News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

November 12, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Even mild forecast can give you the shivers

TERRE HAUTE — The local weather report the other evening included a bit of folklore. Our weather guru said that the story is that if snakes have not crawled off to winter quarters by late October, we were in for a mild winter.

I was sorry to hear that snakes are still out there enjoying the autumn weather. I hate having a walk in the woods spoiled by a chance encounter. A sudden slither through the leaves makes my blood run colder than anything winter can throw at me. I’d trade a cold winter for the assurance that snakes have holed up and I can only wish the move were permanent.

Don’t bother to tell me that snakes don’t like me any better than I like them. I concede that I intrude on their territory. I suppose snakes are as anxious to avoid a chance encounter as I am, but …

My history with snakes began when I was about five years old and Dad ran over a rattlesnake. He stopped the car, got out and, with his pocket knife, cut the rattles off as a souvenir. He had that ghastly reminder in his desk until the day he died.

Then there was the garden snake Mom shook out of her skirts. I am sure her screams still echo down the valley at Apple River Canyon.

Our home in Yorkville overlooked Blackberry Creek, a site apparently favored by the creatures. They haunted our swimming hold at the foot of the hill and, occasionally, paid a visit to our chicken house. They could almost always be found sunning themselves in our rock garden.

Number One son found a snake when we visited my Aunt Ethel on the banks of the Mississippi River in Iowa. He insisted on bringing it home, and I spent a nervous night in the motel hoping “it” was not able to slip off the lid on the coffee can Aunt Ethel had provided. I drew the line at a snake in the house and, when last seen, it was wriggling off into the wilds at a strip pit lake.

I pass over my horror when a boa constrictor as thick as a tree made a move when I was taken to the snake house at Brookfield Zoo. It was caged, but I thought it was a fake snake big enough to eat anything, including me.

And now I’m told they are still out there predicting a mild winter. Personally, I’d settle for a real cold snap. Any day now would be fine.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Liz Ciancone
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Attacks Escalate Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Neighbors Mourn Killing of Texas Family World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine 'Game of Thrones' Leads Emmy Nominees Raw: Funeral in Gaza for Family of 8 Raw: Rescuers Push Beached Whale Back to Ocean
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010