December 4, 2017 - When Daddy moved our family to East Center (Texas) in 1947, my brothers and I immediately began exploring our new territory. A four mile walk down the railroad took us to Mill Creek and a half mile walk in the opposite direction took us to our closest fishing place, The Brick Yard.
The Brick Yard was brushy, briary and especially snaky. Unlike the other area ponds, the only snakes inhabiting the Brick Yard were Cotton Mouth moccasins. There were so many on them….. in the water… along the trails…. in the trees…that we not only saw them, but could actually smell them. When we came home with a large string of bass one day, Daddy was convinced we must have seined them but a fishing trip with us proved the Brick Yard Pond was full of fish…and snakes.
The water was too brushy for us to swim in, but a large number of teenage boys and girls suddenly showed up one day, took off all their clothes and splashed buck naked into the murky water where we were fishing. Bill and I crawled up the bank there one day and spotted a large covey of quail drinking at the water’s edge. Figuring I’d get them all with one shot, I blasted them with my shotgun. Feathers exploded into the air but when we ran down to pick up the dead birds, all we found were feathers.
In 1975, I took my son Mark to visit my parents in Center, and we drove down to see if The Brick Yard pond was still there. As we crossed the fence by the pond, Mark screamed out, “Dad, bring me the pistol!” When I reached him, he had a huge cotton mouth moccasin pinned to the ground with a large stick. “He struck my boot as I crossed the trail”, he said.
As I was writing this article today, Pam came in and asked why I didn’t entitle it, “The Cotton-mouths”. “Maybe I should have”, I said. “In the two years we fished there, we never saw a single brick….
……”but we saw plenty of Cotton-mouth moccasins”.