So Monday I went back to the library and finished reading Salvation on Sand Mountain, a book about snake handling in the South. (I had to read it at the library as the whole of the New York City Public Library System only had one copy of the book, a non-circulating copy held hostage in the Rose Reading Room). It was a good book full of good information. Here are some favorite quotes:
- Best quote first. One handler regarding the difference of faith shown in different handling styles: "If you have to shake the box or look to see where its head is at you ought'n be trying to get that snake out of that box in the first place."
- What gets the book started is the author is covering an attempted murder trial involving snake handlers, some argue that attempted murderee (the wife of a preacher) was making the whole thing up, but her lawyer kind of argued she was too dim to make the story up, or, as the author said: "The proof of her husband's guilt, his logic seemed to say, lay in the poverty of Darlene's imagination"
- When a preacher is preaching about the sacrament, saying that the bread isn't really the body of Christ, saying he isn't a cannibal, saying how silly it'd be to eat someone at church, he adds: "Can you imagine me taking a bite of Brother Junior over there, and him not even cooked?"
- One snake handler says: "I was bit about sixteen times. It was the making of me."
- When talking about the snakes owned by one snake-handling family: "One used to be called Mr. Hog until it had eight babies and then they had to start calling it Miss Piggy instead."
- Regarding snake handling when it was just beginning in the 1910's: "The only recorded injury from these early days was sustained by a man named NC Brownlee, who fell off a roof while trying to get a better look at a rattlesnake brought to a service in a glass bread case. The rattlesnake's name was Pete."
- One snake handler, regarding past incidents: "The last time I was bit, I ate four jars of homemade sauerkraut, and it made me feel a lot better."