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Ceiling Snakes and Slithering Saints

by Barbara A. Barnett The thing about ceiling snakes is this: there ain’t just one kind. Rattlers, copperheads, cottonmouths—you name it, they’re up there, slithering round where your church trusses ought to be. Nobody can tell you how they get up there or where them trusses disappear to, and it sure don’t seem like a bunch of twisty old snakes should be able to hold a roof up, but as my grandpappy used to say, things is what they is and ain’t nothing else. The morning our snakes showed up, we was all in the church listening to young Reverend Ambrose preach—well, folk called him young, mousy as well when he wasn’t like to hear, but he was a good fifteen years older than my fourteen. But wasn’t anyone who could keep more than half an eye on him when they noticed the slithering going on overhead. You’d think a truss was moving, then you’d realize that truss was a snake. They just sort of slipped into view like that. Reverend Ambrose trailed off in the middle of a passage from Matthew

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