This piece is inspired by a true story about our little neighbor Dalilah and the egg she found and showed my children on an unlikely Tuesday afternoon.
The only thing that Dalilah Faye knew about eggs was that they grew in a nest and they tasted best when scrambled with ketchup.
So when she found a baby egg sitting on the front porch outside she didn't know quite what to think. At first, she thought it was an abandoned Easter egg because there was no nest to be found. But then she remembered it was only March 14th and Easter was almost exactly 1 month away, so it couldn't be that. Also, the egg was tiny, so there was no way a piece of candy would fit inside. It looked about the size of a grape, but not a big ripe grape, more like the runt-of-the-family-type grape.
Dalilah looked around nervously and tugged at the ends of her hair. She did that whenever she got anxious about something, like that one time Barney (the biggest dog on the block) came running from out of no where and chased her all the way to her front door.
Whenever Dalilah started tugging at her hair, her mother would explain what a bad habit is.
"Stop that, Dalilah, it's becoming a bad habit . . ." She would lecture.
But Dalilah paid no attention. For one thing, she heard this speech about a zillion times so she could define a "bad habit" better than Siri. But the other thing was, tugging at her hair helped remind her that she wasn't in a dream.
Sometimes Dalilah couldn't tell if she was dreaming or living her life, because her life was full of adventures just like her dreams. So hair tugging became the only way to differentiate between the two.
Dalilah gave her hair a good tug.
"Ouch!" She belted. Once realizing she was indeed in real life, Dalilah decided to take action. She couldn't just walk away from the baby egg. She had to find its parents! But, what kind of parents did this egg have?
Her first guess was that it was a squirrel egg. The egg had brownish spots speckled across it's oval shape that reminded her of a squirrel she once saw that had hundreds of brown freckles across its face.
But the egg was also whitish, so maybe it belonged to a bird of the same color? But Dalilah knew bird eggs only came in blue because her cousin Byron told her so. Byron was 10 and Dalilah was 7 and she had come to the conclusion that once you reach the double digits, you know as much as any good adult.
So if the egg's parents weren't squirrels or birds, what animal could it be? Dalilah tried to remember any books she checked out from the library that talked about eggs.
Then it hit her. Snakes. Snakes had eggs! Dalilah tugged and tugged at her hair until its brown curls ratted around her knuckles.
The egg had a tint of beige to it which made all the sense in the world why it was a baby snake egg. She remembered the time she saw a real live snake once at a school assembly.
A man wearing a muddy-green shirt and shorts came to talk about snakes. He had about 50 pockets divided between his shirt and shorts and throughout the assembly he magically pulled out a variety of small snakes from them. It creeped Dalilah out and she vowed right there that snakes were devils. Every time a snake emerged from his pocket, it's belly was exposed until he managed to twirl the snake into it's proper place on his wrist. All of the snake bellies were a whitish beige color--just like the egg.
Dalilah remembered the vow she took during that assembly. Snakes were devils. So what Dalilah decided to do next was the bravest thing she had ever done.