Now, it is necessary to jump ahead a few years. I had
fulfilled one of my oldest dreams. I had purchased the Old
Mill Ranch and we were living there. My wife was doing the
laundry using her new May tag washer, powered by an elec-
tric generator. She loaded up a clothes basket, picked it
up, and started to walk to the clothes line out in the yard.
About ten to fifteen feet away from the house, she heard
a rattlesnake buzz. The snake was near her feet, but she
couldn't see it because the clothes basket cut off most of
her view of the ground around her.
She dropped the basket and jumped back, then she
could see the snake. It was coiled up just a foot or so from
her clothes. One more step, and she would have been in
trouble, but the snake had warned her.
Sam, who was about three years old, was playing in
the yard. His mother, as calmly as possible, asked, "Sam,
run to the barn, and tell your Dad there is a snake under
the clothes line."
Sam ran, got almost to the barn, turned around, came
back, and asked, "What kind." He wasn't going to bother
his dad for just any old snake.
On the ranch, that same summer, I returned home
from town, and my wife said, "Wilma Dawn saw a large
rattlesnake up on the garden path. George (her brother,
visiting with us) has taken his pistol up to shoot it." I
didn't think George could hit a rattlesnake with his pistol,
so I grabbed a shovel and went up to the path. There I
found George and all of the kids standing near a large rock.
I asked George if he had killed the snake.
He answered, "No, I missed."
As I approached the rock, I could hear the snake buzzing
from, I thought, under the rock. However, after listening
for a moment, I decided the snake was not under the
rock, but in a cavern in front of the rock, and right under
I put my big foot on the shovel, and drove the blade
into the ground. The roof of the small cavern was only an
inch or so thick, and it immediately caved in.
The rattlesnake, a large one, four to five feet long
and three to four inches thick, came boiling up out of the
hole, as angry as could be, and it came after me.
I stepped back, and almost fainted. I thought I had
been bitten by that rattlesnakes big brother. I had backed
into a large chola cactus, and the spines entering my back-
side burned just how I imagined a snake bite would feel.