This is a story from Brooksville, which is where I first worked as a vet. If you know me well you may have already hear this story but I thought it was a good one to remember.
My tech, Michele, and I were visiting a farm to treat a horse with Strangles. The owners, a husband and wife, were lovely people. They were what most people to consider country folk. Their home backed up to about 150 acres of swampland. When we were done treating the horse and I was sitting by my truck typing up the bill we started hearing the sound of gators grunting. The husband starting talking about all the different animals in the swamp. Apparently a snake was found in the swamp that had the longest body length to date on record for its particular breed. I was only half listening to him as I was trying to finish the bill.
He said that someone from National Geographic called and wanted to come out and take pictures of the snake. "I told him that he could come take all pictures he wanted as long as there were no pictures of the two-legged kind!" the husband said. "What?" was the response of the photographer and of myself. I was no longer able to follow the story so I paused in the bill writing and gave the husband my full attention. "I told him that was the end of that conversation!" stated the husband with conviction. I looked at him blankly not sure what to say.
"The Keeper of the Swamp lives out there and I don't want no one disturbing him." he offered as an explanation. I am still looking at him blankly. "You probably think we are crazy but it is true. The Keeper of the Swamp lives here." his wife chimes in. "He keeps the children safe. They can all play out back (by the swamp) and nothing ever happens to them. I don't want anyone getting pictures of him and then ruining his life. Everyone around here has seen him and know he watches over us." the husband continues. Then the wife says, "The first time saw him I was taking his mama (pointing to her husband) to the doctor. Our car and broken down and we were walking down a country road. The Keeper of the Swamp walked out across the road ahead of us and stopped and looked at us and then just kept going. All I could think was I hope she (her mother-in-law) doesn't see him because I didn't want her to faint. I could not of carried her. She is a big woman!"
I am disappointed to say that I never witnessed the Keeper of the Swamp but if you are ever walking down a country road in Brooksville near a swamp and come across an unusual looking creature it might just be the Keeper of the Swamp.