Thursday, April 30, 2009

Country Funnin'

I’d gone up to the house to have a cup of coffee, when the truck from the lumber yard pulled up. Running out to greet the driver and show him where I wanted the lumber put, I saw it wasn’t one of their regular drivers, but a big, younger guy with a heavy Southern accent. He was shouting something over the truck engine. I couldn’t understand him, and came along the side of the truck so I could hear him better. “Beg pardon?”

“I just killed a snake,” he said, coming around the back of the truck. Just then I caught sight of an orange and yellow object coiled up on the open bed of the truck. I jumped back.

“See?” he said. “You don’t like ‘em either.” No, I don’t. I lived in a place in Central America once where there were just a few too many of them for comfort. Sometimes people would be bitten by them. But then again, I don’t go around killing them just for the heck of it. Most of them are shy, retiring, and actually beneficial.

“I stopped up here, right on the dirt road,” he said, pointing behind him, “to check the load. I thought it was comin’ loose. And there it was.”

“It was in with the lumber then?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “it was layin’ there right in the road. So I got him with this.” He held up a steel pipe, used to turn the winches that tighten the straps that held the load down on the bed of the truck. The snake, although badly damaged, was still moving.

“You know what kind it is?” I asked. I know corn snakes and milk snakes were fairly plentiful around here, and have basically the same coloring. I figured a country boy would have a name for it.

“No, I don’t,” he answered. “I don’t care what they call ‘em, I don’t like ‘em.” Apparently he didn’t have a name for it. “I’m gonna have me some fun with it, though.” We went ahead and started unloading the truck. He explained to me what he meant.

“My boss knows none of the boys in the yard like snakes. Kenny and the old black guy both hate ‘em. So he’s always putting them in the truck when they go to make a delivery. Now I never go out without checking under the seats, behind the seats, and in the glove box. Just like checking the oil, fuel and water, gotta check all them places.

“But, whoo-ee, I’m gonna have some fun with this one. Not sure where I’m gonna put it yet, but I’m gonna get ‘em back good.” He got a large piece of plastic out, and picked up the snake with two sticks, and rolled it up in the plastic. It was then I noticed that it had sort of a triangular head.

He threw the rolled up plastic into the cab of the truck, backed it around and headed out. “Y’all have a good one, now!”

It’s sort of unusual for any snake to be out on the road in the heat of the day this time of year. And I’d never seen a snake that looked like that around our place before. I’m not convinced that snake didn’t come out of the load of lumber when he stopped.

When I got back to the house, I looked it up, just to be sure. No doubt about it, it was a copperhead.

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