Friday, July 13, 2012

Okefenokee Joe

 Our library has a great summer reading program.  Each week when we go for new books, we take our reading logs and the boys earn a prize of some sort.  This is the third summer we've participated in the program, but the first year we've been able to do some of the other activities they offer.  In addition to the weekly prizes, there are special guests and events most weeks.  One of the guests was a blast from the past for Brent and me. 

In Junior High, I remember well an assembly in our gym where a man named Okefenokee Joe came to visit.  He was a snake man who had lived in the swamp for twenty plus years.  He talked about the importance of preserving our earth, but what I remember most clearly is that he brought all kinds of snakes and they crawled all over our gym floor.  Brent remembers him too, so I guess he visited all of our county schools.  When I saw on the calendar that he would be in Hall County one afternoon in June, I made plans to take Andrew and Coleman. 

The room was packed out, but our boys were able to get seats pretty close to the front.  Joe hasn't changed much since he came to Morrow Junior High.  He started off with a talk about himself, the swamp, and his dog, Swampy.  Then he sang a couple of songs about Swampy.
 Finally, it was time to see what we came to see! 
 First he pulled out a huge black snake.  Not poisonous, but he better not come creeping into our yard!

 Next up was a copperhead.  Good grief!
 And then a water moccasin.  You can see them both together on the table. He was saying something about how the snakes were leaving each other alone because they don't need to bother each other and how we as humans could take a lesson from those snakes.  Well, that's fine and good, but if they come in my yard they will be bothering me so Brent will just have to kill them. 
 Then those two friends went back in their boxes and out came this fella.  His tale was rattling as soon as Joe opened the box.  Sounded like a cicada, but much more ominous.  He rattled the whole time he was on the table.
 I love this picture below.  You can see Coleman's blonde head leaned to the left right up next to Andrew.  They sat like that the whole time, with their heads together.  I wish I could have seen their faces.

 This is an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.  He lives below Macon, which is another great reason to stay where we are.  The whole time he was out, he was coiled and ready to strike.  He followed Joe around the table and struck at him once!  The audience gasped, of course, but you could tell that was just what Joe was wanting. 
I think the boys really enjoyed it.  They didn't want to get their picture made with Okefenokee Joe, but I bet they'll remember him for a long time. 

No comments: