There are things and creatures that I dislike in this good world of ours. I will start out talking about the snakes. When we were small our parents would tell us stories about snakes. Most of the stories were not true but made up to keep us kids out of the woods. I remember that the more stories about snakes they told us made us that much more curious about them.
It seemed being the oldest boy made me the nosiest one. You can guess who would have to be told be quiet during a story. My mother would keep her eyes on me and if I started to interrupt her she would shake her finger at me. I got to where I could tell you how many shakes I would get from her finger when I stated to interrupt her. Did that stop me, no it didn’t. The finger is not that big but I soon learned that is was big enough to shut my mouth.
I think I will tell you my favorite snake story from back then. It seemed that close to where my mother grew up there was what olds folks called a slew. I think a slew and a swamp is the same. It’s a place in the woods, lower than most of the forest, so it is covered with water and slimy mud. That my version of a slew, I hope that it is right.
Old Zeke was a 6-foot water moccasin snake. As far as the people knew, he stayed in the slew and didn’t bother anyone. They had named him Zeke, because he was once a man. He had a spell cast on him because he would not marry an old witch. She lived on the edge of the slew but cast old Zeke way back into the slew. When she took away Zeke’s human form she replaced it with two hind legs that let him to be able to stand upright like a man. He had two small arms with two small hands on them. When he wanted to, he could move at a high rate of speed. It was told that he would catch you and kiss you on the forehead. If he kissed you on the forehead you would turn into a snake and Zeke would turn back into a man.
I believe the story of Zeke was all hogwash. It was told to us kids to keep us out of the slews. True or false, I remember sitting on the porch watching the slew for old Zeke. We lived there for several years and I watched the slew, but no Zeke.
This one is true, for I saw it with my own eyes. There used to be a house at Reece Springs in North Rome where the railroad now runs. Received a call that a woman wanted to see a policeman. I took the call and got there first. I was told by the woman that a snake was in her house. She opened the door and pointed.
“There,” she said.
The door opened into a hallway that was at least 6 feet wide. With his head in one room stretched across the hall lay a snake. He was at least seven-foot long. I did a back paddle immediately, getting back to the front porch. I called for the man who was the dog catcher. I waited on the outside looking through the glass in the door at the snake.
I told him what we had in the hallway. He picked up a single-shot 22, loaded it and opened the door. I had a five-shot automatic shotgun. I wasn’t going to take any chances. The snake crawled into the room and lay stretched out on the baseboard at the bottom of the floor. I watched as the dog catcher dropped down to one knee. The rifle made a noise like “spat.” The snake rolled up in a ball. He reached through with the thing that he would catch a dog’s head in and caught the snake. I moved fast, I was outside waiting for the dog catcher.
The dog catcher was about five feet tall. He held the snake above his head and at least two feet lay on the ground. If I had known that when he loaded that single-shot 22 with a short shell I would have never went back into that house with him. It didn’t matter that I had a 12-gauge loaded with double-00 buckshot.
I have a few more things and creatures that I dislike. I will look them up and send them your way. Maybe my things and creatures will be like yours. Hang loose and I will try to get them headed your way real soon.