Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sammy the Snail

Last winter, Ken and I had a house guest. He was very quiet; he didn't eat us out of house and home; he never wore his shoes on the white rug; and he never left wet towels in a heap on the bathroom floor.

Sammy the Snail moved in with us by accident, on the potted chives, when we brought them indoors for the winter. It was around 3 weeks before we even noticed him. We figured that since he was in, he may as well stay. And so it was that he enjoyed a luxury winter get-away that would have been the envy of any snail.

I thought I should do a little research on snails, so I consulted the online resources. One of the first things I learned was that snails are just slugs with shells on.

Ew.

Suddenly he seemed slightly less cute.

But I got over my squeamishness. He had a cream and brown pinstripe shell, and those cute eyeballs on stalks - how could I resist him? No, he was more than a slug. Although I would still keep him away from salt.

Sammy alternated periods of inactivity with bursts of Super Snail energy. For a week he'd be sleeping in the same spot in the chive pot, and then one day we'd come home and find him halfway up the nearest wall. He also liked to check out the other potted plants in my collection. He'd get himself up onto the rim of the chive pot, and s-t-r-e-c-h his sluggy body over to the next pot rim. Then he'd swing over. You could actually hear his shell go "Clunk!" against the pot.

Sometimes Sammy pushed his explorations too far, and he fell. A couple of times, Ken found him on his side on the rug, looking shriveled and half-dead. Ken picked Sammy up and rushed him to the kitchen where Ken fried him in garlic butter put him in a dish with a little water, until Sammy re-hydrated. When Sammy recovered himself enough to start scooting around the dish, Ken returned him to the chive pot.

Of course, spring finally came, and when the chives went back out onto the patio, Sammy went with them. We bid him a fond farewell and wished him well.

This fall I waited expectantly for a knock at the door. I thought I'd open the door, not see anyone there at first, and then look down. And Sammy would be there, with a tiny suitcase, ready to move back in with us for another cozy winter of wall-climbing, pot-exploring, and long naps.

No such luck. I hope he's hibernating somewhere safe.

17 comments:

Nicole said...

Oh, that's too cute.
I can see him right in front of me with his little seat, umbrella and enjoying a cool drink in your pot :D

Solomon Broad said...

If you poke a snail in the eyes, they retract.

whatigotsofar said...

I thought cute things were inevitably fatal.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I never thought about letting a snail stay over for the winter. Don't they crap or leave hair in the sink or anything?

R.E.H. said...

"Sammy the Snail"... awesome! ;)

I had a snail farm when I was a kid once... they died - the smell in our house was unbearable! I must've collected about 20 of them and put them in a dirt pile inside a cardboard box.

One would be enough as a house guest... don't invite any more ;)

R.E.H. said...

Oh, yeah!

I forgot... you have an award waiting for you over at my place ;)

Jenski said...

That's so great! I can just imagine eating breakfast, hearing a "clink", and thinking, "Oh, Sammy's wandering around again."

jameil1922 said...

lol. hey sammy!! that was hilarious.

Leighann said...

What a fantastic story! Sammy sounds like the perfect houseguest!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Sparkling Red said...

Nicole: Yes, we always made sure to serve his tropical drinks to him with a tiny paper umbrella and a fragment of maraschino cherry on a microscopic plastic sword.

Solomon Broad: And who can blame them?

Whatigotsofar: I just got chills when you made that connection. He knows where we live! He could be back anytime with an army of snails, to smother us in slime and take over the condo!

Keera: I'm sure he must have pooped a little in that pot, but I imagine it's like earthworm poop - it's what soil is made of anyway. Don't tell me otherwise or I'll have to get rid of the chives.

Sparkling Red said...

R.E.H.: That's intense. I wouldn't want more than one snail, because then they could make baby snails. The line between cute and creepy for snails is blurry and easily crossed, especially in large numbers.

Thank you for the award! I'm honoured. Did you notice that I figured out how to put the image in my sidebar and link it to your site? I've got to learn more of this HTML stuff. I'm still quite bamboozled by it.

Jenski: Yeah, it's funny how a snail can get your attention. :-)

Jameil: :-) I wish I had a photo of him I could have posted. I didn't have a camera last year.

Leighann: Likewise! Muchas Gracias! :-)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

You should really look in your mailbox closely, there may be a little tiny postcard stuck in there that you're missing.

kate said...

Sammy was one lucky guy. He probably missed you when he had to go back outdoors. Since slugs aren't such a problem here, I've developed more of a fondness for them. (When I lived in Ottawa, I was constantly battling them.)

I suppose that is one good thing about living in Regina. The Conservatory is used during summers for weddings, but rarely during the winter. It isn't very big - I imagine the Allen conservatory is more spacious and therefore more appealing for weddings.

At this time of year, we need our fix of flowers ...

Sparkling Red said...

Warped Mind of Ron: Could be! I'll bring my magnifying glass next time I'm picking up the mail. Come to think of it, it makes total sense that he'd use "snail mail" instead of e-mail. ;-)

Kate: We sure do need flowers in the winter. I just saw the first batch of crocus bulbs sending up pale shoots, from pots in the grocery store, yesterday. Now that was exciting!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

LOL, way to go... Take my funny and make it funnier...

Aurora said...

I'm so glad Ken didn't fry them. That really made me laugh!

Sparkling Red said...

Warped Mind of Ron: I love wordplay. That's the best game. :-)

Aurora: I've eaten escargots and loved them, so it wasn't the furthest thing from my mind...