.
He still can.
His grandfather lived on a farm and my cowboy believed Grandy hung moon and stars. He loved farm visits more than peaches love cream and he perfectly matched his Grandy's footsteps. Loyal puppy dog, all he was missin' was tail and fur.
To say Grandy loved his mime is understatement; for him, Job #1 was to make his Mini Me as close to the original as possible. That meant Cowboy cut Wranglers and roach-stomping boots to match. Even in the dead of Summer.
I can still see (and smell) my son dripping in sweat wearing those blasted skin-tight Wranglers, long-sleeved, snap Cowboy shirts and his boots.
Before he turned three, Toy Story came out on VHS. To this day it's one of my most-adored Pixar's, and there's no tellin' how many times we watched it.
Thomas knew every line from the entire movie.
He loved Buzz and Woody so much they were invited to live with us. He showed favorites, though: Woody road shotgun.
I'm thinkin' it had something to do with the dress code.
Woody was a talker, quick on the draw with a "Howdy partner" or "There's a snake in my boots!" or "You're my favorite deputy" or "Yeehah cowboy" or to the unacquainted, "My name's Woody."
Thomas knew those lines, too. I fell in love with him a little more every time he'd recite Woody's repertoire, albeit with a slight twist (he was not yet three, after all…): "There's a 'nake in my boots," "Yeehaw cowbuddy." I'm melting.
* * * * * *
Sorted and piled, dirty clothes littered our small laundry room floor. Like I've repeated a squillion times, dry laundry out to fold, clean and wet to the dryer. Starting a new load, I was reaching for the dark pile when I saw it: a black and white banded shoelace.
Corkscrewing towards me.
When my mind caught up to my eyes, I screamed like a girl and jumped ten feet. Skeptical, my husband flung the laundry left and right but didn't find a shred of evidence to corraborate my story. His doubt filled the room and I wondered if I had imagined it.
Plus, we had to leave *right then* to make it to a meeting on time.
When we got home hours later, I sifted through those piles and still didn't find the snake. I hope-prayed my mind had been playing tricks OR the snake had answered the call of the wild outside, where snakes belong.
How else would I be able to sleep??
* * * * * *
The next day with no additional sightings, Mr. Snake lingered only in figments and imagination. We went out of town as planned, but because he had to work all weekend, we left my oldest son ~ the Cowboy ~ home.
I received a text at 4:23, 37 minutes before he was supposed to be at work–
"…there is a snake in our house"
I'll spare you the details of what happened next, but let's just say there's a stiff penalty for breaking and entering mi casa.
Woody would've been proud.