I don’t know why Jimmy always talked to me like I was stupid. Momma used to say that it was because he “wasn’t raised right,” but Momma said that about all the Americans. She only let Jim teach me to read because it pleased Poppa. Back then, it was one of the few things that still made him smile. I read better, ran faster and worked harder than Jimmy anyways. I don’t think that made him very happy.
One day, after I felt particularly bad for my little friend, I decided to let him have a victory. We were running to Peter’s house to borrow some sort of tool for Ambrosch. I can’t remember what it was called, some odd American term. After Peter gave us the tool and his famous Christmas melons to bring home, I wanted to stop and see the prairie dogs. I was always puzzled by these animals, burrowing deep into the ground. I couldn’t picture if the holes were straight, crooked, or zig-zagged through the tough soil. I was digging faster than Jim, as usual, but I didn’t seem to notice the the thick, striped snake slowly slithering towards my ankles. In Bohemia, there were snakes much larger than this, but I never saw one so large in Black Hawk. I didn’t realize the screech that came out of my own mouth, but instead of easily killing the snake, I let Jimmy be my hero. He stabbed the snake on top of the head, reaching from the front. I obviously knew this was a poor tactic, but I didn’t want to cut him off, not this time. I tried to contain my amusement as Jimmy turned pale and frightened; and I thoroughly convinced him I was frightened. I bragged about Jimmy to everyone we saw that day, although my family winked at me after I told the tale.