Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Rattlesnake!

When I was in first grade, we lived in an old neighborhood in Silver Spring , Maryland that was adjacent to the Walter Reed U.S. Army Annex(WRAA - part of the Army's medical center.) It was an old soldier's home and used as base housing and training exercise encampment. At the time, anyone could walk all over the place. My friends and I would spend any sunny day we could scavenging for things all around the base and the surrounding woods. We would find Cavalry patches, spent bullet cartridges, army hats, and various army field manuals. Local National Guard units would train at WRAA on the weekends.

For a six year old , I was quite adventurous -- I'd be gone for hours and somehow my parents just knew that I was alright and that I would come home when I was hungry. One of the coolest things we had found was a "field map" of the base that was used for training. It marked all sorts of arms and explosives caches of the suppossed enemy on the base. The kids and I pretended it was a treasure map and set out on "occasional missions" to search out the sites depicted on the map. Once, on an adventure of this sort, while searching the woods, we found a very large sock that "jingled" -- the kids speculated that it contained a rattle snake! They wanted to leave it. I wasn't going to look inside of it but somehow knew I should take it home. Finders... Keepers. It was quite heavy and jangled the whole walk home. I remember one of my little buddies berated me for taking it home saying that my daddy was going to give me a spanking for bringing a "Rattle Snake" to the house. But, I quietly thought to myself that it couldn't be a snake. How could a nake live in a sock? Even with my slight doubt... I was still to afraid to look inside. So, when I got home I left the sock on the porch for my dad to discover... kind of like a cat dropping a mouse and slinking away. Dad came home late from work that evening. My mom made dinner for me early, and I, being was too tired from my "big day in the woods," went up to bed without telling her about "big find." It sat on the porch until the next morning. As my dad was leaving for work, he stepped on it and fell right on his backside. After a few moments, I heard him yell for my mom to come quickly. She ran to the front door and to her surprize their was a pile of coins on the ground. "Well," he asked her, "can you tell me about this?" She just shrugged her shoulders. Then, she yelled for me. I hadn't really yet awaken from my much needed sleep but I can tell you, at that moment, I was quickly alert and knew exactly what the yell ing was for -- they had discovered my snake. I sheepishly walked out the door and... there it was the biggest treasure I had ever seen!

The sock contained an old bank bag with $66.25 in coinage -- alot of silver! I told my parents about finding it in the woods with my friends. My dad thought that by its condition and the dates on the coins that it had been there for at least ten years. He called the bank, the old Union Trust Bank, about their bank bag containing the coins. They said that they hadn't any reports of missing coins. So, It was mine to keep. Half was put in a savings account and the rest I can tell you was very well spent!

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