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

my feet.

 

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.