Larry Webster: Snakes, chickens and pigs, oh my!

Contributing ColumnistMarch 2, 2014 

Bro. Coots had an old rattler named Dog. Western Kentucky hogs got hooked on chitlins. Sen. Mitch McConnell accidently took up for chickens.

That's the most animals in one paragraph since an old-time mountain band named Fisher Henley and the Aristocratic Pigs played theaters in Kentucky in the '20s.

Uncle Dave Macon said he carried a quart of moonshine with him everywhere he went, in case of snakebite. He said he also carried a snake. The lesson to churches who want to take up serpents is to use moonshine instead of strychnine. The latter causes lockjaw, something you just don't need in a Pentecostal church.

The other lesson these folks might want to consider is that perhaps snakes just don't like electrified music. You need limits in churches, and an electric bass to me and most snakes is one step away from the devil.

I cannot personally fault somebody for having a snake in his hand. I came back from India with a picture of a cobra on my head. Somebody asked me if it had been defanged and I said I didn't really ask, but just sort of assumed it had or they wouldn't have put it on my head.

In the flatlands they are feeding hogs their own intestines and who wants to eat a cannibal?

Chitlin cookin' time used to be the highlight of the year for the very poor, who are now too uppity to eat them. They will come back as soul food if the Republicans take over. To those unfortunate enough not to have been raised on the superior food of the very poor, a chitlin is the gut of a hog, which is fried in lard — the fat of a hog.

The reason we have to feed hogs other hogs is that corn now is being used to fuel cars so the poor of Central and Latin America cannot afford tacos, cornbread costs more than baguettes, and we pork lovers face the real danger that hogs who eat the intestines of other hogs will get hooked on bacon. It doesn't take long. Bacon has caused many of orthodox faiths to throw down Leviticus and ask for a ripe tomato and some mayonnaise.

Even worse than all this, the do-gooders put into the federal farm bill a provision that makes it a federal crime to attend a cockfight. We really needed another federal law up in the mountains, where everything that is not prohibited already by federal law is mandatory.

By voting for that bill, our cocky senator accidently destroyed what remains of the economy of the mountains, where barrels and tepees dot the landscape and where on Saturday night huge crowds go to see two chickens fight.

Some say this is cruel, but half the chickens in the fights survive to live in luxury. We would say that beats the massive chicken-killing houses where hundreds of imprisoned fowl are hung with their heads down, to be relieved of their heads with no chance to fight back, to be turned into nuggets.

The embattled senator from Kentucky should be familiar with such combat. He, who would be a Dominicker, puts on his spurs and pecks and swipes at the neck of the banty from Nevada. Of course, at the moment, he is chasing a hen.

Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney, at

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