Once upon a time there was a wife who loved her family very much. Her husband worked hard and provided well so she was able to stay at home to take care of their children. Because she felt such gratitude for her husband she decided to mow the back yard so he could come home from work and relax.
Now the lot the house sat on was a fairly large lot. Some might even say they had “land” because it measured a fourth of an acre. The town in which they lived had a law that said land owners may have one horse for each acre. The wife amused herself greatly with the thought they could own a quarter horse since they had a quarter of an acre.
The husband, being manly and riddled with testosterone, thought they needed a riding mower. The wife, being much more practical and grounded, thought it was silly, though the idea of driving an almost-tractor did sound fun.
This particular day she walked out the back door and, as she headed to the lawn mower, caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. When she looked closer she realized it was a snake, quietly slithering toward the deck she stood on. Not inclined toward dramatics, still the wife squeaked and ran inside to call the man she called hero. Her husband.
But alas, he was no longer in his office given it was lunch time. She left this frantic message on his voice mail: “Are there any good black snakes?” then hung up. As she waited for the husband to call her back she watched intently for the cold reptile through the bay window of the dining room. The last thing she saw was a shiny, dark tail as the offending creature slid under the deck.
When, after several minutes, the husband didn’t return her call she thought it best to page him – this being before he had been issued a cell phone. The husband and the wife had a code amongst them to alert the husband if the wife was in a true emergency. After leaving the phone number on the pager she was to add 911. Believing this was not a true emergency but an almost emergency, the wife entered 910, that number being almost 911. Unfortunately, the wife was so anxious she did not realize she had entered her phone number incorrectly.
The husband, being in a hurry to catch up with his co-workers for lunch, had listened to the voice mail but did not consider it to be critical. When he received the bewildering page while at the restaurant, however, he became concerned that a venomous snake had bitten his wife and already the delirium had set in.
Even though mobile phones were commonplace at this time, nobody at his table seemed to carry one. So he appealed to the good graces of the restaurant manager to let him use the phone for an emergency. But the manager was of a bad ilk and had no good graces, directing the husband to a pay phone in the entry way of the restaurant.
The husband had no change on him, thought thankfully was able to scrounge some up from his friends. Fearing the worst as he called home, he was greatly relieved when he found out the wife had not been bitten by the snake. His relief was replaced with huge guffaws as she explained why she used 910 as opposed to 911 and at that moment he vowed never to let the story die. In fact the husband was in a terrible hurry to get back to his table and share the tale with his friends.
After assurances from the husband that it was a garden snake and perfectly harmless, the wife decided to risk everything and mow the lawn as originally planned. This, however, meant she would have to walk across the deck the serpent had slithered under. Being an intelligent woman and having seen Anaconda, the wife knew the snake was capable of bursting through the decking, biting her heel and dragging her down into the bug infested great abyss beneath the porch.
But the wife’s love for the husband overrode her mounting dread so she ran down the steps, jumping as far onto the deck as possible and clearing it in two bounds. She sought refuge on the seat of the hulking lawn mower and managed her passes by the deck on the side opposite the clutch so she was able to lift her foot high, rendering an ankle attack useless.