Monday, November 21, 2011


A while back, my sister related to me that they had had a snake on the premises. I wrote the following to her.

"Seeing your snake yesterday prompts me to ask you if you remember Dad's story about killing Uncle Chris's bull snake?

Dad, of course, growing up on the High Plains, had an aversion to snakes, because rattlers were everywhere. One day while living in Scott County, Virginia, he went to the corncrib. Snake! which he killed. Uncle Chris was quite upset, for it seems the snake was a pet, and moreover a working member of the family, for it kept the rat population under control.

Once upon a time when I had the little Volkswagen camper, we were traveling through Nebraska. On a dirt sideroad there appeared in front of us a very large bull snake. I pulled up very close to it, but did not run over it, waiting for it to clear the road. It, however, was annoyed at our presence, turned and struck at the front tire. I was watching, head out the window. He bounced pretty good, but struck again before slithering off! Yours for snake-free living." End of note to Vee. This is the rest of the story.

Many miles down the road, but still in Nebraska there lived at that time my Uncle Ellis and Aunt Velma. Naturally we stopped there for a visit. During the course of an evening, the snake story was related. This got Uncle going on snakes in Eastern Colorado back in the old days.

Uncle Ellis was, of the eight Lacy brothers, closest to my father in age. Thus as boys their exploits often involved both, or one might say mischief multiplied itself when they worked together. Anyway, Uncle regaled me with stories of Delbert (that would be "Dad") grasping rattlesnakes by the tail, shaking them to straighten them, and snapping their heads off.

On my next visit to the male parental unit, I confronted him with this tale. "Pshaw," he said. "Ellis always was one to embellish a tale. It only happened once, and it was a bull snake, not a rattlesnake."

Well, whatever. It was a snake, wasn't it?



Lin said...

Still very brave!

Vee said...

Passing stories down to the next generation seems to be a thing of the past. I rarely hear anyone tell a great story from childhood.

My opinion is that all snakes are creepy - rattler, bull snake - no matter what the name.

vanilla said...

Lin, there might be a fine line between bravery and reckless behavior. No?

Vee, maybe there are no great stories from childhood anymore. Is there childhood anymore?

With you on the snaky thing.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Snakes are really in trouble, at least in Michigan. They fill an important niche, and should be left alone (by those who don't like them) and definitely allowed to live.

vanilla said...

Shark, I recognize the value of snakes in the ecosystem; I just want them to do their thing where I am not.

John Cowart said...

Hi Vanilla,

Here in Florida snakes abound. We have a number of them in our garden where they prey on mice and lizards and do no harm.

We are aware of them but leave them alone.


vanilla said...

John, leaving them alone is certainly my policy!