This time I’d like to share some links to musicians who I have got to know recently. And also another great story from my friend Jim Remington about magical Ireland and St Patrick and the Snakes!
First up is my good old friend Rick Mueller. This video just made last Tuesday at the Wildcat Tavern Open Mic. The Tavern was one of my favorite places to play when I was living in New Hampshire back in the 70’s and 80’s. Rick is Americana down to the bone. He’s the real deal! So have a look and listen to his three songs!
Next up, from just down the road in Naples, Florida, are The Honey Creepers Band with No Good At Love! Love Prana’s voice!
And this from my friend, Miguel Jimenez – the master at doing Django Reinhardt!
And here’s Diane Hurst – she writes wonderful songs for children! With her “Are We There Yet!
And now – Saint Patrick and the Snakes!
Mostly Short, Mostly True Stories from Ireland
By Jim Remington
Saint Patrick and the Snakes
I’m sure most people are familiar with the legend of how Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. We really don’t know the exact truth of the story but I for one have never seen a snake in Ireland. That’s good enough for me. I’ve read that there weren’t any snakes in Ireland before Saint Patrick but why ruin a good legend. Do the experts really know whether snakes ever existed in Ireland? I’ve also heard it said that entwined snakes where the symbol for the ancient goddess religion of Ireland and Saint Patrick drove that religion out when he converted the country to Catholicism. And there went the snakes. I’d like to hear more about that if anyone knows. That would still be some feat for any saint if it’s true. I guess it’s all a matter of faith and speculation.
Now I know for sure Saint Patrick never spent time in my neck of the woods. He certainly didn’t spend any time driving snakes out if he did take a stroll thru here. We have several varieties of snakes, most of them easy to get along with. But honestly they all scare the life out of me. The most common snake I see is the Bull snake. Sometimes six feet long and full of attitude. They try to mimic their more potent brethren by ferociously shaking their “tails” and assuming a lethal strike pose. And they add a loud hiss just to drive the point home. But they are not venomous. My friend John will pick them up and let them glide thru his hands. He can talk snake. Like I said, they all drive me nuts. Now the other snakes we have are very serious – of the viper family and potentially deadly. It seems they would like to give you a warning with that rattle if possible but I have stepped on one that only rattled after contact. I moved faster than I thought humanly possible and managed to avoid the bite and the near heart attack that I almost had over the episode. But enough of this, let’s get to the actual story.
I was in the tool shed/tack room getting some pliers and as I reached over the workbench, something moved amidst the clutter. That “something” was a very large snake – about five feet long and as big as my wrist around. Not until I peeled myself off the ceiling did I make a positive identification. The head shape, coloring and rattle-less tail convinced me it was definitely a bull snake. None venomous and this one not especially aggressive. Still I was pretty shaken and forgot about the pliers. I’ve been told that Bull snakes are great to have on your property. They eat mice (a problem in any tack room) and I’ve been told they keep rattle snakes away. That would be a benefit but I’m not sure if it is true. It sounds reassuring at the least. So I looked at the positive side of having a mice eating, rattle snake deterring bull snake living in my tack room. As I was in the tack shed twice a day for horse feed I got use to seeing the new tenant and actually began to feel we had developed a bit of a rapport and mutual respect. I left him alone and he did the same to me. I still jumped every time I saw him but got over it a little quicker. To say I became friends with this Bull snake would be an overstatement but we managed to coexist. He was doing a good job with the mice and I didn’t see a rattle snake on the property during that time.
Well it came to pass that I was on my drive up to Denver on a hot August day, making good time until I hit a massive traffic jam near Broadway. Four lanes of bumper to bumper stop and go traffic. I was a lane in from the outside lane and completely boxed in. I was totally focused on the car ahead of me when suddenly something popped up from the hood right in front of the windshield and then disappeared. It looked like a head with two beady eyes. But I had doubts of what I actually saw. It was a little near for my range of focus on the car ahead. But it caught my attention. A minute or two passed. The traffic moved and stopped, moved and stopped. Again, something popped up in the same spot but this time looked around – left than right. It was definitely a head but no body to confirm its identity. It disappeared again. But now I knew I wasn’t imagining whatever it was. The head popped out again but this time the entire body came along with it. Five feet of Bull snake spread across my windshield. What a sight! I glanced to my left and the women in the passenger seat of the car next to me was screaming at the top of her lungs and gesturing with both hands. She was freaking out! I tried to come up with a plan. I knew right away that this was my tack room “buddy” and I needed to do something to help him out. But he had his own ideas. Several times he went across my windshield, his full five feet from one end to the other. The woman in the next car was really losing it now. It wasn’t pretty. We were moving at about twenty five miles an hour and I signaled to try to cross two lanes of traffic to the right. Trying to watch the snake and not crash into the cars next to me was about impossible. Quick as a whip the snake went down the side of my car and off the back – right on the white lines. I felt powerless. I watched in my side mirror as every car behind me moved away from the snake. It was like the parting of the Red Sea. But I had lost my buddy. I’m not sure if the snake made it but my sister in law Angela said the snake had its own plan. I was just the vehicle. He was hitching a ride.
It made me feel better to think that maybe he was in tune with the cosmos and just getting a lift. I sure hope so. I did miss the big guy and the mice seemed to get a little bolder. And not long after I came across two rattle snakes in my yard. I sure would like to have that bull snake back. I would even give the guy a little pat on the back. Somewhere on that five feet!
Jim Remington is a teacher and director at the Lakewood School of Music in Lakewood, CO, and lives with his wife, 2 horses and 2 dogs in the Wet Mountain Valley near Westcliffe, CO. Jim can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you enjoyed today’s posts as much I enjoyed posting them. Hope you have a great weekend and don’t forget to grab a cold one and join me for Bill’s Happy Hour this afternoon and every Saturday afternoon at 5PM EDT on Street Jelly!
By for now!