Whitesburg KY
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

Snake was playing ‘possum

Did you ever dream of having a place where you could go to get a little peace and quiet? A place where there are no dogs barking and you can count the number of passing vehicles on your fingers over a daytime? Well, we have such a place at Lake Cumberland. It belongs to some friends of ours and we are the caretakers.

The first time I entered the little cabin which has four rooms counting the bathroom, I felt like making a hasty retreat. The door was open and in tatters. Where the ceiling had leaked, some ceiling tile had fallen and insulation hung down like Spanish moss hanging from cypress trees. Vandals had stolen everything of value including the pump for the well. Every room leaked and part of the kitchen floor was rotted out and the ceiling tile was full of holes, probably made with a broom handle.

Almost all of the windows were broken out and I had to evict a house snake which had taken up residence inside. They have the same color scheme as a copperhead except the body is different. Some people call them milk snakes and corn snakes. They are quite harmless unless you are a mouse, which is their main diet. It took a lot of hard work but we finally restored it to a livable condition.

One cool fall night, I, my wife and two of our grandchildren were in bed and I told my wife to listen real good because that was what I liked to hear. She listened real carefully and then she said she didn’t hear a thing and I said that was exactly what I liked to hear – complete silence. No cars, motorboats, insects, dogs or other critters. It was like being in another world.

We can stay for days with everything we have at home. If vandals stole everything in the cabin they couldn’t get $200 out of it, but it is all we need to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Once when I was working on the cabin, I took my oldest grandson and another boy down there with me. I was repairing the kitchen floor while they were outside playing. They had been outside for quite some time when I heard a bloodcurdling scream followed by the sound of running feet, and I do mean running. I figured they must have gotten into a yellow jacket nest.

Both boys ran into the cabin yelling snake, snake, snake. The older boy spread his arms wide and said, “big snake.”

I went outside to see this big snake and when I first saw it in the grass, I thought it was the largest copperhead I ever laid eyes on. When I took a step or two closer, it flattened its head and I knew what it was – a huge hog nose snake.

I explained to the boys as best I could that although it was quite ugly it was harmless. I went back to my work while they watched the snake. About 15 minutes later, they came inside and said the snake had rolled over onto its back and was deader than a mackerel.

I said yes, they will do that when threatened. The boys had been pestering it with a stick and it grew tired of being aggravated. I told the boys it they would go back outside and look, the snake would be gone. They went to check and sure enough it was nowhere to be found.

Sure I could have killed it, but what would that have proved? It was just another one of God’s creatures and put there for a purpose. A hog nose snake, which some people call a blowing viper, is about as scarce as the harmless little green snake. If people killed every snake they came across, quite a few species would become extinct and the rodents and insects would dominate us.

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