Jack Simpson


Sheltering in place for months doesn’t bring with it a whole lot of excitement. What is exciting about trips to the mailbox and hauling out the garbage?

So yesterday was a bit different. Walking on the driveway near the house I was suddenly aware of movement near my feet. I looked down, discovering I had nearly stepped on a black snake. He went north and I went south, all shook up!

We have had a few such incidents here. My spouse was watering her porch plants and put her hand in a hanging basket to see if the plant needed water. Her hand rubbed a snake that had climbed into the basket seeking a nesting bird.

And, then there was the time she and I were moving a dog house, only to discover how close we were to being bitten by a copperhead!

I guess in my old age I have become much more squeamish about snakes. It isn’t like it once was when as a young teen in Pennsylvania I used to hunt rattlesnakes with a forked stick. I would pin their heads to the ground and pick them up from behind their head. I would hold them up for friends to hear them rattle.

Foolish, dangerous sport for any young person. Now days there is no way you could get me that close to a rattlesnake!

I guess I started getting more fearful of snakes when I went to visit my brother’s new cabin in West Virginia. After retirement, he took up building as a hobby. He built an additional room on his house, then a rental house, followed by a mountain cabin in West Virginia.

He invited me for a weekend. Upon arrival, I parked on the road and walked up a path to the cabin on a hillside.

As we walked along, I noted snakes in the ditches on both sides of the path. We found snakes on the porch and on the foundation. Needless to say, I was not anxious to spend the night in that new cabin!

So encountering the black snake in my own drive brought memories and a bit more excitement. Now I watch where I am walking and am more aware there are still plenty of snakes out there to add to an otherwise routine day.

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Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each week in the weekend edition of this newspaper.

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