(from Town Smokes)
The narrator’s dad says there’s not much reason to kill a blacksnake, they’re actually good for the property, killing rats and such. But after Mrs. Hanson, rich and dramatically kind, shows up, he shoots the snake promising to make a belt for his son just like his own dad did for him. It’s a complicated action, illogical but not without reason. The feeling is that this small family has lived a hard life, one that pie safe collectors couldn’t begin to imagine. The painted over the thing, stored ammo in it. She was to own it without a use for it beyond that, and to restore it so the Albright’s ownership of the box would be wiped away. It’s a beauty vs. beast scenario, in a way, though our young narrator may not understand it beyond that.