Maybe, Call It Ethyl?

My mother and I don’t talk on a specific schedule. We talk a few times a week at various times of the day. She usually doesn’t call on week days because I’m at work. Usually, I call her on my way home. She sometimes calls late on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

What she doesn’t do, is call on Saturday evenings. When I saw a call from my mom at 5:04 yesterday afternoon, I assumed the worse.

Me: Hey, mom.

Mom: Hey. So, something creepy just happened.

Me: “Call the police” creepy or run of the mill creepy?

Mom: Oh no. Just run of the mill.

I could tell she was out of sorts. Martha is fairly badass. Mostly, unflappable. Still strong like an ox. Not much is going to throw her off. I mean, except one thing.

Mom: You know that lilac bush by the deck in front of the kitchen window?

Me: Yeah?

Mom: There was a snake at eye level. Not a little one. It was probably at least 5 feet long.

Me: Oh, damn.

Me: Mom, you know that snakes are a sign of a healthy yard, right?

Mom: I don’t care.

Me: Mom, it’s going to be fine. It won’t hurt you. It’s just hanging out, doing it’s thing. No worries. If it comes back, just give it a name. Like Ethyl.

Mom: I am not there, Shell.

Me: Talk to it. Tell Ethyl your problems.

Mom: I’m not naming it.

Me: Okay, how about this? When you compare having a completely harmless snake in your lilac bush to all the other bullshit going on right now, it doesn’t seem so bad, right?

Mom: I feel so much better.

Me: Did you hear about Marjorie Taylor Green talking about “fragrant violations?”

Mom: Oh, dear god.

Me: Or how Bill Gates is growing fake meat in “peach tree” dishes?

Mom: You’re making that up.

Me: Nope.

Mom: I guess Ethyl can stay. I guess.

Me: Sign of a healthy yard.

Mom: I hate Ethyl.

I hope you are all staying safe.


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By Michelle


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