My wife Linda is deathly scared of snakes,
and she’s a country girl, for heaven’s sakes!
She does get it naturally - her mother Nellie was also
afraid of snakes. Seeing one, she’d really get up and go!

Now my father-in-law Willard was a quiet, gentle,
kind-hearted man whose goodness was fundamental.
Nellie was a good woman, ‘tho not afraid to speak her mind.
They were happy together, getting along just fine.

As this story gets told, Nellie was picking peas
in their garden, working hard down on her knees.
Willard was working up at the chicken house.
Nellie was ever watchful for snakes or a mouse.

As Nellie reached to pick some peas, from between
her knees darted a long, green snake! Peas went flying! I mean
Nellie almost had a heart attack. Screaming…on her feet,
she turned around to run, only to find Willard, a meek

little grin on his face, holding a length of garden hose.
What happened next nobody to this day truly knows…
Nellie would never say, and Willard wasn’t the sort to be telly.
Suffice it to say, he never did play another joke upon Nellie!

Harry Edward Gilleland      06.11.02