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Baby and the Boa
by Christine Dorothy

I did not hear of this incident until years later when my mother finally got the courage to tell me. Let me explain. My mother was known as ’Nonna’ to the grandkids.  Since she often said and did things that were bloops and faux pas, the kids came up with an explanation they called the ‘Nonna gene’. Whenever they did something dumb, they would exclaim, “Oh no! I’ve got the Nonna gene!” Here is a case in point. 

One time Mom came to babysit Tyson when he was about five months old.  Tyson’s quiet and accommodating character came through even at this age.  He rarely cried, but he cooed. He was such a good baby.  I was sure Mom could handle him and he wouldn’t give her any grief.  She took him to visit her good friend Lois, her partner in crime and drinking buddy.  Robert, Lois’ son, lived at home, but had left for a few days, leaving his Mom in charge of his Boa constrictor in the basement.  Lois worried that it would get out, but Robert assured her that this was impossible.

When Mom arrived, she put Tyson down in the upstairs bedroom for a nap.  Since she didn’t want him to fall off the bed, she put him comfortably on the floor and left the door open. She then joined Lois in the bright and sunny den that looked out onto the back yard and pool.  There they sipped on a glass of white wine and got caught up on their news.

After a couple of hours, Lois invited Mom to have a look at the Boa in the basement.  Mom was nervous just thinking about it. But down they went into the dark to see this most unusual snake, They could see the looming outline of the cage which became clearer when Lois turned on the light. They crept noiselessly toward the cage so as not to startle it, and peered in. Where could it be now. Don’t quite see it. When they surmised the cage was empty they could feel their blood cool as the horror of the situation gradually dawned on them. 

They raced up stairs, dreading what they might find.  The bedroom door was still ajar, and much like touching a hot stove, they pushed on the door wanting, but not wanting, to discover what they might find.  Much to their relief, Tyson was all in one piece, still sleeping on the floor. But where was the Boa and what were they going to do with it?

They carefully and gratefully closed the door and nervously crept about the upstairs checking for the whereabouts of the creepy beast.

They found it in the next room slithering up on the curtains.  They closed the door, picked up Tyson and gingerly went back to the den. It was time for stiff drink and  a silent promise to be a more vigilant grandmother and keep the Nonna gene at bay.