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?