The sometimes weekly appearance of snakes this year was running through my mind the other day as I was driving and it triggered a memory from my preteen years that had long ago been stored among the cobwebs inside my mind.
It made me chuckle and I thought I would share it with you.
Most of you know that I steer clear of cows. Well that’s not entirely true. As long as I am on the opposite side of the fence from them I feel I am perfectly safe. That is unless an angry bull decides he wants on the other side of the fence.
I am the same way with snakes except for the fact that there is not a fence that can hold them. I DON’T LIKE SNAKES!
There was 10 years age difference between my brother and I, so he was driving and running around with friends by the time I became of an age that I can remember him. He wasn’t around often, but occasionally he would take me to the movies. And usually his friends were coming along. They were a lot of fun and didn’t seem to mind having the younger sister along.
On this particular day we were taking a friend of my brother’s and his wife to the movies with us.
Let me set the stage for you, they lived at the end of a long dirt road. We were riding in my brother’s single cab Ford truck. That’s four people squashed into the same seat. By the way, the truck had a manual transmission (that’s straight drive for those of you who live in the south) with the gear shift in the floor.
Guess who got to strattle that?
That’s right, the skinny kid who was squashed between an older brother and the wife of the older brother’s friend.
Did I remember to tell you that we had to drive to the big city to go to the movies? It was in the heat of the summer with no air conditioner in the truck besides the two windows rolled down. (We called that 2/50 air conditioning. Two windows down and 50mph, just in case you haven’t heard that expression)Yeah, that’s about a 40 minute drive from where we were. The ride was not the most pleasant part of the evening. But when you’re a kid you really don’t pay much attention to those facts. You are just thankful you were asked to go along.
So, we drive down the dirt road, pick up the friends, turn around and are headed back to the main road. My brother driving, then me, then the wife of the brothers friend and then the friend riding shotgun beside the passenger side open window.
When all of the sudden the friend starts yelling…….“STOP, BEAR, STOP!!!”
Not seeing a reason why he begins slowing. It was not fast enough to suit the friend who again yells….“STOP, BEAR!” Not that we were moving fast to begin with, remember this was a dirt road.
(Bear was my brother’s nickname, not something that the friend is seeing and yelling for my brother to stop before something terrible happens.)
My brother shoves in the clutch and hits the brake hard and comes to an immediate and complete stop. While all the other passengers are putting hands on the dashboard and digging our feet into the floorboard to keep ourselves in our seats. At that time there were no seatbelt laws and even if there was, one of the middle passengers would have been seatbeltless, because everyone knows there’s only three seatbelts in a single cab Ford truck.
Just as the truck is coming to a stop, the shotgun riding friend jumps out of the truck, runs up the side of the dirt road in front of the truck, then begins looking and running from side to side of the road like a mad man.
Leaving those left in the truck with complete and utter confusion.
My brother and I look at the wife without saying a word, but obviously mentally asking her, “He’s your husband, what in the heck is wrong with him?”
She looks back at us without saying and word, but answers back, “I have absolutely no idea what he’s doing! Maybe we won’t be going to the movies afterall.”
I can still remember her eyes looking at me with that confused, apologetic expression.
He finally, runs over the creek bank and comes back up with the rather large tree branch that he had found while running around like a lunatic and begins slamming it down over and over in the middle of the dirt road.
He finally stops slamming the tree branch into the dirt road and looks for a bit at the spot he’d been hitting. Slamming the tree branch down one more time for good measure, he throws it aside, walks to the other side of the road, bends over and picks up a snake by its tail and holds it up for us to see. Then he throws it over the creek bank and walks back to the truck. Informing us that there is one less copperhead in his neck of the woods.
That was the first experience I can remember of “redneck’s on a copperhead”.
We don’t fool around when it comes to copperheads in our territory.
All of this I watched through the windshield of my brother’s Ford truck.
I have no idea what movie we went to see or even which theater we went to, much less if we had popcorn and a drink.
All I remember is we were going to the movies and that crazy friend of my brother’s yelling for my brother to stop and running around like he’d lost his mind.
It was the first and last time I ever remember meeting them.
I wonder why?