My great grandfather was a great kidder. He loved a joke, whether he played it or was the victim. He had a nice nature that didn’t get upset often. Those that knew him also knew to be on guard against his pranks.
He worked in the onion fields in upstate New York. The wet, black dirt was a favorite place for snakes. The snakes were harmless; usually garter or bull snakes. Bunk, as we knew my great grandfather, worked with a man that was absolutely terrified of snakes. One day, as Bunk went down his row, he found a nice big one. He put it into his shirt and finished his row. When it was lunch time, the men gathered around to eat. Slowly, the snake started to crawl out of Bunk’s shirt. The fellow who hated snakes just happened to be right next to him. That poor man jumped a mile and let out a scream that could be heard all over. Bunk and his other work companions roared with laughter.
That delight in pranks was passed on to my grandmother. She pulled a similar prank on her sister, Lucille, who also hated snakes. Mamie and her sisters had to do their share of work in the onion fields. When Mamie saw a snake, she wouldn’t tell her sister. She’d just wait for Lucille to find it for herself. Her shrieks were loud and made everyone else giggle.
I am mighty glad that no one has seen fit to pull pranks like that on me. I am deathly afraid of snakes.