"Atlanta to Appalachia" is an occasional series about life in the wilds of West Virginia through the eyes of a couple who never dreamed they'd love it there. Read previous installments here.
As I type this, a 15-foot-long python is on the loose in my neighborhood. Its last known location was outside a Dunkin' Donuts.
I know this because I live in a small town and, for about the past week, this is all anyone has been talking about. A runaway snake is a break from hum-drum reports on city council meetings and pesky potholes. Local TV stations have been tracking it with breaking news enthusiasm since word of its escape arrived late Thursday night. That's when it slithered out of the back of a moving pickup truck and into the nearby woods. Considering that West Virginia has the third-highest forest coverage of any U.S. state, those involved in the search-and-rescue mission have their work cut out for them.
As for the rest of us, it's a welcome respite from the national news cycle. While most of America is chattering on about President Trump, the NBA playoffs or "Jeopardy!" contestants, here in Appalachia we have our eyes glued to the Great Escape of 2019 (or is that E-snake?). A local bar is offering a drink called the "Snakebite." Not surprisingly, someone created a "Morgantown Snake" parody account on Twitter.
Laying on your car horn ain’t gonna make me slither across this street any faster.— Morgantown Snake (@MorgantownSnake) June 1, 2019
Someone is finally asking the right questions. https://t.co/z1FiIcjKQ6— Morgantown Snake (@MorgantownSnake) June 3, 2019
You and me both. https://t.co/68QYrnPhbN— Morgantown Snake (@MorgantownSnake) June 2, 2019
Local resident Mickey Barry photoshopped a picture of the snake next to the famous statue of actor Don Knotts, who was born here in Morgantown. "Maybe the next school will be named the Morgantown Pythons," Barry joked to me. Hometown hero supremacy is now up for grabs.