Snake stories are about as numerous around the country where I grew up as snakes are.
I don't remember ever hearing about a rattlesnake in that country until I was grown, and then they were only found in the little string of hills named Crowleys ridge that ran through the western portion of town.
But, there were Copperheads, and Cottonmouths, and King snakes, Rattlers and Blue Racers among a whole list of others indigenous to that area.
One day were picking cotton north of what we called the Big Red House. It was where several of the boys were born, and myself as well. It sat to the West of where Grandpa lived at that time, (down at Simmons Chapel).
One of the Shelton boys was living there. About 3/4 of a mile to the north was a fence row and a big ditch. The cotton was poor in that section, and ranged from 12 inches in height to at least 48 inches.
It didn't make a lot of bolls that year, and we were forced to pick it several times to get everything we could off it.
At the last pick late in the year I was out there with Mom, and two other Aunts, and one of the Aunts sisters. My youngest Uncle, (Byron), just older than I was also out there and we were not getting much done.
Suddenly, the earth shook with this earthquake shaking scream, and all the women started running. One of my Aunts wasn't very sall. In fact, she was just pretty cotton-picking short. But it was quite a sight to see as she was consistently clearing the tops of those cotton stalks with lots of room to spare.
Judging from the reaction, I figured that a snake big enough to eat a man was chasing her. My Uncle and I grabbed our special super-duper magic snake fighting sticks carefully laid so we could grab them at a Moment's notice, and ran like heros toward the offending varmint.
We just knew we were in for the battle of our lives. Surely, this would be a fight to remember.
We approached the area nervously. All the women were warning us to stay away, and let Grandpa get his hoe. But, we had female cousins and Aunts to protect.
Dare we let our manhood be trampled in the ground because of a measly snake? Hardly. We had a reputation to defend, and though it meant rushing in to do battle with a varmint of unknown size, we would prevail!
So, we began to search for the huge monstrous sized snake.
Surely it would be humongous, and would be a horrendous fight. With great importance, my Uncle spat out orders with a great aire of import; "you go there, I'll go this way."
After much searching, we finally found the culprit. It was a little-bitty snake about the size of a pencil. Any way, it was thoroughly pounded into oblivion by the mighty protectors of the women. With quick abandon it was dispatched to that great cotton field in the sky.
But I never will forget seeing my Aunt as she come out of her cotton-sack and began clearing the cotton stalks that were nearly as tall as her, all the while screaming at the top of her lungs.
Yep, life is rich in the cotton fields of Arkansas!