So I was in my back yard contaminating the environment with Round-Up this weekend when I bent over to pick up a stick that had evidently fallen out of a tree. As I reached down, my eyes were looking around the yard for more weeds to kill, even as my brain was registering that the "stick" had a regular pattern of tan/brown markings and it's shape was far too sinusoidal to be a stick. My fingers were literally inches from grabbing the fattest part of the "stick" when it hit me that it was a snake. My only thought was to check for rattles and wait for the inevitable bite on my bare leg that I knew was coming. Then I quite involuntarily high-stepped across the yard to safety.
From a distance I decided it was not a rattle-snake, cotton-mouth, or one of the other 2-3 pit vipers here in Alabama so I relaxed a bit. The stupid snake just laid there flicking his tongue, so being a guy, I had to mess with it a little. I spent a few minutes poking it with an actual stick but when it coiled up and looked at me, I figured the fun was over. The native Alabama snake whose markings most closely resemble my friend's markings is the Northern Pine Snake, like the one in the picture.
It slithered away into my neighbor's yard and under her deck. I'm thinking I probably should have told her.