Although all of my friends are distinctive, I have a friend who is even more unique than most. He has a passion that most over-the-hill parents hate! He has an obsession for snakes! The bigger the better; the fatter, the more appealing; the longer, the more delightful!
Is it any wonder that when he went to South America as a student missionary, he couldn’t resist obtaining two Boa Constrictors and a Toucan? I’m still not sure how the Toucan came into the mix, but that’s another story!
My friend’s only problem was this: how to get his new “pets” back home to Arkansas! The day of his return finally arrived, and my friend found himself sitting on an airplane with two huge straw laundry baskets on one side, and a bird cage draped with a sheet on the other. He had placed his Boas at the bottom of the laundry basket, and to make things look less conspicuous, he then filled the basket with-imagine this-laundry! How original!
For some reason, his assigned seat mates apparently found seats elsewhere. I wonder if it had anything to do with the moving laundry. But surely not. After all, doesn’t laundry naturally move… when it’s in the washing machine?
For once, the plane arrived on time, and my friend’s parents waited anxiously for their son to pass through customs. When the other passengers on the plane came and went however, and there was no sign of their son, they couldn’t help but ask themselves if he had missed his plane! Then one last passenger exited customs grumbling about some mad man back there who had tried to bring Boa Constrictors on the plane . . . The parents had to smile. They no longer doubted their son’s safe arrival…
Back in the custom’s area however, the border inspector wasn’t quite as quick to smile. You see, something was just not right about that laundry basket, and he made the mistake of sticking in his hand to further inspect the situation. Imagine his surprise to find that the laundry was… slimy! And… and… slivering… Wait a minute! Slivering? Laundry isn’t supposed to be slivering!
“What’s in this basket?” He exclaimed.
Imagine his surprise to discover the two snakes.
The Toucan faired a bit better. When the inspector opened its cage for a health inspection, it simply flew away. You can just imagine how amused the inspector must have been as he tried to catch the impetuous bird!
Somehow my friend and his prized pets made it through inspection. Much to the dismay of the horrified parents…
“Welcome back home son! . . . Uh . . . We think!”
Have you ever had days like that?
“Some trust in [snakes] and some in [Toucans] (the original text does say “chariots and horses”), but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Ps 20:7 NIV)
I wouldn’t have liked to be that border inspector, but one thing I know for sure, I will never be disappointed when I put my sole trust on the Lord! No nasty surprises with Him!
Would you like a laundry-covered Boa Constrictor, by any chance?
P.S. This story happened in the 70s and quarantine had been enforced before my friend was able to bring his “pets” home.
(To access the entire “The Slimy, Slithering, Beady-Eyed, Forked-Tonged Serpent” devotional series, please click here.)