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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK: Watch for the barn snakes

Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I could choose to fill my space of random musings with the play-by-play of the George Zimmerman trial or pound the Aaron Hernandez story a little more, but I think I have much more entertaining things to talk about.

josh petersonThose stories are beat to death, anyway. No pun intended.

I have my opinions about those stories. But perhaps silence makes my side clear. Maybe it doesn’t. But either way I’m not going there this week.

Sunday, Holly saw a snake. What else need I say? What could be more entertaining than the mental image of my Holly flying off the ground, legs running in midair and dust kicking off the ground from feet churning in a scene that I can only describe as cartoonish.

Need I say more? I could just end this column right there. All she was missing was one of those signs the Coyote cartoon holds up when something bad is about to happen.

We were helping my grandparents clear some weeds around their barn Sunday in preparations for my cousin’s upcoming wedding. I used to spend much of my time around that barn. I helped build it (even though Holly doesn’t believe me). But moving out on my own and work took me away and, to be honest, I had forgotten just what all could sneak up on you in the tall grass. In the country. Near a barn. With horse feed in it. Near a field full of tall grass. Who would think a snake would be around there?

I was ripping the earth with my hoe and Holly, usually more detail oriented, was on the ground pulling and cutting weeds one-by-one with a pair of cutters and her bare hands.

In one, uninterrupted motion, she left the ground in what looked like some type of levitation, her cutters flew high enough to need FAA clearance and she was 25 yards away from the barn before I even knew what was happening.

I hate snakes. In fact, it put me in a predicament. I had to find this thing so I knew exactly where he was. Taking my eyes off him and not knowing just was not an option.

I found him. He seemed perplexed by our shock, actually. He … or she … stared at me for a while. I didn’t know he was my grandpa’s pet. “Just a chicken snake,” he tells me. “Keeps the mice away.” In fact, as it turns out, there are a few more of those freakishly scary snakes down at the barn that I think my grandpa knows by name.

I don’t have a real point here other than a little humor at Holly’s expense. Although if it would have been me in her place, I would have hit a higher pitch than she did.

Josh Peterson is the editor of the Manchester Times. He has won TPA awards for his writing and photography. He can be reached by email at or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29