Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ode to a Spreadin’ Nader

By Dr. Henry Outlaw
(BHS class of '57)

I wrote this poem in memory of a bootlegger on Twitchell Hill that was bitten on the nose by a Puff Adder - sometimes called a hog nosed snake. Locally we called them Spreadin 'Naders. It may be the only ode written about a snake.

I'll never forget one Sunday night after church we went down to Twitchell Hill for a beer. When J.B. (Adams) came out to wait on us I noticed his nose was all swollen and red. When we asked what happened he said, "I went down to that little cave where I keep the beer and when I reached up in there to get some a g*d d**n Spreadin' Nader bit me on the nose!"

Inspiration for poems come from many different places.


Ode to a Spreadin’ Nader

Living among brown leaves

Copper colored code

Cold blooded skin and scale

Possessing neither fang nor pit nor valor.

But upon being disturbed in its loamy path

The Spreadin’Nader becomes a viper,

A biblical serpent with flattened head in
Cobra stance,

Swaying slightly as if marking time To some ancient reed or harp.
And suddenly, without warning,
Strikes in horrid frenzy, blindly,
Spraying some mythical ether,

Puffing, sibilant, striking
Terror in man and beast.
As if knowing its eternal destiny
Is to be trodden under foot
for some
Sin of its ancestor in the Garden.
Loved only by its maker.


This poem was first read at the Black Diamond Lounge in Telluride, Colorado in the Winter of 1987. Written in memory of J.B. Adams, an infamous bootlegger on Twitchell Hill near Baldwyn, MS.


  1. Wonderful, Henry. I miss those old days. Those tallboys sure tasted great, didn't they? And, 2 for one dollar (if we had a dollar).

  2. Who was R. B. Adams? I recall that name and that he drove a cab? And sold a liquid product?

  3. The Hester's were pretty big in those days on the hill also. We thought we were in high cotton if we had a dollar left after putting some gas in the car.

  4. Delton Robinson was the northernmost Baldwyn supplier, just west of Asbury.