He played with a water moccasin to prove he was a man

Lefty Graves

**This article is based on nonfiction by actual events witnessed firsthand by me; used with permission.

On vacation with my soon-to-be-ex and several of his children from a previous marriage, we went to an area with a beautiful creek. As we set up our campsite, my ex decided to take a walk with one of his children.

When they returned to camp, my bonus son told me, “daddy played with the snake.” I was slightly alarmed as I knew that there were water moccasins in the area. So I queried my young bonus son further. My young bonus son saw a snake as we discussed what sort of snake his father was playing with.

He pointed it out to me and said, “Just like that one right there.” I looked closely at the snake and found out it was a water moccasin. My young bonus son said that his father picked the snake up from its neck and then pretended to kiss it. Then his father tossed the snake into an area of the creek where we were camping at.

To say I was horrified is an understatement. My sweet young bonus son was concerned. Later I asked my young bonus son why his father did that; my sweet young bonus son told me that “daddy was showing me that a man isn’t scared of anything.” I quietly told my young bonus son that there is a difference between scared and wise.

Later I confronted his father regarding the incident. I told my soon-to-be ex-husband that I didn’t think that pretending to kiss snakes to prove he is a man was a wise idea; what if my young bonus son had done this and been bitten?!

I explained to my young bonus son that snakes prefer to be left alone, and it’s always wise to give them a wide berth. I also told my young bonus son that if he sees snakes in the wild, stop and allow the snake to go on its way.

I was very mindful of snakes for the rest of the trip. I made sure to check my sleeping bag and other belongings carefully before I picked anything up. I’m still shocked that my ex would do such a thing just to prove to his young son that he is a man. I hope that I at least instilled some wisdom into my young bonus son. What would you have done if it were you?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming & more. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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