Growing up in the jungles of South America, I was not a day older than five and the children were holding hands, going round and round a tree that hung over the river bank of the Parana River. The tree was huge and the part that hung over the edge of the river bank exposed the massive roots of the tree.
As we were going round and round, I noted something shiny and got closer for a better view. Curled up in all the tree’s roots was a gigantic snake. Any IFB child knows we are to be seen and not heard; preferably, we will not be seen or heard. I was in a panic as I tried to get the adult’s attention because this snake was going to eat one of us. I was flipping out inside but knew I had to get one adult to listen to me.
I was literally running from one adult to another, ignoring the rules, and interrupting their conversation to tell them, “There’s a snake by the little kids!” I thought i was a big kid… I was five! The adults popped me on the head, told to shut up, smacked me in the mouth, and each person I approached told me to settle down. I did not know what to do because no one would pay attention to my screeches for help.
One father, who was known to be kinder than most, put his hand on my shoulder, finished his sentence, and asked me, “where’s the snake?” When he saw the snake, adults started panicking and grabbing children. Lenny Angerstein pulled out a pistol and began shooting the snake that was well camouflaged by the roots and dirt of the over-hanging tree.
When they were certain the snake was dead, one of the older boys started pulling a 7-9 ft. snake from under the tree. The snake was two to three times the size of each child playing, “Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes…” –with me thinking, “We’re all gonna’ be eaten by a snake!” Everyone was gasping as the size of the snake. My brothers helped me drag the snake from one hut to another, showing off our “prize,” and I was so proud that I saved all the little kids. “I am five years old!”
Churches are full of “snakes” and where better to hide than in the midst of people, who believe they must overlook strange behaviors, and ignore the children screaming, “The SNAKE is right there by the little kids.” When kids tell adults that a snake is nearby, the adults need to listen and give attention to the words of a child.