From a Barbour County Scrapbook
Clippings from the Barbour Democrat

submitted by Linda Graham.

The Thing in the Cellar!

(Editor's note: apparently a true story)

By Mrs. E. F. VAN GILDER

Grandmother had nerve -- more, I believe, than any other woman I have ever known. When she and Grandfather were a young couple living in what is now Marion county, West Virginia, they had an experience so dreadful that I can never hear it told without a feeling of horror. Shoes were heavy and uncomfortable in those days and Grandmother liked to slip hers off when her work was done, to rest her feet. One summer evening after dark while she was sitting barefooted, she remembered that the cellar door was still open, and decided to go down and close it without bothering to put on her shoes. Around the house she went, through the cool grass, down the stone steps and on to the dirt floor of the cellar. And then upstairs in the kitchen Grandfather heard a cry, "Bring the hoe, quick!" Now that call meant just one thing -- a snake; and he knew that Grandmother hadn't SEEN it either. He snatched up a lamp and started toward the cellar, pulling a hoe out from under the porch as he went. He hurried on around the corner of the house and there found Grandmother, just inside the cellar door, with her bare foot pressing down exactly on the neck of a great copperhead. Grandfather was about to start for it with the hoe when he saw between him and Grandmother, its mate. He had to kill it before he could get to the one on which she was standing, and all the while she dared not move her foot the fraction of an inch on the squirming, twisting thing beneath it. It was a ticklish business dispatching that one without striking her foot, but it was finally done. Grandmother didn't faint when the ordeal was over; and she didn't have to be carried into the house; but though she lived almost to the century mark she never again stepped out of the house in her bare feet.


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