Growing Up, Snakes, and Fathers

By | April 22, 2023

[April 22, 2023]  To say that, as a kid, I was afraid of snakes is an understatement.  Growing up in a rural area in Northeast Louisiana often put me in contact with them.  This article is about growing up with snakes and how my friends and our fathers were part of the story that helped us be better young men.

When I was in Junior High, we moved to next to Mr. Jacob Simon’s farm, where I learned to milk cows and kiss my first girl.  Adjacent to the farm was a large pond and woodland interlaced with dirt trails, where snakes were abundant.  My friends and I would swim in the pond and trek through the woods just for the fun things boys do.

One sunny day while swimming in the pond, we saw a Water Moccasin (a venomous pit viper).  The snake scared the bejeebers out of us (we knew he could kill us), and we quickly swam to shore, running home as fast as our legs could carry us.  Talking to my dad, he said it was okay to kill these snakes but to be sure to use a sturdy stick.  What dad today would give that advice?  Probably none.

The next day, Billie and I made a promise that we would go snake hunting.  A few days later, we were in the woods looking for poisonous snakes, which included Rattlesnakes and Water Moccasins.  And we did this hunting barefooted and bare-chested; we only wore shorts.  Crazy?  Maybe, but there is more to it.  We wanted to prove something; that we were brave enough to be men.

Humans have had an adversarial relationship with snakes for our entire existence.  The most common stories of antiquity involve snakes or “serpents,”  Since antiquity, we have associated evil with snakes.  For a part of the summer, Billie and I were good at finding and killing these snakes.

Billie was in love with the killing.  I was not.  Getting rid of these snakes was a way to prove myself and “make the woods safer.”  It was too easy to fall in love with the hunting and killing of the snakes, and I appreciated that decision to kill them, but I moved on in life.  At the end of the summer, my family moved to Arkansas and into the big city.  No more real snakes.

I was not less afraid of snakes, but I was better at confronting them and my fear.


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “Growing Up, Snakes, and Fathers

  1. Walter Vernon

    Enjoyed this article. Many of your articles take me back to my youth. I grew up in parts of rural South Carolina near ponds and swamps. Many days after school and summer break I would jump on my buddy’s scooter with my 22 rifle in plain site (unheard of today) and fishing pole and go to some of our favorite sites and fish and kill snakes. As I read your article I realized , while not knowing it, I was learning to face fear and survive and go on with the day. Character building comes in all sorts.

  2. Winston

    Gen. Satterfield has, once again, given a glimpse into his childhood and a breadcrumb into understand what it takes to build leadership. Early on he was confronted by danger and willingly decided he had to face the snakes. Most of us would have run away but courage is difficult and he chose courage.

    1. Autistic Techie

      Well said, Winston. Courage is rare but it is infectious.

  3. Wild Bill

    I’m sending this article to my 20-year old son out in Oklahoma. He is going to OU out there. I’m sure he could use it for a quick smile.

  4. Erleldech

    Only Gen. Satterfield could write a story about snakes, fathers, and growing up. I grew up in Los Angeles. There were no snakes and I’m deathly afraid of all snakes. Even those at the zoo, I avoid looking at them.

  5. Janice Williamson

    Snakes, fathers, and growing up. I wonder, Gen. Satterfield, if your mother would have given the same advice as your dad? Hunt snakes? Yeah sure, just carry a “sturdy stick.”

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Hi Janice. I believe my mother would have said the same thing but added that I should also be home for dinner on time. My mom also never complained about me throwing dirt clods at wasp nests which, of course, made the wasps mad and chased us. It was just boys being boys.

      1. Fred Weber

        You da man, Gen. S. I find your ‘explorations’ in your childhood funny. Thank you for sharing.

        1. Janna Faulkner

          Fred, I’m not sure “funny” is the right word either. But I get it. Only a guy would say that.

  6. Doug Smith

    I know this comment is off topic a bit because it is not on this article by today’s DAILY FAVORITES. You noted two articles in The New Criterion Excellent source for some truly logical thinking. I read the New Criterion weekly to pick up ideas that I can apply in my daily life, just like I read These are the sources of great info, entertaining, and vision. Thanks to the authors for their ideas. Keep it up.

    1. Pooch T.

      SNAKES and fear. Enjoyable? Well, not the word I would use, but I get it. Perhaps “fulfilling”?

  7. Emma Archambeau

    You could have written a much longer story that has more details about why you are better at confronting those snakes (which represent your fear). That is one lesson we all should have to read and enjoy.

  8. Rev. Michael Cain

    Wow, a rare childhood. Maybe not. Bless you Gen. Satterfield for this story.


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