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Kountry Life Memories

Snakes, Bugs and Outhouses
When I was just a young boy, I spent most of my summers at my Grandpa Charlies farm near Scary Creek West Virginia and have some very fond memories of fishing in the backwaters of Kanawha River, playing in the forbiden hay loft, riding astride a large mule named Jack while my Grandfather plowed. I remember Saturday night baths in the rain barrell and falling asleep with my two cousins in a big feather bed. I remember being the water boy during harvest season and walking barefoot through the 'stobs' of new cut hay,carrying water and 'ooching' and 'ouching' all the way. We had homade ice cream cranked on the back porch, petted soft little barn kittens, caught 'lightnin bugs' and put them in mason jars and many other fond memories too numerous to mention. Not all memories however were so fond. Take for instance, the dreaded outhouse. I really, really hated outhouses. I hated outhouses almost as much as I hated snakes and they always seemed to go hand and hand and Grandpa Charlies outhouse was no exception.It was small, dilapidated and stinky and to make matters worse, there was a big old black snake that hung around as if he owned the place. I couldn't even count the times when, in the middle of the night I would have to somehow find my clothes and maybe my shoes and traips down the little path to the outhouse; One I was face to face with the outhouse door I quietly pull it open and was met immediately with loud squeaky hinges and the distinctive 'twannng' of the screen door spring that kept the door closed, and imagined I woke up every living creature that dwelled within, especially the big black snake that no doubt was lurking near by. As carefully as possible I snuck my hand around the corner to find the big box of wooden matches and the candle setting on a small shelf to the left of the door opening. I quickly pulled my arm back and the squeak, the 'twannng' and the bang of the door closing startled me and left no doubt to anything inside, or within ear shot for that matter, that I was there and what I was there for. I lit the candle, after several tries, opened the door again and extended my arm with the candle well inside the door opening and peeked around the corner, looking for any sign of the of the outhouse snake. Dark shadows flickered in every corner, keeping cadence with the flicker of the candle and the snake seemed to be nowhere in sight. And then I looked at the dark hole where my butt would go and wondered if the snake could possibly be hiding in that black hole, but how could I ever see a black snake in a black hole? Building up my courage, I dropped my pants and drawers and very slowly set down on the warped and cracked seat and was about to scooch myself in the poroper position, when a bolt of pain struck my backside. Well, with a howl of terror, and my pants and drawers down around my ankles, I hopped through the outhouse door leaving a squeak, 'twannng' and a bang,in my wake while attempting to pull my pants up and yelling, 'I been butt bit!' 'I been butt bit by a big black snake!' and ran as fast as I could to the safety of the house. My Grandmother later confirmed, after closer examination that I probably got pinched on the toilet seat, as she had on more than one occasion. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Stan Higley, from WV, entered 2002-04-13



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