("You'll never be a man, George. You'll always be just a little boy.")

Show All Stories

Snake And A Lake

george harold fulks/


Located about nine miles Southeast of my home here in Hillsboro, Illinois is Coffeen Lake. It's a small body of water that is of sufficient size to produce some good catches of channel cat, bluegill, crappie, stripers, and large mouth bass. And almost any kind of bait or lure will result in successful catches.

I, who was once a fisherman with a boat, trailer, and outboard motor, am now retired from teaching and one might say, semi-retired from angling. I didn't even purchase an Illinois license this year. For one reason, I have many other interests.

Selling a boat, outboard motor, and trailer I owned several years ago, I regressed into some extremely poor survival skills. I can not stand to behead a catfish or hear one grunt in despair when they're removed from water. When I catch any fish, I usually remove the barb from their mouths, look at them admiringly and toss them back into water. Selling my fishing rigs, whatever angling is done now is from the bank of whatever water that looks promising.

But one story worthy of sharing about Coffeen Lake was truly frightening for me. Not much time will be required for others to read it, and it won't take long to compose it.(Down by the old mill stream where I first met you. With your eyes so blue-dressed in gingham too. You were sixteen- my village queen. Down by the old mill stream.)

On one of the mornings I decided to go fishing from the shores of Coffeen Lake, I walked into an area that had been used as a camp site. Although those campers had exited the area, there were remnants of their presence- what was left of their campfire, some paper, beer and soft drink bottles, and a Quacker Oats box.

Casting my spinning tackle line into the lake with night crawler as bait and anchoring my rod with a forked stick in the sand, I sat and awaited for a bite.

As is often the case when I go fishing, the sun warmed my back and face. I became sleepy. Using the Quaker Oats box as a pillow for that sandy shore, I lay down straddle and flat, drifting into a peaceful state of sleep. But I was soon very abruptly awakened. Something crawled upon my chest. I was suddenly fully awakened.

"What on Earth could that be?" thought George Harold Fulks.

Then slowly reaching my right hand to my chest, I found that whatever was on me was cold, smooth, and somewhat scaly.

Occurring instantly must surely have been the fastest return to an upright position ever accomplished. And a normal sixty-four pulse and 115/74 blood pressure must have reached out of sight.

As I looked down and saw my company- the thing that had crawled on top of me, I was in for a pleasant and happy surprise. On the sand beside me was a magnificiently (adorned with color) king snake. Likely is that I was the first human being that snake had ever seen. As I watched, it crawled away under some leaves.

I've read several stories about snakes making contact with humans. Some of the stories involved snakes that are deadly poisonous. But my encounter, while it is a pleasant thought and memory, ended happily for both that king snake and me.

This site is supported by Jennifer Parish