I visited Chris at her new trailer (old trailer, really) and she fixed a Birthday dinner for me. It was wild. Her husband was there, on his good behavior, and fell asleep in his chair before we had the cake. She'd fixed a meatloaf with bits of green peppers and onion in it with a nice red sauce on top that was real good, baked potatoes, and cauliflower with a cheese sauce. She'd set the plates on a dinky little table with three chairs, one against the window with no room to move it out. I couldn't see how we'd all fit around it in the unused space. She didn't intend to eat there -- just serve there. She'd baked four potatoes, and had set out four plates. We all dipped up, and I looked at the plate still there, wondering if she were expecting someone else (flashbacks to all the bad set-ups I'd ever been in on...) But she said, "Now, why did I do that? I baked four potatoes, too." She was truly puzzled.
"The kids," Craig suggested.
"Well, when the children were home, there were four of you, so it probably seemed natural."
"If everyone has what they need, we'll go in the living room to eat."
Nobody had anything to drink until after everything was eaten, including dessert.
We ate sitting in front of the snake cages that ran all along one wall in the living room. She has two 14' or so boa constrictors, a dark colored male and one she is SURE is a female that is a redder shade and very pretty. Then the three pythons... Oscar, the grump, who bit her hand once and drew blood, getting the fingers and everything half way up her palm into his mouth, then spit her out, (he's for sale for $100 and is about 10' long), the original one, (her "love'") who is always well-behaved, and as long as the trailer hall and soaks in the bath tub, and the new one, Goggley-eyes, who is YELLOW and white -- red eyes, an albino. Cool looking. He/she is only about 5', and really active.
She also has a tarantula that is as big as my palm, four year old... They watched as we ate. We watched them, too...
At one point, Chris said, "(I forgot the big one's name) loves it when Alisha sits there (pointing to the chair I was in, the one closest to the biggest python's cage). She always opens the cage and lets him crawl out right over her on his way down the hall."
Looking at the stained paper he was resting on, I decided NOT to try that experience this trip. Not that I'm squeamish...
At her direction, I moved to the couch before she opened his cage, but then he didn't want to come out. She put him on the floor, and he tried to climb back into the cage. She cleaned up the papers he'd been on, laying fresh ones, and he was ready to get right back on them, too. She feeds him one rabbit a month, and he'd "just eaten" two or so days ago, so that was just urine that he'd been laying in. We could see the lump that was the rabbit, worked almost all the way back to where it would exit and "resemble a cow pie in both size and consistency." He was decidedly NOT into a trip down the hall to soak off the urine. I was trying to visualize how long he'd be all stretched out. I don't think her hall would completely do it.
She helped him back inside, where within a minute or two he proceeded to make a huge PLUUUPF sound. OH, YES, the rabbit! I was SO GLAD he was back in his cage, not on the carpet.
When he was safely locked away, she used a pillow to block Oscar and took Googley Eyes out. She did not totally let him go, but he had a lot of freedom, coming within an inch of my shoe many times, but not touching me, which he did with her. She played with him loose for about 20 minutes before he was locked back up.
She had lots of her taxidermy work up all around -- two tiny bats, I forget what kind, a crow, a gorgeous pheasant, a few smaller birds in a tableau on the opposite side of the room from the snake cages, the obligatory deer head on the end wall, sticking out so far that the snake's cage nearly bumped it. A badger, (I think...), and many styrofoam models to "dress" when people showed up with the proper varmints along with lots of interesting looking pieces of equipment stuffed the space in the "taxidermy room" (originally the small bedroom).
All the furniture had "animal" skin colored throws on them. (Not real pelts, however).
Just before I left, her cat put his entire leg up to the elbow under the living room door. She let him in, and was he ever affectionate. After she'd made over him, he boldly came over to inspect me.
Right after she described what he'd do when he came my way, he proceeded to do it. He threw himself down on my foot after rubbing my leg repeatedly, then somersaulted. Soon he was up under my hand, which knows how to pet a cat. He was purring and rubbing rolling all over the couch, even presenting his belly to me. She got down a feather and bone toy, which he ignored. She commented that he knew a good petter when he met one.
When I asked what happened when cat met snake, she said at first when he came, he'd been afraid of them, but now he'd swat them with his (declawed) front paws, but she did not let him around Oscar, whom she was afraid would hurt him before she could rescue him.
It was an interesting evening, all in all.