Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Snakes and fireworks

Layout 1 (Page 1)Meanwhile, back to life at Lake Tschida. Sax, Kyle, Eric and Kari were visiting last weekend.

Sax noticed that the dogs started barking at something, so he followed them around the corner when he ran into a four foot bull snake. “Snake!” he hollered.

Since Ben and I had seen it a few times this year, we weren’t too worried, but we responded just to make sure that it was the same snake. Sure enuf, it was, and he was under Eric’s, car so we tried to subdue the dogs as we kinda herded on its way. 

Eric and Sax took a few pictures, Kari stayed in the house with Kyle, Ben herded it around the corner with a nine iron and I pretty much went onto other things…

Kinda funny how life doesn’t change much out here. Every time our company sees a bull snake they’re always surprised that we don’t kill them. Little do they know that every time we see a bull snake we’re praying for truth in the knarred that says bull snakes keep rattle snakes away.  

Our leniency towards bull snakes goes back to my dad. Back in the ’80s, my dad retired our here at Lake Tschida, and I remember one night we hosted the neighborhood for dinner.

There were probably 25 people over for evening libations when this 5-foot bull snake slithered onto the scene and spooked most of the women in the crowd. Dad, in his inimitable style, picked up the snake by its tail and began to spin it in circles above his head while walking down the hill toward a gully and saying as loud as he could, “I told you not to come around here during cocktail time!”

Then there was that time we discovered that snakes climb trees. Ben came around the corner and smacked his face into a large bull snake dangling from a branch in a pine tree. He was a bit stunned, and so were the rest of us. Enuf about our animal and insect neighbors.

Summer’s underway, and after an incredibly wet winter, America’s about to once again celebrate its independence. Been an interesting couple hundred years as we swing from a revolutionary war, where we fought off the British, to today, where we seem to be defending ourselves from each other.

For some odd reason there’s a lot of folks out there who think that their way is the only way, and they need to pass a law so that the rest of us have to go along with whatever they were complainin’ about in the first place… and when you start thinking about such maneuvers, it really is amazing that America has made it this far.

Winston Churchill once said that you can always rely on America to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else… and little did we know that he wasn’t kidding.

So it’s going to be interesting to see how the recent bottle rocket ban imposed by the recent legislative session and adjusted by our city commission will go over. As I understood, under the new law its okay to posses bottle rockets, but not sell them. Kinda like saying it’s that you’re just a little bit pregnant.

Bottle rockets and fireworks have been as much a part of life around here as apple pie and motherhood… and as always some folks don’t like them, so they decided it was time to meddle with the law. So rather than outlaw, them the legislature and the Mandan City Commission pretended they did something and sent the complainers on their way. It’ll be interesting to see how the law’s enforced.

Like most folks around here, we plan to not only posses bottle rockets but we’re gonna light them up too… and, of course, my next note could come from jail, but sometimes that’s what happens when you celebrate your independence.

Here’s hoping you’re able to find a way to express yourself when you feel the need… and remember to share some of your bounty with your animal and insect neighbors… even if you don’t care much for what’s in the neighborhood.