It was a beautiful day and we got a chance to spend all afternoon outside - which our whole family just loves.
After playing the driveway, hitting the baseball with Owen, playing golf with Kyle, flying airlpanes, it was "time for the bump-bump slide" which means it was time to go play on the swing set. Which naturally and immediately led to the sandbox.
While the boys and Heather were playing in the sand box, I started to clean sticks off the yard that had fallen over the course of the winter. And to my total jump-up-and-shout-in-surprise one of those sticks was a 2 foot long snake. Heather determined this would be a wonderful teachable moment for the boys. "Quick! quick! Kyle and Owen, quick there is a SNAKE!!!!" The boys dutifully came running.
Kyle took one look, decided the sandbox was far more interesting and went back to playing. Owen on the other hand, followed Heather's cue and began throwing little sticks at the snake to attempt to get it to wiggle. Much to my dismay (and quite vocal dismay) and much to Heather's giggles, this activity got him closer and closer to the snake.
Several times I thought I saw the snake coil its head in such a way to strike my poor, unsuspecting and vulnerable son. Who, also, was escalating the situation with ever increasing-in-size sticks and pokes and prods of the snake. I envisioned our rush to the hospital with his labored breathing as he fought for his life.
After several near heart-failures on my part and epileptic fits of laughter on Heather's part, Heather finally relented and moved Owen farther from the snake than the 6 inches or so he had been standing.
She of course then went and brought the cat over to check it out. Once he realized the snake moved when he batted at it, Cooper promptly chased the thing in to the woods.
Thank goodness it was only a garter snake (note on the picture below, it looks a LOT bigger in real life - for those of you also afraid of snakes - you know what I mean).