Telling Tales: A Southern Lady Meets a Copperhead

Watercolor illustration of a garden
Illustrations by Judy Jamieson.

By Ann Dorer

Not long after I decided to tell my grandchildren small stories on purpose, I got fuel for my next tale to tell them. My next-door neighbor Diane and I were taking our morning walk around our lake when suddenly she did a little bunny hop forward. “Oh! I thought I almost stepped on a snake!” she said.

I looked down, and indeed, she had jumped over a snake, a small one stretched out on the road and not moving. It looked like a twig except it had a triangular-shaped head and an orange body. It was a baby copperhead. “We need to kill it,” Diane immediately concluded.

I was in total agreement.

“How?” I asked.

“Get a rock,” Diane suggested.

Where was a rock when you needed one! I finally found one that I could pull up from a nearby landscaped embankment. Then I simply dropped the rock on the snake. But we could see the snake’s tail sticking out from the rock, and that tail was wiggling.

So I stood on top of the rock.

The snake’s tail kept moving.

“Get another rock,” Diane suggested.

I did. From the same landscape. This time, however, the rock was flatter so I could hold it sideways. I used it like a hatchet and chopped the little snake up. A lot.

On our next walk, Diane said, “I told my grandchildren that we killed a snake. They asked me how, and I told them we rocked it to death.”           

“I told mine, too,” I said, “But I said that I used a rock and chopped it up like diced onions.”

So here I am, telling you this tale of the tale we told our grandchildren.

And I did it, too, on purpose.

Watercolor painting of roses

Former editor and consummate Southern lady Ann Dorer shares her reflections on life in our beloved region every few weeks. See her essay on Becoming a Southern Lady for more of her thoughts on the feminine characteristics we love to celebrate.