In "The Way It Was", 1-Adeline (Addie) Kizer Dodd 1855-1937, 1-Joseph Hoffman Dodd 1852-1937, 2-Joseph Keeley (Keel) Dodd 1898-1991, 2-Minnie Anna (Sister) Dodd Garris 1874-1957, 2-William B. Garris 1879-1949, 3-Evelyn Floy Garris 1910-1997, 3-Howard Garris 1906-1990, 3-Jessie (J'Mae or Ditta) Garris 1914-2011, 3-Joseph Keeley (Joe) Dodd, Jr. 1926-1984, 3-Ruby Calvert 1924-, 3-Wilhelmina (Bee) Garris King 1918-2007, 4-Boyd King Dimmock 1949-, Bee Stories, FAMILY: BEE & BOB TOGETHER, FAMILY: BROTHER & SISTERS (BEE), FAMILY: MATERNAL LINE (BEE), FAMILY: PATERNAL LINE (BEE), POSTS BY LOCATION, Round O, S.C., STORIES on July 8, 2015 at 6:47 am

In the low country snakes were everywhere and it seemed like every limb had a snake on it ready to fall on you.  if you were in a boat, it would fall into the boat with you.  It was not unusual to kill six or seven snakes on the porch or in the yard during the summer.  Floy or Mamma were really good with a hoe to kill a snake.  I helped Mamma once – we both had hoes.  I chopped as hard as I could and my hoe just seemed to bounce off.  That snake turned towards me and hissed and made a jump in my direction.  I shall never forget the experience.  I knew then that if Mamma had not been there that snake would have gotten me .  After that experience I was more frightened than ever because I knew that I could not defend myself or kill one by myself.

There was a house between us and our Grandparents and we called it the “high house”.  Houses were built like this during this period when they wanted to keep the wagon, buggy etc. under the house.  Later another house was built there and that was where Joe and Ruby (Keel‘s son) lived with Martha and Rachel  that Boyd will remember..  One of our chickens was cheeping over in that  yard  .  No one lived there at the time and the grass was high.  When I saw the chicken I reached over to pick it up when I realized that it was in a snake’s mouth.  I screamed and Daddy came and killed the snake which turned out to be a rattlesnake pilot.  He is like a rattlesnake except no rattles or any way to warn you and is even more deadly  with his bite.  If he hadn’t had the chicken in his mouth, he could have  killed me.  A rattler killed a dog one day when he was walking through the field with Howard – It saved his life.

Daddy used to send J’Mae and me under the house to look for eggs when a hen had laid under the house.  We were scared to death to go because we had met a snake a time or two but we went anyway.  We learned at an early age to always look for snakes before you step.  I would dream at night that a snake was getting me but we never found one inside the house.  Now you know why I don’t like snakes.  I still look for them if I’m walking through a woody area.

— “The Way It Was,” Chapter 9: “Snakes,  Chicken Houses  and creepy crawlers,” 1999

  1. I heard the “chick in the snake’s mouth” story several times, but didn’t remember the “crawling under the house to gather eggs” story. I guess you go where the food it. Momma was really terrified of snakes though. She couldn’t even look at a picture of one in a book.

  2. I did some google searching for a “rattlesnake pilot.” The only things I found were people mentioning that a copperhead has also been called that, or that a rat snake (which isn’t poisonous at all) has been called that since it will let a rattlesnake hibernate with it in the winter. Does anyone know if it’s actually a copperhead?

    • I found the same thing, Michaela, except another listing that was actually a king snake. It’s probably impossible to say. I looked at pictures of rat snakes and there were about a dozen colorations. Some did resemble rattlesnakes and some copperheads.

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