(This is part of the Growing Up In Utah's Dixie series, by LaVarr B. Webb)
Part of the attraction in Never Never Land (Utah's Dixie) was the
adventure, climbing the mesas, rolling down the sand dunes,
swimming in the Virgin River, pulling rock suckers from under
the boulders of North Creek, and fighting rattlesnakes.
I found the rattlesnakes on ditch banks, in grain sacks, and
in the rock foundation of the school house. Some of the
rocks of the foundation protruded out from the walls, and
in the cooler days of fall and early spring, the snakes would
crawl out of the cracks between the rocks, and sun them-
selves on the warm shelves.
We boys would go to school a few minutes early, catch
the snakes on the rocks while they were still lethargic, almost
immobilized by the coolness of the night, and beat
them to death before they could escape back into the cracks
and crevices of the wall.
I was a bloodthirsty soul in those days, but actually
knew no better. Quivery thrills ran up and down my back as
I peered around the corner of the building to see if there
were any snakes on the rocks. The fearful anticipation and
the actual kill was almost intoxicating.
Later in the spring, as the days grew longer, and the
temperature inched up, the snakes became livelier, and
some were able to slip into the crevices before we could
kill them. We would hear the angry buzzing of their rattles
as they retreated and coiled up behind the face rocks of
I often wondered, again, with chills racing up and down
my back, what would happen if I forced my hand into one
of the crevices. Would a snake bite me? If there were
more than one snake in the void, would all of them strike?
How many bites would it take to kill me? Obviously, I never