The center of "our world" was the one and only firehouse in town and reaching out about 1 mile in every direction. We knew just about every tree, hole in the ground, every swimming spot and just about anything that was to be known within "our territory".
About the year 1938 or '39, every once in awhile I would hear someone at Holdrum's garage talk about seeing "The Big Snake". As the story went at that time, there was to have been an exceptionally big snake in the area within our "territory". When certain of the older fellows that hung around the garage would talk about this creature, I would figure that they were just trying to scare the "little guys" like myself, and I can still remember wondering if this granddaddy snake really did exist. I probably would not have given it a thought, except that both Abe Holdrum and his father Garrett went along with the stories and the Holdrum's would not try to fool any of us kids or in any way try to scare us. I remember asking my mother about this "monster" and she said that she had heard about this thing for years, but did not know if it was a true story or not. One could find those large, lazy, harmless black snakes most any time just by going down behind the firehouse on a summer day and with a little looking, you could see them sunning themselves on a log or something. A small one would be 2 feet long and a big one would be 3 feet or slightly larger. They didn't scare us at all.
One day, probably about 1940 or 1941, I was going somewhere in a big hurry and was running at my top speed on a path that ran from the big Holdrum House in a Westerly direction going towards the race track. As I approached a wooden bridge that crossed a little creek on the pathway, I noticed that someone had left an old tire on the bridge. I kept on running. As I got real close, I suddenly realized that this was not a tire and not an old hose, but in reality was "The Big Snake". I jumped over this thing, and was sure that I jumped at least 4 feet high (probably more like 2 feet actually), but I had the presence of mind to stop and quickly return to the spot to see what exactly I had seen. Sure enough, it was "The Big Snake". As he slowly slithered away, I tried to estimate exactly how big he really was. Judging by the fact that he spread out the the entire length of that bridge, he was at least 5 1/2 feet long and most likely a few inches beyond that.
One odd thing that I noticed and others affirmed was that his tail was blunt and did not taper down to a point as it should have. He must have had a close call with something at one time in his life. I do know that on that one and only occasion, I truly saw "The Big Snake". They really were telling the truth!