Lizard Inspection


William Jr, Mattie and Grandaddy studying a lizard

This tiny innocent lizard was climbing our porch screen on the inside. I like the little guys but greatly prefer they stay in their natural habitat–outside. I’ve been startled enough times by close encounters with the baby monsters. So I asked one of the boys to take him out for me. The above picture shows a bit of the ensuing scientific conversation featuring a seasoned granddaddy, a grandson with curiosity and readiness for a hands-on experience, and a granddaughter who, like me, would rather see than touch.

I have two or three lizard stories, as I’m sure you do also.

One day when I was a kid I was indisposed in the outdoor privy when, horror of horrors, I felt a live thing drop from the ceiling straight down my back on the inside of my shirt. It didn’t take long for me to shake the little green lizard out and my screams accompanied my action.

As a young mother I caught a movement one day in my peripheral vision. Upon investigation I discovered a four inch lizard scooting around on the floor in my baby’s nursery. I tried unsuccessfully to trap him in a corner with a broom. Then I resorted to what seemed to me a logical alternative. I called my husband at the Animal Hospital. He came and quickly caught and released the lizard to the outdoors. But he let me know without doubt that I should have been able to take care of that problem on my own. In time, my baby boy became my willing lizard catcher.

Our interesting century-old house in which we lived for forty-two years had less then snug windows so little lizards often squeezed their way in, then couldn’t, or wouldn’t, depart. One day my mother, who was visiting from north Georgia, sat with me having a cup of afternoon tea in our living room. We were deep in conversation when I saw Mamma’s face change expression. She was looking above my head as she asked very calmly, “What is that on the wall?” My mother had single handedly killed snakes with a hoe so she wasn’t afraid, just startled. William wasn’t around so I had to catch the little fellow in a towel and throw him out the front door, hoping I appeared brave to my mother.

When our daughter, Julie, was sixteen she had mononucleosis which turned into bronchitis which turned into pneumonia. Her illnesses were never short! This one went on for about six weeks. Her nice upstairs room with white wicker furniture, wallpaper featuring climbing roses, and pink dimity curtains became a prison. We’d worn out every quiet game, studied “Romeo and Juliet” trying to keep up with school work, and I’d prepared dozens of smoothies until they weren’t exciting anymore. We went to the doctor one day thinking that, since she seemed better, the doctor would say she could start getting out. Instead, the doctor said one more week of bed rest.

Leaving her in her room crying into her pillow, I went downstairs to conjure up something consoling. Standing at the kitchen window, I prayed for some comforting idea. My thoughts were interrupted by high squeals and giggles from Julie’s room. Dashing back upstairs, I found my daughter standing on her bed trying to capture a green lizard who scooted upside down across the white ceiling, his ET head swiveling when he paused to consider his next move. Julie found the greatest entertainment in watching me scramble to catch that little fellow and, afterwards, we both collapsed into giggles, our depression broken by one green lizard, a very quick answer to my prayer.

One of my favorite books to read with the great grands is “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir” by Bill Staines. The recurring lines are “All God’s critters got a place in the choir; some sing low, some sing higher. Some sing out loud on the telephone wire. And some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got.”

I’m not sure just how the little green lizards, even the ones with a red bubble under their chins, fit in the choir. Maybe it’s just the rhythm of their tails, or the amazing flexibility of their ET heads that places them. But I’m sure they do “got a place in the choir.”


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