Southern Immigrants Meet Poison

Snake_Cottonmouth,_Agkistrodon_piscivorus_by_Scott_Zona

Sometimes you can feel like an immigrant in your own country. We’d just moved from Maine to North Carolina. For our first Southern vacation, we decided to go to the Outer Banks—the North Carolina National Seashore. We’d tour Nags Head and Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers launched the first plane.

We brought our four children under six, so we rented a cottage for a week. We brought a playpen for the baby. He reached through the bars to munch sand.

One day we decided to visit the lighthouse at the National Seashore. I couldn’t seem to find everyone’s shoes. Having spent my summers on Maine beaches where it’s an act of bravery to dip your big toe into the ocean, I thought, Oh well, who needs shoes at the beach?

I realized my mistake the moment I stepped out of the car. OUCH! We Southern pioneers felt like Indian fakirs on hot coals

“I’ll scout out some shade,” husband Mike said. He loped ahead. We climbed in and out of our overheating car and watched him navigate the sandy terrain dotted with scrub pines.

He beckoned to us as he returned. From fifty feet away we danced toward him on the burning sand

“I’ve found a spot of shade,” he said as we approached. His voice dropped when he pointed to a sign. “This is the best I could find.”

What a welcoming oasis, I thought. We reached the shade in front of the scrub pine. Then I read the sign:

HOME OF THE COTTONMOUTH MOCCASIN.

 Have you ever done anything this stupid?

Photo credit: scott zoma, Courtesy, Wiki Commons

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