I grew up in the mountains out where the snakes have legs.  Where the hoot owls speak in English and the roosters lay square eggs.

My father taught his three girls, grandkids and many of their friends this little ditty.  We sang it many times by the campfire.

Granddaddy Jim around the campfire photo by Kathy Miller

 Dad would strum along on his 6 string.

Jim Lovett, Granddaddy Jim strumming his 6 string

I don’t know if snakes have legs, but I have encountered a snake or two while hiking in the mountains.

The most infamous story concerns 2 dogs, a bunch of kids and their parents.

Sunny, a beautiful, sweet yellow lab

Sonny, yellow lab photo by Laura Huffman

and Abbey, a feisty, hiking loving 14 pound Yorkie.

Abby Miller 14 pound yorkie in mountain creek photo by Kathy Miller

The Huffmans and Millers were hiking to Warden Falls in Panthertown Valley nestled between Cashiers, NC and Toxaway, NC.

Warden Falls is a favorite spot, a great hike, a great place to eat lunch,  a great place to slide into a cold pool of water.

Warden Falls Panthertown Valley photo by Kathy Miller

We do not start at the top.

Warden Falls slide Pantertown Valley photo by Kathy Miller

On a very shady segment of the trail, James stopped abruptly and said, “Dad get Abbey!”

A fairly large timber rattler lay in our path.  In the shade.  Not on a rock sunning itself.

Dave grabbed Abbey and we all stopped dead in our tracks.  Sunny, the fun loving yellow lab kept running down the path.  She loped across the snake.  To this day all I recall is the entire group freezing and yelling “NO SUNNY!”  And of course Sunny turned around to face us and thought…They are calling my name….They must want me to come back to them.

As if in slow motion we all bent low and said,  “STAY, SUNNY STAY!”  Of course Sunny did not stay.  She ran back to us and stepped over the rattler.  We thought she was going to be a dead dog.  The snake did not move.

Sunny survived.  Laura grabbed her and quickly fastened her leash.  We detoured off trail to give the snake some space.  We stopped and looked back.  The snake slowly slithered off.  Thank you Mr. Rattler.

Abby and James with a snake look alike photo by Kathy Miller

This is not the snake!  Sure looks like one.  Just a stick.

I must have something with Rattlers, but when you live in the mountains and hike in the mountains, they just seem to appear.

I woke one morning before dawn to take Abbey, our 14 pound Yorkie out to potty.  We always go out the laundry room door through the  carport to her pooping ground.  When we returned to the door,  I saw what I thought was a large stick lying on the carport floor.  I didn’t remember a stick lying there the night before.  I went back to bed and just couldn’t go to sleep worrying about the stick.  I went back to the carport, got into the passenger side of my car,  slid over to the driver’s side and opened the window.  The stick was a timber rattler.

I quickly became Towanda.  As in Fried Green Tomatoes. (Please watch the movie if you have never seen Towanda).  I backed the car out of the carport, and then quickly ran over the snake.  Several times.  Towanda!  I rolled down the window, checked to make sure the snake was dead then  climbed out of the car in reverse order and went back to bed.

  What about bears and PBR?  Scroll back up to the first 2 pictures of my father.  You might see a tall boy PBR can.  Stay tuned for the next post.

Still vacation time in July.  Watch for upcoming stories beginning August from my tailgating travels.

I welcome your comments, recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.


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