Snakey’s Going Home Song
Oh, give me a home
Where the wild turkeys roam,
Where Sasha and Craig like to play.
Where sometimes is heard
A chirping osprey bird
And live chat is on all the day.
Home, home on the range,
Where Craig and Diane cook gourmet meals,
Where spices abound
And auto-tune can’t be found
And I can lie in the sun all the day.
How often at night,
When the Bay was bright
And the osprey chicks rested their heads
Did I sing my lonely song
Wondering where I could belong
And if I would have a home some day.
Home , home on the range,
I now have a place to stay,
A place to call home,
No more to roam,
And never to be sold on Ebay.
I'm just a poor snake stranger,
I'm traveling through that world below;
There is no eel grass, wire or danger,
In that bright world to which I go.
I'm going there to meet Diane and Sasha,
I'm going there no more to roam;
I'm just a going over to Novato,
I'm just a going over home.
I know dark clouds will gather o'er me,
I know I may be rained upon,
But greening hills lie out before me,
And a bright lush green lawn.
I'm going there to see Craigor,
He said he'd meet me when I come;
I'm just a going over to Novato,
I'm just a going over home.
A purple snake lived with bravado
On an osprey nest in El Dorado.
One gray day he fell down
But by Tony was found
Now he’s on the boat to Novato
(Please note that this story is fiction. Only Snakey and Craigor know where the truth lies. And the cap was not red! At least not that year 😀
A young boy named Craig crept downstairs early Christmas morning, before anyone else was awake. Santa had come! In his stocking, he found various goodies. There was an orange and some candy and a can of nuts. When he opened the can of nuts, a toy snake sprang out. The boy laughed aloud. But then he saw there were more presents. On the mantle, a bird with a red beak bobbed up and down over a glass of water. There was also a glass globe with black and white discs revolving slowly. The boy wondered about these toys and the science behind them, but he would consider that later. For under the mantle, on the hearth, he saw more: a game called Shoot the Moon and a long, purple velvet snake with googly eyes. Craig fell in love with the snake immediately. He named it Snakey.
The rest of Christmas Day passed as all Christmas Days, Craig and his sister playing with their toys, family visiting, and a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. That night, the boy got into bed and fell asleep immediately, his new snake friend at his side. And every night after that, the snake slept with the boy.
The snake, of course, was a toy. While the boy loved his snake for many years, and it went on vacation with him to the cabin, it finally fell by the wayside, as the boy grew older and his interests turned to art and music. He learned to play an instrument and he got artists’ pencils to draw. These consumed his waking hours. And finally, one day when he was at camp, his mother was housecleaning and she got rid of Snakey.
Many years later, when Craig was now a man, a little girl named Maria went shopping with her mother. It was the day before Christmas, and the girl’s mother could not afford new toys for her daughter. So she took her to the thrift store. There the girl fell in love with a purple snake. It was old and no longer had any eyes, but Maria didn’t care. She loved it anyway. She tied a red ribbon around its neck, named it Snakey and slept every night with it.
Maria took Snakey everywhere with her, to daycare, to the store, to the park and to the beach where she and her mother liked to walk. And one day, Maria put Snakey down for a moment while she waded in the water. Her mother called to her that it was time to go home. “Ahorita,” her mother admonished. And in that terrible moment, Maria ran to her mother and left Snakey on the beach. Of course, she realized her mistake as soon as she got home, but her mother didn’t have time to take her back to the beach and it was not until her big brother got home that evening that she could return. Alas, Snakey was gone.
Maybe another child took it, her mother said. Or the waves came up and washed him away. We’ll get you another toy, she promised. A new one this time.
Maria couldn’t sleep that night or the next. She thought Snakey had run away and she didn’t know why. Had she made him mad?
Meanwhile, two little osprey chicks had hatched in a nest atop a rusty old crane on the waterfront. Just like Craig and Maria’s parents, the father osprey, whom the humans named Richie, liked to bring gifts to his mate and children. He especially liked red things, so he brought a red cap, a red pennant, a red plant pot. And each of these was rejected by his mate Rosie; she would push the object out of the nest and she took the red cap, flew out over the bay and dropped the cap in the water. But Richie was not discouraged. He would simply go looking for something else. And one day, he found the perfect gift for his two chicks. It was long and would help fence them in. It was purple not red, but it had a red ribbon around its neck. It had a large soft head to use as a pillow. So Richie picked up the snake, which was bigger than he, and flew with it back to the nest.
Rosie seemed to accept the snake. It did make a good fence. And the two chicks liked it. At night, they would snuggle up against its warm body and lay their heads on its soft head. They were unaware of the two human children who had done much the same.
The humans who came to watch the nest became aware of the snake and wondered how it had gotten there. Where had Richie found it? And how did he lug it all the way to the high nest? As the chicks grew older, the snake was moved to the edge of the nest and and forgotten. Soon it dangled over the top and was in danger of falling. But it hung on.
One day, Maria’s mother said, “Let’s go to a different spot today, instead of the beach. I read about a bird nest high on a crane. I would like to see it.”
Well that sounded like fun, so Maria agreed. She didn’t like going to the beach now anyway because it reminded her of Snakey, whom she still missed very much. When they got to the spot, Maria craned her neck to look way up high. There she saw a large bird perched on a railing. That was Rosie. In the nest, Maria saw the head of the young chicks. Suddenly, Maria shouted. “Momma, I see Snakey!”
“Where?” Her mother looked around on the ground.
“Up there, in the nest.”
Her mother looked, but all she saw was a round purple thing and a red ribbon.
“Yes, it looks a bit like Snakey,” she admitted. “But it’s probably just a piece of kelp.The birds like to gather kelp for their nest.”
“No, it is Snakey,” Maria mumbled. But she didn’t argue further; she knew it would do no good. Strangely, it made her feel better to see Snakey there. She didn’t need him anymore, she decided. The chicks were little; they needed a bedtime pillow. They could have Snakey.
A man and a woman came up next to her.
“There are the osprey,” the man told his wife. “That’s Rosie the mother on the railing. And you can just see the heads of the chicks in the nest.” Then he exclaimed, “And I see Snakey!”
“Who?” his wife asked, bewildered.
“Snakey, my pet snake. The one I had when I was a boy. He had googly eyes. I slept with him every night.”
His wife just looked at him. “Craig, that was years ago. How would your snake end up in an osprey nest?”
“I don’t know,” he mumbled. “But it sure looks like him.”
“Excuse me,” Maria said in her bravest, most adult voice. “That isn’t your snake, that is my snake. That’s Snakey. I used to sleep with him. But then I left him on the beach by mistake.”
Craig looked down at the little girl and smiled. “I guess you’re right,” he said. “My Snakey didn’t have a red ribbon and he had googly eyes.” Then he stopped, thinking.
“He was probably new when you got him?” he asked tentatively.
Maria shook her head. “No, Momma couldn’t afford that so we went to the thrift store.”
“Hold on,” Craig said. He took out his cell phone and placed a call. “Hi, Mom,” he said. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just have a question. Do you remember that purple snake I had as a child? I don’t suppose you remember what you did with him?” There was a pause. “No, I’m not still mad. I was just wondering whether you threw him away or what. I never asked.” There was another pause. “You gave him to the thrift store? Which one. Yeah, yeah, really? Okay, thanks Mom.” Another pause. “Nothing, I was just wondering. No, I’m not excited. I know it was a long time ago. Listen, Mom, I have to go. I’ll call you later. “
Craig turned to Maria’s mother. “Did you buy Snakey at the store on the corner by the grocery?”
She nodded. “Yes, that store is so old. I think it has been there forever.”
“As long as I have,” Craig answered. He turned to Maria. “I think that is my Snakey and your Snakey,” he said. “He once had eyes but somehow he lost them. I don’t know how he got the red ribbon.”
“I gave it to him,” Maria said.
“And now he belongs to the osprey chicks,” Craig mused. “I wonder what they call him.”
“Snakey,” Maria answered. She didn’t have to guess. She just knew. What else would you call a pet snake? “Where do you think he’ll go next?” she asked.
“Who knows?” Craig answered with a far off look in his eyes. His wife and Maria’s mother just looked at each other, smiled and shook their heads.
This story is fiction and just for fun. While Snakey was a fun item in the nest, in general items made by humans are not good for the ospreys. Nets, plastic sheeting, wire, fishing line and other human made items endanger the birds. Please dispose properly of any trash when you are by the bay.