Shannon Bardwell: Annie, get your guns

May 21, 2011 10:36:00 PM

Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]


Sometimes I wonder what the neighbors might think, but not much. I needed Sam quick while he was mowing the dam on the other side of the lake, so I ran to the house and grabbed two guns, a .22 and a .30-06. I didn''t know what was what, except that the .22 would get off one shot, kinda like Barney Fife, then jam. I ran to the lake waving two rifles over my head, one in each hand. Surely I looked deranged.  


Knowing that any idiot could use a gun and that I was no exception, I took a chance and fired one into the air. I forgot Sam''s warning about firing a gun in the air. "What goes up must come down," he said, "so fire into the dam because the bullet has to come down somewhere."  


Anyway, the gun jammed after the first shot, so I knew it was the .22 and was now useless to me. Sam didn''t hear the shot, nor did he see me waving the rifles. It was all up to me. 


Minutes before, Jack, the deaf cat, and I walked to the garden and, as we approached, the bluebirds were causing a ruckus. I figured it was about me and Jack, but soon I could see that it wasn''t us that concerned the frantic bluebirds.  


Just outside the birdhouse opening, a snake was coiled around a baby bluebird. Jack was unaware of the snake and decided to join the fray. No snakes allowed, not good ones, not bad ones, not any ones, so this was life or death ... for the snake. 


I grabbed a hoe and a water bottle. I squirted Jack, who was enthralled with the bluebirds, until he realized he was being sprayed and spotted the snake. Jack leapt up and over the fence and disappeared. Now it was just me, the snake, and a baby bird that was counting on me. Mom and Dad bluebird were squawking and diving in and out in a flurry. 


I raised the hoe over my head; I hated getting that close, the snake was all snaked up around the bluebird and buried in thick Carolina jasmine. I brought the hoe down hard with a thud. The baby bird fell loose; I grabbed the bluebird carried it to safety and returned to search for the snake; it was nowhere to be found. 


Not satisfied, I ran to the house and found my old BB pistol, I loaded it with a new CO2 cylinder and checked for BBs. At the garden, I unloaded the BBs on the Carolina jasmine. 


Within minutes all was quiet. I saw the mother bird hopping across the ground with grub in her mouth. The baby bird hopped away in front of her. I imagined her motherly concern, "Honey, just eat something you''ll feel better." 


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie. Her e-mail is [email protected]

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.