Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Experiences: Max, Neville, me, the EK Holden & the carpet snake!

My dad was the Grand Secretary of the RAOB in Queensland. (The Buffalo Lodge)  Because of this he used to go to a lot of Lodge meetings all over the place. (And I used to go to a lot of lodge XMAS trees every year... lots of presents for this young boy) Anyhow, dad had a mate who was also a Buff. Charlie Freeman was a banana farmer from Beechmont on the Gold Coast hinterland. And as Charlie had rainforest all around him, he used to bring my mum staghorns every time he visited us.

The year is 1962 and both dad and Charlie drive EK Holdens. And they have to fly to PNG for a lodge meeting. Charlie drives to Brisbane and leaves his car here in our front yard. He tells mum on arrival he has a new staghorn for her. So mum and I go out to his car. He opens the boot and immediately slams it shut. Now mum was from the bush, she knew right away! “Snake in there Charlie?” “Yes May”, came the reply. It seems Charlie had left the boot open the night before after loading the plant into the car and a large carpet python had slithered in!

“We’ll get the plant in the morning when the carpet snake is cold and sleepy.”  Well that was the plan. 

Morning dawns.. 

Charlie extracts the staghorn and leaves the snake in the boot. 


Mum is not happy Jan!

Charlie and dad fly off to PNG and leave the snake-mobile in the front yard. 

Mum is terrified, "What if it gets out? What if it has babies? What if they eat my dog? Or Mark????"

This is actually what she said on the phone to my eldest brother Neville when she asked him to come and kill the poor snake.

So Neville and also brother Max come to sort out the problem. 

Armed with the proverbial selection of blunt instruments they tentatively open the boot. 

No snake!

I lean into the boot and look.... no snake! 

All of a sudden Max picks up this 9 year old and hurls him into the boot and slams the lid! 

God did I scream!

And over my own screaming and locked in that boot I could hear my mother wailing at Max for doing such a foolish thing!

The boot lid opens; daylight floods in and Neville reaches in and hauls me out. 

I stand there whimpering.. we all look into the boot .. still no snake.

And then, all of a sudden from the dark depths of that rubber matted boot floor comes the bloody snake! 

He is in full charge mode aiming for me! 

I am too scared to move. 

Neville springs into action and slams the boot on the poor thing’s neck. 
So try to picture this.... my mother is screaming her lungs out, I am riveted to the spot and a large carpet snake with his jaws open about 100mm from my face is trying ever so hard to bight me!

He cannot move as he is trapped by the boot lid!

Again Neville quickly moves me out of the way. 

Then he and Max “convert” the snake into an ex snake.

And the wash up on all of this....

Charlie comes back and is really upset mum has dispatched his snake.

To this day there is a rusty kerosene tin buried in our back yard with a carpet snake in it. (In case the dog dug it up you see)

I am absolutely terrified of bloody snakes!

Max and I do talk. Actually we are close and used to be in business together.

And talk about karma... Max retired to Maleny where an Eastern Brown Snake tried to nail him one day. About 7 hits on him; on the end of his steel capped boot. Covered in venom it was, but none of it in Max. He was holding a hose at the time and eventually hosed the snake and it left.

As for EK Holdens..... have never, ever opened a boot on one in case it was Charlie’s old car!

An EK Holden.. just like Charlie's