Unexpected guest slithers in to make a surprise appearance NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

NEIGHBORS

October 01, 1993|By LOURDES SULLIVAN

We don't own "pets," for a variety of reasons: philosophical dislike of imprisoning animals, a very hectic schedule, assorted allergies, assorted phobias.

But we do have some "verbally challenged tenants." Among them are rabbits, goldfish, an assortment of cats (and, we're happy to say, no more kittens), toads and a hermit crab. Only the crab was allowed in the house -- until last week.

Now, I like cuddly critters, small, warm, furry animals that play. This does not describe reptiles. It especially does not describe snakes.

I know, good Earth Mother-type that I am, that a snake in the yard is a sign of a healthy garden. I know that snakes eat rodents, my least-favorite mammals. Nevertheless, I don't want a snake in my kitchen -- which is where my sister Rosy found one last week.

She screamed (my husband's report), then began thinking that the snake would be of interest to her son and to her kindergarten class (Rosy's report).

I was at the mall at the time. Mark, my husband, drew the short straw and was elected to tell me upon my return that we had a snake, safely ensconced in the old aquarium.

What could I do? Could I allow myself to be cast in the role of hysterical female, swearing that either the snake goes or I do? (I'm not sure they wouldn't have bought me a hotel room for the night.) Would I find plastic snakes in my bed for the next decade, as assorted young relatives entered and exited adolescence?

So, I choked back my terror, and said merely that, although I wasn't happy with the snake's new temporary address, it could stay the night and go to one of the schools.

We later learned, to our chagrin, that Rosy's school in Prince George's wouldn't accept the snake -- apparently, all snakes must come from licensed and reputable herpetologists. And that's where things remained last Friday when Mark and I went away for the weekend.

When we returned on Sunday, we couldn't see the snake in the aquarium, though my nephew claimed he saw it under the water bowl. That night the aquarium went on the porch. By morning the lid was ajar and the snake was gone.

Now, I did not touch the aquarium. And I am convinced of my

family's compassionate regard for my feelings. Which means I'm suspicious that the snake actually disappeared from the porch Sunday night. Could it be that my family discovered the snake missing before putting the aquarium on the porch -- and, for my sanity's sake, made up the tableau with the lid ajar on Monday morning? My family is like that.

I'll just believe that somewhere in the bottom of the garden a juvenile black rat snake is regaling his fellow snakes with the Adventure of the Kitchen, before settling in for a long winter's nap. And I devoutly hope this scene is not playing in the rafters.

*

This is a good weekend to spend at the Savage Volunteer Fire Company. For openers, County Executive Charles Ecker will be there Saturday morning. He'll be available to anyone who stops by with a question or comment about local issues.

So, if you have a question about development, recreation programs, school services, the new library, golf courses, the renovations and construction on Route 1, the closing of the exit ++ ramp from Route 32, your property taxes, the new high schools or whatever, here's a chance to ask the man in charge.

Dr. Ecker will be at the fire station, 8925 Lincoln St., Savage, from 10 a.m. to noon.

*

The Savage fire station will hold an open house Oct. 3 for the community. Members of the volunteer and career companies and the emergency medical technicians invite the public to see how the firehouse staff protects our lives, our health and our property.

Unless you're a member of a Scout troop, you probably won't get many chances to visit a fire station other than at this open house, the first in the county this year. Come by between noon and 4 p.m. to see how firemen work and live.

*

Bollman Bridge Elementary School students have met the challenge posed by the principal, Glenn Heisey, and vice principal, Maria McNelis. The challenge: If the students met the goal of $29,000 in the PTA's annual fund-raiser, the two administrators would come to work in their pajamas.

Well, break out the teddy bears, the kids came through! The administrators kept their part of the bargain yesterday.

This season, the well-dressed principal sports scarlet and forest green, plaid two-piece pajamas. For contrast and warmth, he tops this with a blue, calf-length robe. Slippers adorned with Disney's "Goofy" complete his fall ensemble.

For vice principals, an elegant pajama set featuring a repeating print of the season's most important animal -- the duck -- represents the height of fashion.

*

Lori Speelman, a fifth-grade teacher at Bollman Bridge, has won the title "Teacher of the Year, Elementary Division," awarded by the Howard County Soil Conservation District for environmental awareness.

She wrote an ecology lesson plan for her class and co-chaired the ecology committee at the school last year. She and the rest of the committee sponsored an Ecology Fair at the school last April.

Art teacher Jennifer Caples, a fourth-year teacher at Bollman Bridge, has been named New Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Art Education Association. She'll receive her award at a reception at the Maryland Institute College of Art later this month.

Congratulations!

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