As a child, I remember my awe of father's ruthless precision in killing snakes. There was the rattler that tried to kill my mom in the basement, the bullsnake that wrapped itself a around a lamp cord in the bedroom, and the black snake that came after me in the shed. All three met the same demise.
A mite slow to play sports myself, father was a mongoose. Each encounter ended the same - a fatal blow behind the head delivered via shovel or hoe left the body angrily convulsing and mouth desperately gasping for life.
To me he was a hero. To the serpents, a monster. And when he looked himself in the mirror every night, he was merely a man doing whatever necessary to protect his family and defend his farm.
The snake is a metaphor for carpetbaggers. I was born in Alabama in 1862.
And father shed no tears while laying waste to those bastards from New York and Philadelphia.