Sometimes in the warm twilight of a Ozark summer my grandmother would talk about hoo-doo in hushed tones. Hoo-Doo. Same as Voo-Doo: ancient powerful magic, black and white, evil and good. She believed in it as much as she believed in sweet Jesus the Savior of man.
Her aging voice would tumble over the tales of hoo-doo women and hoo-doo spells long past, making them real. She would rock her cane-bottomed chair across the weary boards of the porch, her voice low-pitched and soft while hoot owls cried from the tops of the tall trees.
An almost eerie mood would settle over the porch. No one ever interrupted Grandmam when she talked of hoo-doo. No one dared. Shivers of intrigue backed by a repulsion that fed upon the dark tales would run the length of my spine. I believed, too, in those childhood days. Sometimes snakes would come twisting across the ground to curl against the porch. Because snakes and hoo-doo go together we never touched them. If it was a snake in the garden at high noon it met instant death with a sharp hoe but snakes at night were differen