Sunday, June 15, 2008

Snakeless in Omaha

With gas prices being so cheap, we decided to drive to Omaha, Nebraska to see my sister. Her husband goes to Creighton University. Also, our favorite college team made it to the college world series (I am from Tallahassee) and we thought it would be cool to see them play in one of the biggest events in college sports. Our team lost badly, but the college world series experience was something that I would recommend to anyone, sports fan or otherwise. It is an incredible event (pageant). When I first walked into Rosenblatt Stadium the evening before the game and saw the field, it looked like an extremely well-cared-for golf green. I could literally feel the history of college baseball all around me.
The stadium shares a parking lot with the Omaha Zoo so we hit the zoo as well. The Omaha Zoo is one of the best zoos we have ever visited. Every exhibit was amazing. Utah's Hogle Zoo just doesn't compare.
The two days before the game, which was on Saturday, we spent hanging out with my sister and her husband. They showed us around Omaha. I did not realize that the Missouri River separated Omaha from Iowa. We spent a lot of time around the river walk area. There had been tornados and severe weather the day before and there was a large amount of debris floating down the river, including whole trees. We looked for snakes (when I say we, I mean mostly me) and found some shedded snake skin, but no snakes. The next morning, my brother-in-law and I went snake hunting. He is not into snakes and may have been asked secretly by my wife to go with me to make sure that I did not get lost. My wife does things like that. I told my brother-in-law that we needed to go to a wooded area that had a stream and he suggested a place that he had been to. When we got there, I could tell that the area was probably too developed for finding snakes, but there was a creek and woods like I had asked for and we had limited time, so off we went. My brother-in-law kept asking questions about what I was doing as I broke apart rotten logs and lifted rocks. I gave him a nature lesson as far as I knew how. He seemed a little concerned when we came to a large tree that had had the bark stripped off it up to about 7 feet. This tree was in the middle of some dense vegetation and it looked like we might have been the first people to have gotten that far into that area of the woods, at least for some time. I told him that I didn't see any bear claw marks on the tree and that seemed to ease his mind. We searched the entire area. I then asked an old man who was trimming some weeds near the beginning of the jog path if he had seen any snakes. He asked if I was really looking for snakes, like I was kidding him or something. It turned out that two women had seen a 6-foot snake (likely a Gopher Snake)near where we were looking the day before. I asked him what time of day they had seen it and he said about 10:30am. It wasn't even 8:00am when we were searching, but that news really gave me some encouragement. We then walked around searching carefully until I could tell that my brother-in-law became certain about my insanity. It would have been so nice to have found a milksnake or something, but in a way I usually hope not to find a snake that is too cool. That is because I will then have to talk my wife into letting me keep it. She has actually tried to get me to sign a contract stating that I will not under any circumstance acquire any more reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, etc., etc. I have refused to sign the contract to this point and have chosen to negotiate in other ways.
On the way back from Omaha I saw a lot of places that would be sure to yield snakes, but I just couldn't bring myself to ask my wife to wait while I disappeared into the woods only to return with the something she hates most in the world. We must have a really good working relationship to put aside differences like we have.