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A Snake Story My Grandma Told Me

Updated on September 13, 2016
Fiddleman profile image

I am Robert Elias Ballard, married to Pearlie Jane (PJ) for 45 years on November 24, 2017. We live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

A Black Racer and a Whooping

As a young boy I spent many of my summers up on Mount Olivet. My grandparents lived and worked a small farm of not more than 40 acres. Grandpa was old school and still used a mule or horse to plow and cultivate the the fields of pole beans, cabbage and corn he grew each year to sell at the Farmers market in town. In the Spring and Summer he was up at 4 am building a fire in the wood cook stove and once that was done, he would head over to the barn and harness up old Kate to plow while the morning was still cool. After a couple of hours he would come to eat his breakfast. His old faded gray shirt would be wet from his own sweat. After we ate our breakfast, me and my uncle would tend the livetock, milk the cows and hogs, feed the chickens and the rest of the day meant hoeing corn or other farm work.

The afternoons were the times we sat in the living room and rested and I would listen to the grownups talk. Grandpa had farmed a nearby field on Ann Mountain. He would raise pole beans up there and it was on Ann Mountain I first learned how to tie bean strings. I couldn't have been but about 5 years old, I recall I hadn't started to school yet. The field on Ann Mountain wasn't too large, maybe just a little over an acre but the ground was fertile for mountain land and the bean crop did quite well.

My uncle who was only 16 months older than me showed me how to ctch June bugs. It wasn't too hard to catch them and he would take one of the single strings used for tying up pole bean runners and tie it to the June bugs leg and let it fly away. For us it was a momentary distraction from our work and it wasn't long before we'd her, ayou boys quit that follishness and get bck to work!"

My grandma told me the field had been cleared and "brash" piled to be burned. Clearing new ground is hard work and back when this field had been cleared there was no heavy equipment like trackhoes or dozers. The tools used were shovels,mattocks, a good ax and a crosscut saw. Grandma said the man who was going to burn the "brash" pile had been known to take a few nips from the fruit jar he had hidden in the nearby woods and had a reputation for overindulging the same. Grandma said about the time he put a match to the "brash" pile a black racer came out and began to chase the poor guy. The snake caught the man, climbed up his back and "quiled" around his neck and proceeded to give him the licking of his life. Grandma allowed it was because of his indescretions and a just punishment.

Whether it actually happened that way or not will never be known as a pure fact but I enjoyed the story. Maybe grandma was trying to warn me about the vice of drinking and the possible consequences. I haven't seen a black racer in many years but they are non-poisonous. They will chase you if need be but will normally retreat when confronted.


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    • Fiddleman profile image
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      Robert Elias Ballard 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Tanks for your visit and comment.

    • profile image

      Dorie 2 years ago

      Thank God! Somnoee with brains speaks!

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      True or not, it's a good story and worth heeding.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Maybe he had the DTs....

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thank you so much breakfastpop. It is always good when I see your name on a comment on something that I have published on hp. Hoping all is well with you and the folks down at the Inn. My stories are my way to relive and share of a life and times less stressful, not a bad thing in our crazy mixed up world where so much negativity and troubling news abound to bring down our spirits. Hopefully, the things I write about will be read and at least evoke memories for others. You are someone special and with your gift of writing, good common sense always serves to stimulate thought.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      You have no idea how much I look forward to your stories. Thanks so much for sharing your memories. Voted up and awesome.

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thank you Alicia, so appreciate thoughtful comment.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love your stories of life in the past, including this one. It's a lovely tale.

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thank you Eddy, you are so kind. Wishing you the best.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

      Whether true or not what a wonderful story Fiddleman. Loved it and voted up plus shared.

      Eddy.

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thanks Tom, you are right, priceless.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 2 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Robert,

      The stories our kin told us are priceless memories all our lives. Good Hub.