I bit the head off of a snake

I bit the head off of a snake.

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I bit the head off of a snake

I bit the head off a snake……. I awoke with a start; the thing was wrapped around my neck and hissing right in my face. Did I panic? Of course I did, from a sound sleep I felt the snake begin to tighten its grip on my throat and before I could come to full wakefulness I realized the snakes head was right in my face with its jaws wide open as if it were going to try and swallow me whole. I could feel his breath on my cheek, and yes I freaked out.

In the seconds it takes to wake up I only had one thought and that was to survive. The snake, I don’t know what kind it was but it was big enough to eat me, was in the last stages of squeezing and choking me with the intention of swallowing me alive.

This is not for the faint of heart. I almost didn’t make out with my life. My heart has started pounding again just in recounting my ordeal.

Even though I was still in the dregs of sleep and the life nearly choked out of me I scrambled with what must have been superhuman strength. The adrenalin rushing through my body I grabbed the snake by the neck to keep his head away from my face. The breath coming from him was horrible as it brushed across my cheek.

The harder I grappled with him the tighter he squeezed. I tried to strangle him at first but every time I would push his head away, his body would tighten around my neck bringing me to the point of blacking out.

It took only a second or two I guess, but it felt like I fought that snake for hours.

Even though it saved my life I hate recounting the part where I bit his head off.

Though I was in a daze from waking up in a panic and from the lack of blood to my brain I still had the fight or flight instinct. I couldn’t run away so my reaction was by instinct alone. Since I couldn’t get away from this thing by pushing it off of me I pulled him closer and bit him in the neck right behind the head. As soon as I bit down I remember the flesh did not break under the pressure of my teeth but I could hear the snakes breathing falter.

I know what is going through your head (how can I hear the snake breathing?) I guess because he was close enough to eat me. When I decided to eat him instead he gasped, with every bite I took he seemed to gasp louder.

I still remember the feeling of his flesh and the way the snake squirmed with every bite. The skin did not want to break…….. He was one tough skinned snake is all I can say but I chewed on him with the ferocity of a man that woke up to find a snake attacking him. I was finally able to break the flesh and the snakes gasping became terrible…. More terrible than before, the air from his lungs filled my mouth as I was biting him and I could hear it screaming in my ear. The gush of air coming from the snake would not stop!!! Oh God what was happening?

I came to full wakefulness. My head began to clear. I was sweating, my heart was raising but I had won. I had just torn the CPAP Mask off the end of the hose that had wrapped itself around my neck during a dream I was having about a giant snake that was trying to eat me. I am at work now writing this account and picking plastic out from between my teeth.

I’m going to need a new mask and hose now. Dreams, how real they are.



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Wonderful gift idea for Christmas


A book is the PERFECT gift for young and old. Why not go to http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Afghanistan-Crazy-Encounters-Not-So-Front/dp/193646702X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323111407&sr=8-1 and order that perfect gift for your loved ones. How many books can you give from an author that you actually know?

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1983 Little Charles takes a trip with Big Charles………… just a memory that will live on.

1983 Little Charles takes a trip with Big Charles………… just a memory that will live on..

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1983 Little Charles takes a trip with Big Charles………… just a memory that will live on.

The truck would run 85 mph, most of the time, sometimes more. The speed comes courteous of the direct little tweaks and tricks the Old Man has mastered over the years.  The road was trailing a long way behind but too far ahead to reach the end by 7:00pm.

The sun was high in the sky and the trailer was finally empty. The truck was locked into about 76 mph and as much as the Old Man pushed the pedal and floated the gears it just wouldn’t go any faster. The Old Man was getting agitated. The race against time was only making it worse. What is the rush?

We see the old diner we had passed several days ago so that becomes an unwanted pit-stop. Not just a pit-stop but a landing zone really and judging by the cloud of dust we created on our landing I’d say we almost ran off the runway.

The Old Man is out of his seat in a flash and before I can get my boots on the long hood of his Kenworth has been yanked up and open by some grievous powerful monster that must have come out of the cloud of dust.

I barely see him through the haze but it wasn’t a monster with superhuman strength it is the driver himself, my dad.

I am in some kind of awe at his mood of desperation but I have to go to the bathroom so off I go. When I return the dust has settled somewhat and the Old Man has removed the fuel filter and is tightening up the new one with a smile on his face. “We will make it on time now” he looked at me saying “you ready?” the whole time holding onto a small screwdriver, that screwdriver in his hand was the secret key to speed and I knew it. I also knew he would have returned the engine to its earlier settings as soon as this devilish run had come to an end.

Once again were saddled up and screaming down the highway. It’s the Indian Nation Parkway and nothing is in the way. The sun is beginning to set casting a shadow of the rig onto the field of grass. If more speed would have been available the Old Man would outrun the shadow or at least tried.

What is the rush? I don’t know for sure but we must be winning the race because the Old Man’s mood seems to be getting brighter.

“Well if it’s not one thing it’s another!!!”  The growl came from the driver’s seat. Our speed starts to slow the gears grind and the sound of Jake- brake is like rolling thunder. I hear the gravel crunching as we pull off the shoulder of the road. What is the rush?

Not a sound…… the wind is blowing but I can’t hear it, the roar in my ears is from the highway speed. I hadn’t noticed it had been so loud till it was gone.

The truck rocks as the man steps up onto the driver side to talk with the Old Man. Not just a man but the biggest Indian Police Officer I have ever seen. Uh-oh

“Driver” the Indian says to my dad, “you in some kind of hurry-up-rush-mode,aint ya?”

The Old Man cocked his hat to the back of his head and looked at this Monster of a man without saying a word.

The Officer: “driver how fast do you think you were going?”

The Old Man: “Well that kind of depends on where I was when you shot me”.

Officer: “Humor me, how fast do you think you were driving?”

Old Man: “aww I figure somewhere between 80 and 90, my speed ohmmeter only reads up to 80ph.

Officer: “Driver I clocked you at 83mph” “Now driver can you explain to me why you are 33 mph over this posted 50mph section of MY highway?

My dad looked at the Police Officer with a straight face and said “Dukes of Hazard is my favorite television show, it comes on at 7 o-clock and I am trying to make it home in time to watch it”. I could have crawled under the bunk; I just knew this big man would think my dad playing with him. The surprise was on me.

I knew then what the rush was all about.

I heard what sounded like a cow trying to regurgitate a cud to chew on, I popped up to see if the Cop was about to choke to death……… he was laughing, still sounding like he had a cud problem but he was laughing, and I mean laughing hard.

Officer:“Driver what do they call you on the radio?”    “TenderFoot is what I go by.”

Officer:“Well TenderFoot that was not the answer I was expecting to hear.” HaHa big laughter

Officer:“They call me Big Chief.”

Big Chief: “TenderFoot” haha….. “The Dukes and that General Lee happens to be my favorite show.” And “I plan on hightailing it to the house when I leave you.” “There are no Cops between us and the Texas border so put that big rig in the wind……… just don’t run anybody over.”

As the monster of a man (Big Chief) walked off chuckling to himself he turned one last time and shouted to my dad who had his head hanging out the driver window to hear better. “I like your bumper sticker”.

The bumper sticker read (Custer was a Punk) enough said.

I am witness to the fact my DAD aka. The OLD MAN aka. TenderFoot made it home in time to watch his favorite program.

To some this story may mean nothing to you, but this is  still a story I enjoy telling, it is my memory and it is just one of many.

My Sisters and Brothers all have seen the quick temper TenderFoot has accosted upon some of the idiots of this world but this Old Man the one we call DAD was a wonderful Husband and a Great Father. I can’t remember a time no matter how bad his day was going that he would take the time to laugh at one of my many jokes regardless of how corny it may have been. I’m going to miss that most of all.

We love YOU, DAD, OLD MAN, PEPAW, PAWPAW, BIG CHARLES and most of all in my case TenderFoot. I am the only true TenderFoot left………… it will be lonely.   {How about that TenderFoot….. you got your ears on?}

• July 12, 1938 - November 28, 2011


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TenderFoot’s Corner 10-11-2011

This past week I have been very busy and unable to take the time to write a new story for TenderFoot’s Corner. I am currently working in Coffeyville Kansas on a construction turn around with (Ray Buxton) a longtime friend and avid reader of all my articles.  I chose a story that
I posted on my website http://www.charlesmcdonaldholt.com some time ago.

This is a short story; I wrote while working in Afghanistan and was included in my book,

Charles@afghanistan: crazy encounters from the not-so front lines

The fishing story:

I went fishing today.

I love to fish and I try to go fishing everywhere I go just to say I did.

The water was as clear as a swimming pool and I could see the bass bedding down
near a group of rotted-out trees. The trees were still standing but had no
leaves to give shade. The bass were hanging around the darkest part; that being
the trunk of the trees, but the sun was able to shine right down and light them
up anyway.

I’m talking about some lunkers here, fifteen to twenty pounds apiece.

I didn’t have my normal rig I like to fish with, but I did have a good fly rod. I know
you think I’m crazy trying to catch a bass that big with a fly rod and with
such clear water, but I didn’t know what to fish with. Most of the waters I
have ever bass-fished were nowhere near this clear, and most of the time they
were downright muddy. I know how to fish a muddy body of water, but this was
new and wonderful being able to see what I was fishing for.

The main drawback was that I couldn’t get very close to them because I was standing on
the bank. I had the beautiful snowcapped Himalayas behind me with a cool breeze
blowing just enough to keep me comfortable but not enough to make the water
ripple, so I never lost sight of my bass. I tied on a white fly. I had no idea
what these bass like to eat, but a good habit I have is looking at what
surrounds the body of water I am going to fish. If it is a muddy bank with
crawfish, then I will go for dark, large bait of some sort without too many
things that shine like spinner baits. If the banks are covered in grass or
swampy, then I go for the lighter colors and my favorite baits for this area
would be a weedless frog.

I was standing on the most beautiful sandy beach beside the clearest freshwater lake
I have ever seen, with the most bass I have ever seen, not to mention the
largest bass I have ever seen. I didn’t know what to use as bait. I was looking
around and found that the area had quite a few flying ants. These ants had big
white wings and when they would fall in the water these bass would suck them
under. They didn’t make a loud splashing sound, just a slight slurping noise and
the ant was gone.

I chose my fly to match the flying ant as closely as possible. The very first cast I
made, I saw the biggest bass I have ever seen in my life coming to investigate
it along with a few smaller ones. They all just looked at my fly but didn’t do
anything but look at it and then swam back down to their bedding area. I cast
about twenty times with the same results every time. I was desperate now, I
wanted a fish, I wanted the big one, but I was willing to settle for any one of
them. I thought I would try something.

Thinking it was my human smell on the bait that was turning them off, I decided to fix
it. I found an old tree covered with these flying ants and caught about a dozen
of them. I killed them and rubbed their little bodies all over my lure, trying
to transfer as much of their odor to it as possible.

I cast this time . . . and the same thing. I saw the monster bass come to look it over
and just when I thought he was going to go back down, a smaller bass headed for
my ant-smelling bait. I guess he thought the smaller bass was going to get the
ant so he rushed back and gobbled up my bait.

I didn’t know what happened, one second he was going to the bottom without taking my
lure and the next second he was heading to the bottom with my lure. He caught
me by surprise and almost took my rod from me. You would think after spending
years fishing in water you can’t see a strike coming, I would not have been
caught by surprise.

My heart was pounding out of my chest, my rod was about to break, I was fighting at
least a twenty-pound bass on a fly rod with a seven-pound test line. I had to
finesse this monster or he would break something and I would lose him for sure.

I played this bass for about twenty minutes before he started to get tired. I was walking
up and down the bank trying to keep him from getting tangled up in the stand of
trees he had been bedding down in. He would rip the line off the spool and I
would ease it back on. This was one of the greatest fishing moments of my life.

He finally got tired and I was able to get him up to the sandy bank where I was. I
pulled him in ever so gently because at any moment, he could make another run
for it and if I wasn’t ready when he spooked, all of my efforts would be in

I eased him into the shallow water and I lay down on my stomach so I could reach him
without having to wade out. He gave one last splash but I had him. I had my
thumb in his mouth and I wasn’t letting go. He splashed so much water in my
face; I had to close my eyes. When I opened my eyes again, my boss was standing
over me with an empty water cup saying, “Get back to work and if I catch you
sleeping on the job again you’re fired. And why do you have a thumb stuck in my
tuna sandwich?”

PS: for my readers, this story is the only work of fiction in my book. As unbelievable,
as my stories may seem in charles@afghanistan I assure you they are all true.

Remember you can find me on facebook and read more of my stories at www.charlesmacdonaldholt.com

Look for charles@afghanistan: crazy encounters from the not-so front lines at www.amazon.com



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TenderFoot’s Corner 10-04-11

Well here I am.

I’m lying here in a hospital bed right in the middle of what
used to be my living room.

I’m tired but I feel my second wind coming. I’m 87 years old
and I have lived a good life. What more could a man ask for. My lovely wife of
so many wonderful years is singing in my ear and stroking my cheek.

Naoma doesn’t think I can hear her but I can. I want to tell
her how beautiful her voice is to me but I can’t seem to get it out. I try to
talk to her and tell her I love her but my body won’t do what I want it too. I
can’t even get my lips to form the words I want her to hear. This is so
frustrating. Not so much for me but for my family. They seem to think I am in
some discomfort but in fact I feel a peacefulness slowly making its way up my

I know my Stella is here. She is always here. I aggravate
her sometimes but all I have to do is give her that little chuckle and she just
melts into my little girl and everything is ok again with her. She thinks she
is tough with me sometimes but if I could get the words out of my mouth I would
assure her I was never offended. My skin is way too tough for that. Speaking of
tough Stella is one tough cookie. I wish I could tell her I love her.

My boys are here too, he he, you won’t find a finer bunch of
men than what my Sons grew into. Thomas and Johnny are talking fishing. Some
hunting talk is in there but mostly fishing, yep I am proud of my boys. Benny
is not here but somehow I can feel his presence. It’s the kind of feeling you
have when you get up before dawn and try to get your coffee made and collect
your fishing gear without waking the rest of the house. It is a cool, expectant
feeling like there is an electric charge in the air. I don’t know if I can
convey the right feeling but that feeling is how I know Benny is near. I half expect
to hear Dottie telling Ben to hurry up in a whispered shout.

Every now and then Thomas will lean down and tell me he
loves me and will pray for me. Johnny stays with me all the time. He is a soft
hearted guy to be so big. Johnny will wait till he doesn’t think anybody is
watching and he will cry and tell me how much he loves me.

Thomas and Linda hover over me like I’m a fragile old man,
he he, I guess I am somewhat fragile right now but I’m not broken. When they
start to pray and cry I want to do the same but I can’t. My mind is here but I can’t
make anything work right.

Johnny and Charlotte would be the dynamic duo for a man that
needed to be taken care of. I’m too tough to be going through this. I love it
when Johnny holds my hand and prays but when Charlotte come around I know she
wants to do something to me I don’t want done. I think I’m going to get a lucky
punch in one of these times. She laughs at me for trying but all I’m going to
get her yet. Well maybe not, if I did get a lick in, all I would have to do is
use my Stella chuckle on her and she would forgive me.

There is another constant presence. I know Jesus has been
with me the whole time but I think he has had one of his special Angels to look
after me. She has been in the background almost unnoticed but I know she is
there. The most Beautiful Red Haired Angel ever created. She is always there.

Yep this is as close to Heaven as a man can get I think. I
lived my life in a manner I hoped would be pleasing to God. I’m full of the
Holy Ghost and my family is living for God. I know my life is coming to an end
on this Earth but life is just beginning for me.

That is what makes it so frustrating for my family. They can’t
see what I can see. I’m laying here like a cripple and I’m sure I’m a sad sight
to see but I’m the one that is sad for my family. Everybody looks into my face
and they talk very loud thinking I can’t see or hear. The truth is I can see
things now that were not visible to me before. It is as if I have a new set of
eyes. I can see right through to the other side. I hear what can only be a
river flowing in the distance.

I have got, to go check that river out. I can hear it and
the sky is just starting to dawn. I can see the sky getting brighter by the

What is that? I hear crying behind me and I hear singing in
the distance just beyond the ripple of the river I’m heading for. I want to
know who is crying because the voices sounds very familiar too me and I want to
make the hurt they feel go away. I hesitate just a moment but someone calls my

I turn back in the direction of the river and….. hey Benny,
I thought that was your voice. How’s the fishing son? Let me have one of those
rods and let the Old Man show you how it’s done one more time. I’m heading up stream
tell your brothers when they get here they will have a lot of catching up to

Tell the girls they can fish if they want but tell your Mom
just to follow the sound of me whistling. She will recognize the tune…. It is
the one she was singing to me right before I got here.

My Grandfather, J. C.
Holt died 05-21-09 while the family gathered around his bedside I sat numbly on
the couch. I felt the urge to write……….. Paw Paw Holt was a good man.


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TenderFoot’s Corner 09-27-11

TenderFoot’s Corner 09-27-11.

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TenderFoot’s Corner 09-27-11

I got manhandled……..
by a couple of West Coast chicks.


I have your attention now, don’t I?

It’s not what you’re thinking, they didn’t beat me up but I
would have felt better if they had.

Ever since my book charles@afghanistan was published last
month, I have been riding on cloud nine. I have had so many people contacting
me saying how much they love it. The book has been described as a breath of
fresh air, light hearted, tear jerking laughing funny and a one of a kind in
its category.

For eight weeks, the book stayed on the top 100 Hot New
Releases published by Amazon with my highest ranking #6.

The book charles@afghanistan: crazy encounter from the
not-so front lines was described by my publisher as the runaway hit for the

Well I must say I have enjoyed the popularity it has brought
me and the interviews have been wonderful. I have been blessed to have people
interview me that have actually read the book because that makes for a great

What does this have to do about getting manhandled you ask?

My book sales have been sliding a bit lately so I was really
looking forward to an interview I had lined up for a Las Angeles based
audience. After every interview I would see a jump in sales and was on the
verge of making the New York Times Best Seller List from all the attention my
book was receiving.

I had to drop out of the lime light for a while by taking a
job that was going to actually put food on my families table and pay some
bills. I had to postpone any more interviews even though it is critical to keep
the book hyped up at this early stage. Oh well….. you have heard of starving
artist….. Well I am a starving author, lol.

I accepted an opportunity to interview on a call-in radio
show last week. I knew it was going to be fun because the letter they sent
stated they would love to have a witty author such as myself on their show, it
would be great fun, they said.

What was I expecting? Another fun interview describing how
the book came to be? A lot of laughter to go along with some of the crazy
stories that I wrote about? I was prepared to really plug my book and get
everyone excited about buying it just to see how a Texas boy acted when he was

That didn’t happen.

My wife and I listened to the first part of the show before
I was queued and I started to worry. I was listening to two women that were the
host, bashing men and laughing at the stupidity of the stronger sex………… then it
was my turn.

These two women had an agenda that I was part of but not
aware of if that makes any sense. They took control of the show and headed off
in a direction completely opposite of where it was supposed to go. My book is
funny, they thought it was sad. My book is uplifting; they could only compare
it to Americas 9-11. My book is told in my own warped sense of humor twisted up
in the pages to let people know what this Texas boy thought about the world
around him, they wanted to know if the military helped me in any way for all my
mental anguish.

How can anybody that reads my book think I needed
psychological help to get on with my life? Don’t answer that.

This may not be the place to vent my frustrations but by the
time the interview was over, I felt like I had been put through the ringer. We
listened for a few minutes when my interview was over and one of the host
stated “wow…. That was sobering”……………. I wanted to throw something. I wanted to
fly to L.A. and smash the radio microphone… hehe   I really did but I did what a grown man like
myself should do. I went to bed, and waited for my wife to come scratch my back
and tell me it was all OK.

I suspect those women radio show host didn’t even read my

Remember you can find me on facebook and read more of my
stories at www.charlesmacdonaldholt.com

Look for charles@afghanistan: crazy encounters from the
not-so front lines at www.amazon.com


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TenderFoot’s Corner 09-20-11

The O-Rain-Ga-Tane

I know I’m wrong but my wife is the punch line to most of my jokes. She is a good
sport about it most of the time but there are times when I go overboard. It’s a
good thing we don’t live on a houseboat because that is where I would be on
this one…. Overboard.

I was driving a truck at the time and had been to Canada many times but Roxane had
never been so I took her with me.

I was making a delivery to a warehouse which is not surprising since I was a truck
driver. It was snowing. It had been snowing for quite some time and it was slow
going. This is no surprise either….. My wife had to use the bathroom. I couldn’t
get off the highway to get her some relief so she was really suffering by the
time we made it to the warehouse.

I don’t know what made me do it…….

I walked into the delivery office to hand in my paperwork. Another driver was already at
the clerk’s window. When it was my turn I handed in my paperwork and told the
clerk I had a strange question for him……. The clerk said “OK what’s your
strange question?”

“I have a monkey in my truck that needs to pee. Can I bring her inside to use the

Instead of leaving the other driver stopped short of the exit to listen.

The Clerk “you have a what?”

“I have an Orangutan that rides with me….. You know like BJ and the Bear or Right
Turn Clyde.” “She is not used to all this snow and cold weather so she won’t go
pee in the snow and she is going to mess up my truck if she can’t use your

I went on to tell him that she was a very clean animal and knows how to use a human

The clerk just couldn’t believe his luck….. He was going to see an Orangutan today. His day
wasn’t so boring all of a sudden. Of course he said yes.

I went to fetch my wife, who was already embarrassed to go into the clerk’s
office as it was. I was looking forward to seeing the clerks face when I walked
in with my bride instead of a monkey. We walked in to find the driver still
waiting. As soon as he saw us he turned his face to keep from laughing but I was
somewhat disappointed because the clerk was not at his post.

Roxane found the bathroom just down the hall and I was posted outside to keep anybody
from walking in on her. Roxane is very bashful. I’m used to standing guard so I
stood there obediently…………waiting.

The clerk came back……….. Where had he gone?

The clerk went into the warehouse and told everybody to come out to see this crazy truck
driver that lived on the road with an Orangutan. There were at least 15 people
following the clerk. The hallway was only so big and with so many people
crowding around the bathroom door I barely had room to breathe much less explain
it was all a joke.

I did the next best thing. I told everyone that my Orangutan was a very clean ape and
fun to travel with. I told them she would use the bathroom just like a person,
flush the toilet most of the time and wash her hands.

I said she would come out and do hand stands and all kinds of tricks. She is very
friendly and will want to hug everybody but be careful of any wet patches of hair
because even though she washes her hands, sometimes she will pee on them in the
process of mimicking a human trying to use toilet paper. Sometimes she forgets
the order of things…. Pee, wipe or wipe, pee or pee while wiping.

The guys were having a good time while anticipating Roxane the Orangutans exit the

My monkey wouldn’t come out. The clerk suggested I check on her because she was taking a
long time. I agreed that I should check on her to make sure she didn’t eat all
the toilet paper. A bad habit.

I was just about to knock on the door when my monkey jerked the door open…. Nearly ripped
it off the hinges and punched me in the chest.

The warehouse crew busted up laughing and Roxane was so red in the face she looked like a
real Orangutan and took the opportunity to hit me again. She had been able to
hear everything.

She is a good sport but my chest still hurts just thinking about that punch. I don’t understand
what the big deal was. It was funny. Roxane never went to the bathroom after
that unless it was a rest area or truck stop. So touchy.

Remember if you have missed any my stories you can go to www.charlesmcdonaldholt.com subscribe to my blog, it’s easy, in the words of Mr. Rogers…..”Go ahead…..try”

Charles Holt


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