September 28, 2021—Snakes
Imagination, Day 29
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
Sunday, we took our recyclable glass over to Bale Street. I held the door to the bin open while Sweetie dumped the basket. The jars and bottles fell into the pile with a great cacophony and I looked inside. She said, “Wow.” Look at all the likker and beer bottles.”
I grinned and chuckled to myself as a forgotten memory bounced around my brain.
It was back in my drinking days—sometime in the past century. In those days, it was illegal to sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday. I would always make sure that I had a good stock of “Sunday beer”—enough that it would survive Saturday night.
Chris would come to see me almost every Sunday. I guess he just liked me. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the Sunday beer that he always wanted to “borry.”
One Sunday morning, as I sat on the porch drinking a beer and considering the similarities between autotrophs and heterotrophs, Chris drove up. He was skinny and had a white stripe running through his dark black beard. He joined me on the porch.
“Damn, John, I hate snakes. You ain’t gonna believe what I seen.”
I smiled. “And what have you seen, Chris?”
“There’s this here church out on the Kingston Road and I seen them talking funny and the preacher was holding this giant rattlesnake and walking around going ‘halleluja’ and sh…stuff like that.”
“Come on, Chris. You never went to church a day in your life. How did you come to see such a thing?”
“Kin I borry a beer?” I gave him one and sat back to listen.
“See, my Paw Paw grows fighting roosters. Did you know that?”
“And we have a secret place where all the guys in four counties brings they chickens to fight. And we have our fights on Sunday mornings because the cops leave us alone on Sundays.”
“What does that have to do with snakes,” I asked.
“Well, we all get in there fighting them roosters and betting on them and having us a good time. One day it was my turn to go empty the garbage cans because they won’t hold no more beer bottles, don’t you know?”
“But I still don’t see…”
“Hit’s like this, John. See, we share the dumpster with the church and split the cost. That there dumpster sets kinda close to the church window and they usually see me coming and sing extra loud ‘cause the bottles make so much noise. Kin I borry another beer?”
I handed him one.
“See, John, I dumped them there bottles and there warn’t no singing but there was these other funny voices and I walked over and looked in the window. And that’s when I seen that there preacher holding that there rattler. Hey, I gotta go. Kin I borry a couple of beers for the road?”
I gave him a six pack.
It’s not that I find the story so funny, but I am intrigued by the church and the rooster barn sharing a dumpster. True story.