Long Live Tarzan

On Friday of last week at Camp Grandma, it was time to go to the movies.  I had read through recent reviews and looked at the ratings, and I decided we would see either BFG (The Big Friendly Giant as opposed to B.F. Goodrich Tires) or the brand new movie about what pets do when their humans are otherwise occupied.

It was a summer Friday afternoon, so there was actually a line at the box office.  As we waited, Colt looked over at the line of movie posters, muttering longingly and almost under his breath, “I’d really like to see Tarzan.”

You’ve maybe heard of arachnophobes—people who are afraid of spiders?  My daughter, Colt’s mommy, is a herpetophobe—someone who is afraid of snakes.  And for good reason.  When she was four years old or so and old enough to remember things, we moved to a recently built neighborhood on the far side of Spanish Trail in Tucson.  Recently built as in new construction.

Here’s the thing about snakes—all kinds of snakes.  They prefer to live and die within about 1500 yards of the place where they are hatched or born.  (By the way I just checked.  Approximately 70% of snakes come from eggs and the rest don’t.  For the purposes of this blog it doesn’t really matter which is which.)  The point is snakes are generally homebodies, and just because somebody brings in a construction crew and builds a bunch of houses in the neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean that the snakes will move away.

And that was the case in Tucson.  Our neighbor, Mr. Green, used a hoe to dispatch a very angry rattlesnake with my daughter looking on in horror from only a few feet away.  That was the only rattlesnake we actually saw, but I suspect there were a lot of others that we didn’t see.  In the end, though, my daughter’s and my real issues were with garter snakes, because it turns out they don’t move on, either.

One day while I was at work, the children’s father told them to go to the bathroom and then take a nap.  My daughter came racing back into the living room saying, “Daddy, daddy.  There’s  a snake in the bathtub!”  He sauntered into the bathroom, chased the snake down the drain, put in the plug and said, “Now go to the bathroom and go back to bed.”  Except the snake squirted right back into the tub through the overflow opening.

Garter snakes aren’t dangerous but they are VERY quick.  They turned up in the bathtub occasionally and also in the hallway. For as long as we lived in that house—the shortest amount of time possible, by the way—both my daughter and I would pause at the beginning of the hallway and take a deep breath while we checked for snakes. Let’s just say, she’s never quite recovered.

So here Colt and I are standing in the ticket line. I’m thinking Tarzan/Jungle. There are bound to be snakes.  (I have it on good authority that the Tarzan movie from the eighties was plugged full of the creatures.)  In other words, if Colt was going to see Tarzan, it would have to be my problem rather than his mother’s. I knew from reading my sister’s online movie review of Tarzan on Jayflix (She’s a great reviewer by the way!) that this version was PG-13. What to do? The only thing possible.  I bellied up to the ticket counter and bought tickets to Tarzan.

It turns out the showtime for Tarzan was fifteen minutes later than the one for BFG.  While I was sitting there watching previews of movies I will definitely NOT be seeing, I found myself thinking about my father.

Norman Busk was born in August of 1916.  Next month will mark his 100th birthday.  He loved Tarzan.  According to family legend, he was given his first Tarzan book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs on the occasion of his tenth birthday.  Even though he had broken his glasses at the time, he stayed up late that night, holding his glasses together, so he could finish reading it.

My dad was ten. Colt is ten. Ninety years later it seemed entirely appropriate that Colt and I would go to see that particular movie together—in honor of my dad. And I can tell you straight out that Colt loved it.

Happy 100th, Gramps. Colt never had a chance to meet you, but the two of you share something in common—a love of adventure stories—and that’s a good thing.

PS:  In case you’re interested, there are absolutely NO snakes in this version of Tarzan.

11 thoughts on “Long Live Tarzan

  1. I loved the new Tarzan movie…..Great entertainment. Thanks for your blog….so good to hear from you

  2. I took the grands to see the Pet movie yesterday, $5.49 tickets at 10 am. Nice. DIL paid for the tickets so I thought I’d be nice, small drink large popcorn $15! I almost passed out, been a long time since I’ve been to a theatre, probably be a long time before I go again!

  3. I read the Tarzan books at age twelve. Loved them. At that age Gordon Scott was the movie Tarzan and still the best.
    I told you about the cora snake that visited me a few years ago. I have moved it three times but it always comes back to the porch area so now I leave it alone.
    Locally we have one misnamed Texas rat snake. It feeds mostly on nestling birds, not rats. Last week returned home from a local eatery and enter kitchen. See flicker of movement in a cabinet. Open door and behind a stack of plates is a Texas rat snake. Took a few mnutes but got it out side.
    They can reach seven feet in length, this one was around five feet. Totally harmless but because of there size folks are scared of them. Theyy can climb a brick wall going full speed. Second one in the house this year.

    John Laird
    Bulverde, Texas

  4. I totally agree with you Snakes are not something that I like uck..
    I wish they would make movie theaters a scent free area. If a person comes in with a perfume I have to leave. If it’s strong like White Diamonds I stop breathing. Some people put he bottle on.
    You have a wonderful week, this last Grandparent week. I think that this is the best gift you can give yourself and your Grandkids. The time my Daughter spent with both sets of grands is something she hold dear to her heart. It was a special time in her life… JAN.

  5. Two people have sent me notes this morning saying that they’re having difficulty sending comments. If you wish to send me something directly, feel free to send it to me at jajance@me.com

  6. My Dad was born in 1919. He loved Tarzan also and there is a picture of him as a boy dressed in a Tarzan outfit. Family lore has it that Dad taught himself to swim by crawling along the bottom of a creek bed. There were several old Tarzan books on our family bookshelves when we were kids. Some things are timeless.

  7. I’m terrified of snakes too. Had to shut my eyes with the first Indiana Jones movie with the snakes. Never wanted to see another Indiana Jones as a result. Was wondering if the Tarzan movie was good. Thanks for the quick review.

  8. Glad to know there are not any snakes in the new Tarzan movie. I DO NOT like snakes. There are three kinds in particular that I am afraid of: 1) live 2) dead 3) artificial. Other than those, I am fine!!! I never cared for snakes and about 20 years ago that fear became worse, if possible. We had just moved into our house and my husband was doing some plumbing under the kitchen sink. He needed the water turned off so I went out the front door to turn it off at the street. When I open the storm door, a snake fell down onto my head! I am not sure who was scared more; me, the snake or my husband who was trying to get out from the cabinet under the sink after hearing me yell ” Snake!” It had apparently been sunning on top of the storm door. To this day, I rarely use the front door, but when I do, I push that storm door open while still inside the house and I am looking up while the door opens! I completely understand you and your daughter being on the lookout for snakes in the hallway and tub!

  9. I am not a fan of snakes either. I have an older sister that both loves snakes and loves Tarzan. This sister of mine had the gardener snakes as pets. She would catch them and make little colors and leads out of shoe laces. This way she could take them for a walk on the sidewalk in front of our house. I was scared to stealth and there was no convincing me that these snakes were not poisoned! To this day snakes are still my least favorite of God’s creatures.

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