Dad and the Snake -- By Joseph J. Mazzella

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13-14 NKJV)

When I was a boy growing up my Dad, Mom, Grandma, two brothers and I all lived together in an aging house. The house had originally been built from two Shanty cars. Other rooms had been added later as money allowed. Finally, as a finishing touch my Dad had decided to build a porch. Because of the house’s strange shape with all of its add on’s and lean to’s, the only place to build the porch was off the side of the bedroom my brother and I shared.

A few weeks after the porch was finished I was playing in my room when my Mom walked in carrying a new flower pot to hang on the porch. My Dad was in the living room resting in his chair after a long, exhausting day at work. A surprise was waiting for us all, though. The night before a snake had crawled up the bank from the river near our home and made its way up the steps and onto the wooden roof beams of the porch. Just as my Mom opened the door to go out on the porch then, the head of the snake dropped from the beams right in front of her face.

In my entire life I had never heard my Mom scream so loud or seen my Dad move so fast. He was by me in a second, grabbing the snake by the back of the head, and pulling it away from my terrified Mom. Later with the snake safely gone the whole family laughed with relief while my Dad wrapped his arms around my Mom in love.

The story of that day became a part of our family lore and was retold many times over the years. Each time it brought smiles to our faces, laughter to our lips, and joy to our hearts. As I think back on it today I can still see the wonderful example of my Dad’s love in action. He didn’t think of himself for a second. Someone he loved was in danger and he risked his life to save her. It is how he has lived his whole life here, with the unselfish love that God wishes for us all. May the same be said for you, me, and everyone in this world.


By: Joseph J. Mazzella