December 2007

Biggest Snake I Ever Saw

Cathy Spiker Gregis

Cathy runs away, leaving her younger siblings to deal with the snake on their own.

A long, long, time ago on the 30th of May, we had our picnic at South Fork Church instead of the farm. One year I was put in charge of watching my siblings as we played around the church. Before the kitchen was built in the back, the picnics were out in the open, under the trees, so most of the adults were on the left side of the church with the food. I don’t remember who saw it first, but in the outhouse, curled up in the corner, was a huge black snake. It was the biggest snake I’d ever seen! It looked big enough to eat me whole, so it didn’t take me long to figure out this was not where I wanted to be. So I ran…

Forgetting about my siblings, I went screaming back to the adults. After Mom figured out what I was trying to say, her first question was, “Where are your brother and sister?” I said I had left them back there. The look on Mom’s face was a sight to be seen. Then she said, “Well go get them!”

“Me???? There’s a big snake!”

“I don’t care. Go get them.”

At the time, I was never quite sure why I had to go get them. It seemed like something a mother should do instead of a frightened child. Later I learned Mom is very afraid of snakes…more than me…and she hadn’t taken the time to think of what she was telling me to do. I turned around to go back and get them, but a lot less quickly than when I left, so maybe that was why help had already arrived.

There was a battle going on. Several of the men were shouting orders at Mike while he tried to get to the snake with a big stick. That old snake was cornered and was more scared than me by now. He knew what a mob looked like with murder in their eyes.

Mom once told me Mike had such long arms that he was the most practical person to go after the thing. Mike did manage to kill it, the bathrooms were safe once again, and everybody had a story to tell. I can still see Mike standing there holding that snake out. It was as long as Mike was tall. Biggest snake I ever saw!