Snake Wars

Snake Wars

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Dealing with snakes and dispatching them to that great Arkansas in the sky was something that was just a fact of life.  When you get right down to it, there's really not that much of a problem with em.  I may have managed to see a snake on average of one or two a month.  And we lived in the country - where there were lots of them.

But when we were young, seeing a snake was a big deal!  Didn't have to be a big 'un, neither!  If it was a snake, it was a BIG deal!  In order to get grandpa Shelton, all the boys currently present, all the cousins, and ALL the guns, someone only had to yell one word: SNAKE!

One day while visiting out at grandpas farm out there at Simmons Chapel, I happened by the outhouse and caught just a glimpse of a snakes' tail just making it under the edge of the little building to take refuge.  Of course the alarm was appropriately sounded with lots of yelling and screaming about a snake.

I had my BB gun (Daisy Red Rider - (still have one!)), Byron had his 22, Doyne had a 410 shotgun, others had various shootin' irons, and grandpa Shelton had his trusty hoe.  (Ahem . . . that's a gardening or cotton chopping utensil, not a girl of the evening!)

The outhouse was ringed with trigger happy snake hunters with all weapons 'loaded & cocked, safety forward, itchy booger-picker on the bang switch (trigger).  Each warrior was tense as testosterone and adrenaline pumped through their bodies like a fire hose.  We were MEN.  All weapons bearers felt and appreciated the gravity of the moment, and wanted the honor and bragging rights of being the first to unload into the offending trespasser.

Tension was high as grandpa took his hoe and eased it into and out of the cracks trying to snipe the snake out.  Suddenly, from the opposite side of the grandpa was on came a yelp, the thunk of a BB gun, and suddenly, every gun out there unloads!  The resulting cacaphony of thunder and powder smoke from the brace of firearms died out slowly.

But the snake is no where to be seen.  While grandpa searched high and low for the offending serpent, everybody started re-loading.  After a while outhouse grandpa stopped searching and asked "What did you see George Earl?"

"I didn't see anything," I replied.

"Well, why did you yelp over there?" somebody asked.

"I put my hand out to push the building and that rusty nail stuck me.  When I jerked back, I yelled and my BB gun went off.  Then I heard everybody shooting, I thought it was ya'll who found the snake . . ."

"You boys run along and put up your guns.  You've shot up a whole 2 bucks worth of ammo today."  In that day and age, that was a LOT of ammo!  I remember when I took my own 22 rifle back as a teenager I could buy a box of long rifles for 89¢.  Out of a dollar I could still get a sodi pop and a candy bar.

Rascal the dog kept barking, but he was not barking at the outhouse.  He was barking at the tree!  Somehow, that snake had been able to get up the tree from the backside of the outhouse, and nobody had even considered that possibility.  Somebody hollered at the dog, and happened to look up.

There, barely visible, was the snake!  Again, the hail of gunfire sounded, and the snake came down out of the tree wiggling with everything it had.  By the time the snake left the tree, all guns had been emptied, and shooters were scrambling around trying to get ammo out and reload.  But, it was too late.  The snake had went into the grass and into safety.  It was never found although I looked for it the rest of the week!

Naw.  We didn't kill the snake.  But we sure shot that outhouse all to pieces!

George Cavaness

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