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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Not So Wordless Wednesday-Big "nake, Daddy

Today on Not So Wordless Wednesday, I would like to share the story of Big 'Nake, Daddy.

 Big Nake, Daddy
To the best of my knowledge, the following story is true.  No names were changed in this story.
When we first moved to Gulf Coast Texas, I was deathly afraid of all snakes.  My mother, a Texas native, always said, “The only good snake is a dead snake." 

Just the other day my mother, who lives about thirty or so miles from us, told me of a little excitement in her old neighborhood.  It seems that her former across-the-street neighbor is licensed to keep highly venomous snakes. He has 248 venomous snakes in his house most of the time
(the news report said there were 23 and all but one of them were venomous).

I say most of the time because the other day he only had 247.  The one that was missing at roll call was the 10 foot long King Cobra (the news report said it was 8 feet long).  They have no idea how it got loose, but loose it got. 

This is Texas.  The story always grows in the telling.  If the snake had remained on the loose, it would be 30 feet long by this time.

Snake experts from around the world were flown in to try to find this snake.  They combed the area and searched with helicopters and specially trained snake tracking dogs.

People in the area were warned to keep their pets indoors.  The snake was finally found less than ¼ mile from the local high school.

I told my mother that if I had known this, they could have found me in Antarctica, the only snake free continent.

Broad-Banded Water Snake
Taken by Suzanne in our driveway
As I said, when we first moved to Texas, I was deathly afraid of snakes.  I thought I saw them everywhere.  One night, I was walking through the carport.  My mother’s husband, I guess he would technically be my step-father but he had no part in raising me, had installed a chain link fence and he had a few parts left over in a plastic bag in the carport.

It was dark and the light in the carport was not that good.  The bag these fence parts were in caught on my shoe and made a sound close enough to that of a rattler - let’s face it, to me any sound would have been close enough at that time - for me to think, “Snake!”

I jumped sideways over the riding lawnmower. 

Since that time, I have fought many snakes.  We have found a four foot long snake skin in the filing cabinet.  

I have killed a copperhead in our backyard. 

I have killed a coral snake in our front yard.  Said snake defied several things I had heard about snakes.  For one, I had always heard that a snake cannot crawl when it is 70 degrees or less.   It was one of those rare winter days around here when it had actually dipped to 68 degrees.

Well, this snake crawled, slowly, past 19 cats.  I had always heard a cat will kill a snake.  

Then, there is Sir Hiss.  Sir Hiss lives somewhere in this house.  When Xerxes was so sick
Broad-Banded Water Snake
Taken by Suzanne in our backyard. 
he could hardly move, Sir Hiss scared him.  I made a promise that Sir Hiss is going to die.  I have fought Sir Hiss twice and both times Sir Hiss has won.  But, I will keep my promise to Xerxes.  Sir Hiss is a beautiful chicken snake.  He is about 4 feet long and very fast.  I have hit him several times with the Louisville Slugger and broke it. He is not venomous.  But, he has to die.

And now, without further eloquence, is the story of Big ‘Nake, Daddy.

When my Uncle Glenn was just a wee lad, he and my grandfather were out on the ranch, riding fence.  Grandpa saw some brush and loaded it into the back of the pickup.

The pickup was just an old farm truck and did not have glass in the back window. Uncle Glenn was standing on the truck seat looking out the window towards the back of the truck when he said excitedly, “Big ‘nake, Big ‘nake." 

To which Grandpa replied, “Yes, Glenn, big ‘nake, big ‘nake."  Why don’t parents ever really listen to kids?

Uncle Glenn repeated, “Big ‘nake, Daddy, big ‘nake.”

Grandpa again replied, “Yes, Glenn, big ‘nake."

By now, Glenn is really excited and jumping on Grandpa, crying, “Big ‘nake, big ‘nake!”  Grandpa turned to see the biggest cottonmouth that he had ever seen starting to crawl though the back window of the truck.

Grandpa grabbed Glenn and stopped the truck.  He jumped out of the truck with it still moving.  He drew his snake pistol that was loaded with six rounds of snake shot.  Grandpa was probably the best shot with a pistol you have ever seen.  He drew left-handed; he was holding Glenn with the right hand and squeezed off six rapid rounds of shots.  The snake fell dead in the seat where my uncle had just been standing. 

Years later, the Shiner Gazette in Shiner, Texas, wrote of my grandfather killing a rattlesnake on his back step with a .22 rifle.

Mr. and Mrs. Leon Roberts, Rattler Killed, Mrs. Chas. McElroy

Once, while we were out in Texas visiting my grandparents, I stepped out the back door of their house on the famous 4 Corners Ranch.  I heard Grandpa yell from across the yard, “Stop, David!”  I froze. 

The next thing I knew, Grandpa had shot in my direction, killing a cottonmouth just under my foot.  It was lying on their back step.  Grandpa was an amazing shot.

I think our Marine, David, Jr., must have inherited his High Expert Shot status from Grandpa and also from some of Suzanne’s great-grandpappies. 

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  1. David, I'm with your mother, the only good snake is a dead snake! She had it right. Great, interesting story. Now you got me to wondering if we might be related. My maiden name is "Roberts". Do you have any kin from southern WV? Thanks for visiting and linking up today, my friend!

    1. Suzanne is our family historian. She says it is highly possible. She and I both have family from back in Virginia. As you know, what is now West Virginia was part of Virginia before the War of Northern Aggression. Therefore, the part of Virginia they are from might now be in West Virginia. Thanks for commenting and have a great day.

  2. I hate snakes. The Quabbin reservoir, a few miles from us wants to put some on an island to help replenish them-so far people have been fighting it.

    1. Supposedly, non-venomous snakes are good for the ecosystem. I am not so sure about that. Snakes can make you hurt yourself.


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