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Snakes, in General, and Sneaky Snakes, in Particular

A Southern Humorists Discussion

Judy Gore, bless her little newbie heart. innocently started the recent sneaky snake discussion at Southern Humorists,

"Okay, I was sold on the South until this morning when I started some serious gardening, pruning, and general backbreaking work. I moved a rotted stump and reached down to show my grandson what I thought, in my naive northern brain, was an angleworm. As I talked and reached further into the hole I'd created, the angleworm coiled. Strange behavior for a worm. Kinda long too. Damn! Look at the size of that angleworm's head."

"Wait a minute, angleworms don't have heads. A baby Rattler!"

"Before I could process all the information, my hand was out of the hole and taking the rest of my body with it across the yard. Of course I tripped and landed face first, full body sprawl less than two inches from a fire ant hill. So stunned by all the adrenaline flow, my body couldn't decide whether it wanted to move my arms or legs first to escape the hill."

"In the end, it decided to roll. I rolled away from the baby rattlers and the anthill to land at my toddler grandson’s feet. He giggled and sprayed me with the garden hose he was playing with."

Pamela "Dragon" Klein, ever vigilant when it comes to environmental issues, injected:

"Well, you just proved my thesis for me; people are far more likely to injure themselves panicking at the sight of a snake that they are to actually be hurt by the snake."

"Are you sure they were baby rattlers? Unless you are really out in a rural area, other kinds of snakes are more likely.

Cowboy Mark Berryman, who knows his snakes (We didn’t ask why.) replied:

"It could have been a pigmy rattler and not a baby. They are much more common in yards and stuff than their larger kin, the diamondback, the canebreak rattler and the timber rattler."

But Pamela Dragon replied: "Even a pigmy rattler is pretty big! If I saw an earthworm the size of a pigmy rattler I would think it was one of those Tremors critters!"

Judy Gore, still a bit shaken from her close encounter of the reptilian kind, chattered: "Yikes! Pygmy rattlers. What was God thinking when he made those? Make them cuter, therefore, more accepted. What other wonderful creatures will I encounter over the summer?"

"Judy," Pamela replied, "if you are new to the South you should get a book on snake identification. There are only a few potentially dangerous snakes in Louisiana and most of them you are unlikely to ever meet up with unless you are fond of swamps and wild places…"

Ben Baker, who shoots and cooks almost anything with legs or without, offered his free advice and recipe:

"Rattler, when cooked properly, is delightful. It's also the whitest meat you'll ever see."

"First, obtain suitable sized snake. This can be done by walking around the woods, checking near gopher holes, driving through the country and poking around old woodpiles."

"After locating a snake and restarting your heart, make sure snake is a rattler and of eating size. Remove snake's head. Discard by throwing at hunting companion. After screams fade into the distance and you recover from laughter, bury the head to prevent retaliation upon return of hunting companion."

"Remove rattles and put on dash of truck. Later drop rattles in Mason Jar on mantle at the house. Use rattles in coming years to ward off attacks of irate mothers in law."

"Skin the rest of the snake."

"Roll stripped meat and spine in your choice of coating. I use the same stuff I put on fish (plain flour & corn meal 50/50, Cajun spices). Fry like you would chicken."

"Eat, like you would chicken. Comment it tastes like chicken (it doesn't, it's better) to those who refuse to eat it."

Judy was actually getting hungry for some Kentucky Fried Rattlesnake:

"Good idea! So if it don't taste like yard bird, does it taste like alligator? I would imagine this is best served with a side salad and cornbread?

Phil Jones, obviously speaking from personal experience, replied, "Tastes like chicken."

David Decker chuckled, "The good Lord made the pygmy rattler just after He made the highly annoying, neighborhood garden variety Chihuahua (that thinks he's a first cousin of the Pit Bull/German Shepherd strain of canine terminator). Not only will this obnoxious little critter wail at you from the neighbor's yard every time you walk to the mailbox, but if he gets loose he will come after you like a Muslim terrorist on a jihad fix in a most devout attempt to "bark you" back into your own house."

Ben Baker, who had already said way too much, had one final word: "Rattlers don't taste like gator."

The snake tales were getting bigger and wilder when Mike Bay got into the conversation:

"I used to work in a location that was over-slithered with the things, primarily prairie rattlers (up to 5' specimens), and one memorable encounter with a western diamond back (over 6'). Using low impact removal devices (snake clamps) in environmentally restrictive locations (indoors) and a unilateral removal device (.357) in environmentally flexible locations (outdoors) to achieve a return to tranquility in nature (a.k.a., stopping the panic amongst the humans of the persuasion when confronted by a serpent). I am 17-0 in kills, and still have six of the rattles as trophies."

"Like Dirty Harry Callaghan, when it comes to venomous snakes, "I hit what I aim at".

Marta Martin, totally feed up with snake talk, offered a creative recipe of her own invention:

"I'll tell you how to cook a dang snake. Hit multiple times with hoe and shovel and burn the blasted thing. Questions?"

Judy timidly raised her hand and asked, "Over an open pit, or in my stove?"

You’d think this would end it, but Ben had more snake wisdom for those still interested:

"We basically have 4 poisonous snakes in the US, not counting Sen. Joseph Biden, rattler, moccasin, coral and copperhead. Of them, Josep... er, sorry, the coral is the most poisonous, and is therefore the snake I personally stomped to death while barefoot and in shorts in Athens when I was four."

Pamela, sensing a snake column in the making for next week’s paper, added:

"Yep, that is about the size of it, except that the pretty little coral snake is not aggressive and has to chew on you to get the venom in. In Florida, there is always one neighbor who sees coral snakes under every rock and palm frond and goes about shouting the alarm."

David Decker gave us more information than we really wanted to know when he nostalgically recalled his military experience.

…The Pacific Rim also has a tremendous nuisance called the brown tree snake. In many travels all over the pacific, I have encountered these fearless mongrels as they slide through the racks where Marine after sleeping Marine reacted in a fashion consistent with a saying my WWII Marine father used to use. For the first time in my life I finally understood what it was for grown men to "pee straight up."

Pamela nodded in agreement, "Ah yes, the vile Brown Tree Snake. They have overrun Guam and every day a detail has to go to the perimeter fence around the base and remove the fried corpses."

Tempa Worsham figured she might as well tell her brown tree snake story while they were still in demand:

"When we were stationed on Guam, family and friends kept calling and asking if we were being over run by the brown tree snake. There had been documentaries and 20/20 stories about them stateside. I had to admit that I had not seen one in two years, but that I did enjoy a particular tail, oops I mean tale about one.

You see, there was the base commander's wife whose name was Jane. She walked in the morning for exercise. One tropical morning while walking by a base house she noticed the "worker guys" all scrambling and loading tools into their vehicles claiming their work was done. It was only 8:00 am. When she inquired about what the trouble was one of the "worker guys" or what most people would call "roofers" loudly exclaimed, "Brown tree snake!"

At 5'4 and maybe 120 lbs., Jane asked, "Where?" They pointed towards a typhoon shutter hanging half open from a window. She walked over, poked around, then returned carrying the snake. The big burly guys all screamed and quickly dispersed again. She casually walked to the curb, windmilled the snake a few times, then popped its head on the edge of the curb. As the guys gasped in disbelief, she tossed the snake in the road and said, "now that is taken care of, it's back to work."

There were several neighbor eyewitnesses accounts to this. In good cordial southern humor, every time I saw her I addressed her as Indiana Jane. However, I had to ask directly, "weren't you a little scared?"

"No," she snapped, "I wasn't going to let men waste a perfectly decent work day over a silly snake, so I took care of it."

Now that is woman!!!"

And that took care of the snake stories, speaking of wasting a perfectly good day.

Copyright Southern Humorists
Stories, Whoppers, and Just Plain Lies by Our Members
Compiled and Edited by Sheila Moss

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