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(Pa and me was snap-diggin’ postholes on a rocky hill, and listenen’ to the transistor radio playin’ country music, some of Jimmy Dean’s finest. Jack and Scotty was with us too.)

we were diggin’ in hard ground
had to soak a few
of the holes to soften ‘em up
jimmy dean’s singin’
listen to the children
while they play

them rocks don’t want to come out
pa grabs the pry bar
six-foot long
and prys hard
says William
get the water jug
I’m sweatin’ a flood

now ain’t it kind of funny
what the children say
skip a rope

I walk over to the studebaker
grab the burlap wrapped jug
my border collie scotty is barking
at somethin’ on the ground
it’s a big ‘ol rattlesnake
I tell pa to come runnin’
scotty’s gonna’ get bit
pa says leave him be
hold on to jack now
and watch

scotty dances in and out
snappin’ and barkin’
at the rattler
he’s just a pup
don’t know nuthin’ about nuthin’
grabs it by the tail
it turns on him
just that quick
and strikes
bitin’ Scotty on the nose
he yelps and runs to me

pa says
turn ‘ol jack loose
you’ll learn sumpthin’
jack’s a catahoula cur
he’s old
older than me

now what was that they said
about the golden rule

rattler is coiled up ready for jack
jack taunts ‘em
snake strikes at jack
quick as lightnin’
jack bites ‘em in the back
and holds on
shakes and shakes
the snake
never lets go
never slows down
never gives the snake
a chance to
strike back
rattler guts go flyin’
scotty’s nose is swellin’ up

never mind the rules
just play to win
skip a rope

jack growls with what’s left
and brings it over to pa
pa says it’s a female
had her babies lately
says they got just as much
poison as their mama
says to watch out
all the time

stab ‘em in the back
that’s the name of the game
and mommy and daddy are who’s to blame
skip a rope

we load up scotty next to me
on the seat
and jack’s in the back
ridin’ proud
he’d do it again
tongue lollin’

Pa says to me,
“William, there ain’t no substitute
for experience,
digging holes or
killin snakes.
Everybody gets bit
Sooner or later.”

scotty and me was buddies
for a lot of years
he has scars on his nose
I have some scars too

just listen to your children
while they play
it’s really not very funny
what the children say

skip a rope.

(from the Hillbilly Chronicles of William Hill)

Related Items


The following comments are for "Killin' Snakes"
by williamhill

Hillbilly Chronicles
So glad to see you posting these again. Always have enjoyed them. Even this one about snakes, yikes! Look forward to more of them.


( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: July 25, 2006 )

Killin' Snakes
Hillbilly wisdom, great stuff.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: July 26, 2006 )

Now Will Hill
That's the Charlie I know and love...We all got scars from them old snake bites...Kacee

( Posted by: Nitz Kitty [Member] On: July 26, 2006 )

Snake Dog
Most excellent poem. I think you could take out the line "on the seat." It's already implied that you're all in a vehicle.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: July 26, 2006 )

the song
I remember that song, didn't know it was Jimmy Dean....great piece of time you've captured, and the sentiment is real...we've all been bit a few times I'd say.

High score all around for this one


( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: July 27, 2006 )

Skip a rope, BWOz
We sang this song when I was a kid in the 60's. Jimmy Dean isn't the first person to record it. I don't remember who did. Johnny Cash sang it too. I appreciate the read.

Sounds like fun,Tap, tying snakes up in knots,Ha!
I hope all is well in the north. Keep your head down and your hopes up.

your friend,


You're right Gomar. I over wrote it a little. Glad you came by to see. No worries.


Kacee, my hide is a lot tougher these days. You were right,I saw it coming. All is AOK.


Shannon, thanks for readin'. Enjoyig reading your work.


More coming one of these days, Nae. Looks like the new job is working out. Glad Bob is ridin' Shotgun.


( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: July 28, 2006 )

Killin Snakes
I really enjoy this. Brought back alot memories growing up and spending my summers in AL. it was Jim ED brown who sang Skip A Rope.

( Posted by: wanda [Member] On: July 29, 2006 )

Fatal bites
Hi, Pen. Over the course of my life, I don't think I ever saw a dog die of snakebite. I've heard of it, just not seen it. We always had dogs on the farm. They hunted, worked, and were great companions. More importantly,they they guarded us little kids. I am sure I would have been bitten on quite a few occasions if it hadn't been for them. I've seen dogs literally shake snakes into, into little shreds. Some even sought snakes out just for fun. Reminds me of the rat dogs, Jack Russell terriers in UK. Yarning, like darning, is fun. I like the message of "skip a rope", we sang it all the time. I left out some of the more important parts of it, the words didn't match Pa's wisdom at the time. I've lived that song.


Thanks, Lucie. You make me blush in this 95 degree heat. I will save a copy for you.


Thanks a million, Wanda. Glad you knew. I don't know if he wrote the lyrics or not. I will google and see.


( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: July 29, 2006 )

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