MY MOST RECENT SNAKE ENCOUNTERS

by
Warren F. O'Rourke
Birmingham, Alabama
e-mail: wofo@hotmail.com
October 14, 2011

Recently I had been standing in line for four-and-a-half hours to renew my car tags. I was physically and mentally exhausted. So as soon as I escaped the court house, I impulsively decided to go on an impromptu snake-hunting expedition.

I had five snake encounters in that one search. Not with living, slithering, striking serpents, but with graphic representations of snakes that I never would have noticed if I were not paying attention and luckily blundering into some places I guessed might be art-snakey.

. My first search area was the valet parking lot of the luxurious Tutwiler Hotel in downtown Birmingham where I spotted a bright red Alfa-Romeo. On closer inspection I noticed that the logo on that immensely expensive car was almost half-devoted to a stylized green snake wearing a stylized royal crown. (See image above.)

Encouraged by my first success, I was alertly looking for likely places to find any art-snakes that might lie along my route back to the suburbs. So I stopped at a barber shop in Woodlawn whose owner displays all sorts of memorabilia in his shop, including an extensive collection of children's metal lunch boxes from the 1950's and 1960's. He didn't have any lunch boxes with snakes on them, but I did find a book there about collecting lunch boxes from which I collected a photo of an English-made box with a great red, black, and white snake on it. (See image above.)

Two successes so far! So naturally I stopped at a church kindergarten to see if any snake drawings were displayed. (Fortunately the people at the kindergarten knew me, and so they let me take a quick walk down their long hallway where the little kids display their art work.) Success #3! (See image above.)

My next stop was at the Pinnacle Shopping Center in Trussville. There I found the car pictured above. It's apparently known as a Shelby Super Snake. It has a chrome cobra displayed on the left front quarter panel. Success #4!

When I stopped for gas on Old Springville Road, a huge bearded guy with a pony tail was at the next pump fueling up his motorcycle. On one of his massive, tanned biceps I could see a really scary rattlesnake tattoo. (See image above.) Success #5! But the look he gave me when I pointed a camera at him was the most threatening thing that happened during my snake hunt. I snapped a shot from inside the car, and hastily drove away.

As I have pointed out elsewhere, your chances of encountering either real or graphic snakes seem to be increasing nowadays. And, while my interest in snakes strikes some people as weird or silly, one thing is certain:

There are plenty of snakes out there, friends! Just pay attention and you will see them all around you.

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(If you want to see an extensive collection of snake images, please click on this link.)
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