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Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I don’t know if you knew my cousin Jan or not, but if you didn't I should tell you about him.

When Jan was a little boy, I wouldn't say he was exactly strange, (Colloquial for odd ball,) but he was a little different from other boys. He was a quiet little kid, and hard to converse with. He would chew his fingernails down as far as he could just like his dad. I don’t know if it was in his genes, or just a habit he picked up. Any way both he and his dad would gnaw away on their nails. I always figured that it was their nails and they could do what ever they wanted to with them.

As Jan grew up, he became interested in raising small animals. His folks had some cats, and a monkey, so it was all right with them that he had this hobby.

He began to raise mice, and sold them to pet stores to feed their snakes, and Jan became fascinated with snakes. As he got older he learned how to handle them. He worked for me part of the time but he had a disease called bed-itis which symptoms are, not being able to wake up in time to go to work.

One day he was in my truck and we were on our way to a job when I notice he had a cloth bag, which I though was his lunch. As we rode along I saw the bag begin to move around. My curiosity was erupted, and I asked, what he had in the bag, and he said, “A rattlesnake!” Immediately I put on my brakes, and we had an informative discussion about never bringing along this passenger anymore! He lived in a bad neighborhood, and he explained that this snake was his bodyguard.

He loved to hunt rattlesnakes, and one day up in the hills, there was a house built on stilts on the backside, and you could walk under it. Jan was under it, and the owner saw him demanding to know what he was doing, and Jan said, “I’m looking for snakes.” The owner said there’re no snakes here, and before the owner told him to leave Jan pulled a large rattler from under the house and asked him; what is this? The owner freaked and asked to please remove it from the premises.

While Jan was still living at home; one day his mother thought she heard the shower running upstairs, and that Jan had gone to work without turning it off. When she got upstairs she looked into the shower stall and saw several crates with rattlers in them. What she thought was water running - - was in fact the rattlers shaking their tails.

Jan eventually moved in with his girl friend, into her mother’s basement. He had so many poisonous snakes that the mother would never go down in the basement. For many years he had a python that grew to over 12 feet. One day he decided to take it out into the sun and let it enjoy the warmth outside. Soon a crowd gathered, and started making a lot of noise poking at the python, and the snake began to wrap his coils around Jan and squeeze him. He couldn't get loose from it. Finally several men managed to pull the snake off him. Shortly after this the snake was gone for Jan had sold him.

One more thing I will tell about this boy was the time he bought three black bootleg cobras. They were only about 18 inches long but would rise up with a swelled up neck, and strike at you through the glass cage. He kept these cobras in the basement with the other snakes in glass cages. One night when everyone was gone, someone broke into the house to rob it. It didn’t take them long to realize that they were in a virtual snake pit. Becoming hysterical, and anxious to get out of there, they knocked over, and broke many cages open, including the cobras.

Jan’s girlfriend’s mother was beside herself, and left home until he had gathered up the critters, and caged them again. The next time I saw Jan, was after the break in. He was a bit concerned, because he couldn’t find the cobras no matter how much he looked. He was especially nervous because he slept down there, and the idea those cobras were still loose bothered even him.

Mark says; “They will take up serpents they will not hurt them.”

Paul the apostle had such an event occur when he was bitten by a poisonous viper with no ill effects, when all who witnessed the bite, expected him to die.

I don’t think what Jan was going fit that category. I haven’t seen him for years but I doubt if he has changed at all.

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