In my hometown there was this family and once a year they’d host a big family reunion. They’d also invite the whole town. Anyone was invited and it didn’t matter who. They loved you anyway you came. The patriarch of the family hosted it at his place, which was more than suitable considering he owned at least 80 acres.
They’d cook huge amounts of food, slaughter a cow, a few hogs, and one year I remember, a few goats. Now, they did this out of their own generosity. That’s just how they were.
We’d play horseshoes, softball, and various other games. I bet my name that at any given time 50 to 75 people were there. One year, at least a hundred souls could be counted. In a town where there wasn’t but few hundred of us to start, you’d be inclined to call it quite the turnout.
All the men in the family tended to be large, now that I think about it, so did their women. Their kids, and there were a tribe of them, tended to be dirty and rough. Put it to you like this: Country people called them country.
But they were the nicest, simplest, God-fearing folks you could ever meet. They’d greet men with death grip handshakes and ladies got bone crunching bear hugs. Always happy to see a friend, even happier to meet a stranger. They were the quintessential example of small town country folks.
During one of those reunions that tribe of rough and dirty kids decided to swim and wrestle in the catfish pond. I’d could see them down there splashing, rolling, and dunking each other. I didn’t want any part of that muddy, murky hole. I know the men around me had to have seen them. The pond not being any further than 200 yards away.
At any rate, one of the wives came as fast as she could, which was not terribly, to where the men were sitting. Panting and panicking she exclaimed, “James y’all got to get them kids out of there! Daddy killed 28 water moccasins with his .22 while bush-hoging around that pond yesterday. He told me last night he counted at least that many he didn’t kill!”
To which James replied, “Well momma, I’m sorry but those snakes gonna have to fend for themselves. Those kids done claimed that pond.”
A brother added, “If I’s those snakes, I’d be looking for some where else to live.”
And that was it. The tribe survived and as far a I know, no snakes were harmed that day.
I cannot lie to you, friends. It all happened as written.