Ol' Charlie

Journals - The Events of Your Life.
hoppy
Posts: 4561
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:58 am

Ol' Charlie

Post by hoppy »

My first introduction to ol' Charlie took place one summer morning in about my sixth year of age, or 1946. We hadn't lived on the farm long yet. I was still exploring all the many nooks and crannies. My roaming found me standing inside the big barn, just looking around for something interesting. Seeing the wooden foot steps nailed to the wall that led up into the loft, I eagerly climbed them thinking I might just lounge around in the straw. As I stepped out onto the loft floor, I looked to the side and there was ol' Charlie, stretched out full length on the floor.

Charlie was as startled as I was at seeing the biggest, blackest snake in the whole world there, just inches away from me. Charlie rared up and hissed for all he was worth. I did two things. One was to retreat down the loft ladder without touching many of the steps. The other was to run for the house. Bursting in the back door, panting for breath, I ran to the corner where my trusty Red Ryder 1000 shot BB gun sat.

"Whoa, what's up Hop"? My gramps was in the kitchen for a cold drink break.

"Snake", pant, pant, "In barn", pant pant, "Big snake".

"Hold on now, that's ol' Charlie. He eats more rats and mice than you ever shot with that pop gun". True. I only shot three mice and a few sparrows so far.

"If you hurt or kill Charlie, I'll thrash ya with 'im. Just leave 'im be".

"How'd he climb up into the loft"? I wanted to know.

"He has little legs with claws on the feet he folds up under his belly. He can go straight up house walls, flatten hisself out an' crawl through small cracks". An outright lie, I found out later.

That night, even though it was a warm summer night, I closed my bedroom window and rolled up a rug to put against the bottom of the door. I didn't want ol' Charlie crawling into my bed. Hardly a day went by that someone didn't see Charlie in or around the outbuildings of the farm.

Little brother Daryl met Charlie when he was four years old. Mom and granny were hanging up the wash on the clotheslines crossing our back yard. Daryl was wandering about and strayed into the old wooden, dirt floored garage. The doors had been left open so Daryl walked in and looked about. Spotting a black hose sticking out from under dad's Buick, daryl reached down and picked it up. I would have loved to have seen Daryl's reaction as ol' charlie went into his thrashing and hissing fit in Daryl's hand. I did see the results though.

I was helping dad and big brother Ike work on our old Ford "A" model truck in the big barn. I would hold a light where they wanted it, or hand them a tool they needed. Daryl's screams alerted us to trouble. That boy had the loudest screams. Dad told me to go see what the crisis was this time. As I entered the summer kitchen laundry room, there sat Daryl, in a wash tub full of warm, soapy water. He was trembling and still sobbing. His poopy clothes lay in a smelly pile on the floor. Mom was scrubbing him up and told me what happened.

For a long time after that it was easy to terrify Daryl, as our sister Angel learned. Whenever Daryl was being a pest, Angel would need only to pick up a belt or her jump rope and shake it while yelling "snake, snake". That was enough to send Daryl running screaming from the room.

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