Snake on Mill Street 1948

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Snake on Mill Street 1948

Almonte Gazette 1948

News being very scarce this week—as it always is in late August—an editor has to resort to strange ways of filling up a newspaper. Apropos of that: on Wednesday night in front of the Gazette office, which is located on Mill Street, we met a little girl standing beside a tricycle who pointed to the gutter along the sidewalk and said: “frog, frog.” She started to reach, and looking in the direction of her small hand we saw a snake crawling along. We told her not to touch it and it crawled into a tile drain under a ramp leading to an alley entrance.

A couple of middle aged ladies came along right then and we made the fatal mistake of telling them what we had seen. They looked in the gutter, saw no snake, and looked at us as if we were a snake—or as if we had been seeing snakes. After these ladies had gone on their way, looking disgusted, we stood there ruminating. We knew we could not call on the three year-old child for evidence and we felt we had blundered with the ladies just as the Light Brigade did at Baiaklava. 

Things generally end that way. But this time we were lucky. Along came Mr. Tom Proctor, Sr. and we told him of our strange experience. He looked at us dubiously but was too polite to express what was passing in his mind. Then came one of our own employees. He was a little bit helpful because he told Tom he had seen a snake in the same spot a couple of weeks ago. With that, Tom looked strangely at both of us. But like the sun bursting through a dark cloud, our friend the snake dissolved all our troubles by sticking its head out of the drain pipe at that very moment. 

We were so pleased we yelled: “There it is,” and straightway it withdrew its head. Tom Proctor said with growing doubt; “Where is it: I don’t see anything; of course I’m not as young as I used to be.” Well, to make a silly story short, we all stood still and out came the snake. This time we kept quiet and he came all out—three feet of him. Tom looked at us with an apologetic expression then back at the snake. The reptile was one of those harmless spotted adders (milksnake) we used to see sunning himself on the sandy roads in (the old days— often killed by toy buggy wheels—later by cars. 

Finally it crawled up on the sidewalk and made for the alleyway, pausing now and then. Along came two young “bobby-soxers” gabbling pleasantly. Just as they were about to step on the snake we pointed to him. They seized their skirts—they were wearing skirts at the time—and with shrieks that could be heard for miles they dashed down the street going five feet every leap. 

Meanwhile the snake escaped into the dark alley and that was the last we saw of him. But we have the proof of Mr. Proctor, our employee, the two girls and a few others realized that there really was a snake. And if anyone in Carleton Place or any other neighboring town wants to make an issue of this situation by saying that the main street in Almonte is so dead that snakes crawl on it we will recall this one. 

In the year1929 there was an awful uproar in “The Loop,” Chicago, when a big bull snake invaded that populous section of the city. Women fainted, strong men went into pubs for strong drinks, police grabbed their guns and pandemonium reigned. Finally the reptile was shot. It was said he wandered up from Lake Michigan and didn’t know how to get back. So where did this come from?

Artist’s drawing of the portion of the McArthur Block at 63 Mill Street which once housed the Almonte Gazette. It first appeared in the Gazette’s Christmas edition dated December 25, 1891. Thanks to the scrapbooks of Lucy Connelly Poaps

The Pantagraph
Bloomington, Illinois
12 Jun 1929, Wed  •  Page 1

The Daily Independent
Murphysboro, Illinois
12 Jun 1929, Wed  •  Page 1

CLIPPED FROM
Freeport Journal-Standard
Freeport, Illinois
11 Jun 1929, Tue  •  Page 1

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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