Storm angered the snakes


Pat Haley - Contributing columnist



This past weekend, Brenda and I were telling grandson Jack about the heavy rains that came to Clinton County last week, and how the streams were out of their banks throughout the community.

“I am surprised we didn’t have some snakes wash into the grass,” I casually mentioned. “The rushing waters bring all kinds of critters from the rivers and streams.”

“Speaking of snakes, did I ever tell you the story about the time one ran up my leg?” Brenda asked, as Jack’s eyes grew wide.

Brenda said as a young woman of 19 years old, she had returned home from college for the weekend. She and a boyfriend were leaving her parent’s home in the early evening to go out on a date.

Brenda said it was a very pleasant evening, and as they strode down the long blacktop driveway toward the garage where his car was parked, the wide legs of her then-popular, elephant-leg denim jeans appeared to be twisted around her right leg.

“I was preoccupied more with my conversation at the time than anything else. I stopped momentarily, and without looking, I pulled at the leg of my pants to straighten them out. I then nonchalantly proceeded down the hill of the driveway on my merry way, all the while talking with my boyfriend at the time,” Brenda said.

Brenda then said she noticed that the large, elephant-bottom pants seemed to get criss-crossed around her right leg yet again. Irritated by the nuisance of the repeated problem, Brenda said she stopped in her tracks, and looked down at her pants leg to determine once-and-for-all what she needed to do to rectify the problem.

She said she remembered thinking to herself at the time, how silly she was to have succumbed to the fashion whim of the day, buying and wearing those big-legged, unpractical pants.

“As I glanced downward, suddenly, out from the bottom of my pants leg I caught a glimpse of a green “garter” snake slithering back up my leg!” Brenda said. Anyone who knows her knows that she truly fear snakes, bugs, etc. — anything that inherently belongs outdoors, on the ground, and not near the body of a person.

Well, one look was all it took. Brenda said she ‘hauled-off’ and kicked her right leg up so far, she nearly knocked her left leg out from under her body. With that, she said the small snake went spiraling out from under her pants into mid-air, several feet above her and her date.

“Without a thought,” she said, “I took-off running back up the hill toward my parents house, leaving my date far behind.”

It was obvious the story was bringing back memories to Brenda. She was animated and began flailing her arms and whirling her leg as if she was going to emulate the kick she had just described.

“What do you think of that story?” Brenda asked Jack.

“That’s quite a story,” Jack replied. In the next breath he asked, “Do you know why a snake is so smart?”

“No, why?” I responded.

“Because you can’t pull its leg!” he laughingly replied.

“He sure pulled mine,” Brenda added with no trace of a smile.

We all became silent allowing Brenda’s story to sink in, when Jack asked if his dad, Greg, had ever told us the story about his camping trip and the snakes.

“No, why don’t you tell us,” I replied.

Jack went on to tell us that Greg was attending the Annual Bluegrass Festival at Renfro Valley, Kentucky.

Jack said Greg told him as the night wore on and the festivities began to wind down, he returned to his campsite to prepare the cot in his tent for bedtime.

At about 3:30 a.m. Greg was engulfed in a horrific thunderstorm, which blew the tent over. It was blowing and raining so hard he could hardly see, so he jumped inside his truck and retreated to the Shell gas station just down the highway to escape the severe weather.

According to Jack, as the storm calmed down, Greg returned to the camping area and began to reassemble the tent. Next door to Greg’s camp were a man and woman cleaning up the debris from their campsite.

Trying to be funny, Greg pointed to the small creek behind the tent and said to them, “I remember last year when the snakes came out of the creek and ate a woman. It happened right after the thunder storm.”

The man, who might have been drinking, turned to Greg and said, “Yes, the storm angered the snakes.”

“There’s nothing like a good snake story,” Brenda said.

We all agreed.

Pat Haley is a Clinton County Commissioner.

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Pat Haley

Contributing columnist