Laugh Tracks in the Dust 11-23-09 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 11-23-09

Wild critter stories keep finding their way from faithful readers into my columns. A recent black snake story from Missouri prompted another reader from Boulder, Colo., to send me this bull snake story.

Milo, when I was a youngster, my parents had a few laying hens. The small chicken house was blown over and my Dad put it back together – sort of. The walls were leaning badly and the nest boxes were pulled away from the wall.

One afternoon my mother and I were in the garden when the chickens began squawking. Chickens normally do this when they see a hawk or an owl or a snake. My Mother told me to go investigate the commotion.

When I opened the door, I saw a big snake half hanging out of the nest box. I yelled for my mother to come see. She came, and looked, and tried to hit the snake with her garden hoe. But she couldn’t hit the snake and do any damage. So, she told me to go get Dad and the shotgun.

When Dad arrived a minute later, one shot of 12-gauge #5 shot blew that snake’s head off. But then we saw just what had happened with that egg-hungry snake.

The snake had somehow got into the first nest box and swallowed two eggs. He then crawled between the edge of the nest box and the wall into the next nest, scared a setting hen, and then swallowed two more eggs.

So, Dad smashed the first two eggs the bull snake had swallowed and yanked the snake out of the nest area. Then he cut the snake open, extracted the two still-intact eggs the setting hen had been brooding, and put them back under the hen. The hen kept moving those two eggs out from under her.

Eventually, the hen hatched five chicks, but she never sat on the two that had been in the snake.

The snake was six or seven feet long and five inches around.

Now that’s a BIG snake!


Another friend, ol’ C. Ritter Ketcher, tells me about the time his grandma called him on the phone and said a skunk was eating all her pet food and she wanted Ritter to rid her premises of the skunk – permanently.

So, Ritter baited a live trap with dog food and, sure enuf, the next morning he’d caught the skunk.

He’d heard that a skunk won’t spray when they’re in a live trap. So, he carefully put a stick into the handle of the live trap and cautiously carried the trap to the bed of his pickup. Success! No spraying.

Ritter then drove to an isolated stretch of gravel road where he planned to release the skunk from the trap.

Everything worked as he’d planned – almost. He got the trap/skunk out of the pickup bed and onto the ground. Still no spraying. Then he carefully opened up the end of the trap, making sure the skunk wuz facing him all the time. Then he stepped back to let the skunk make a dash for freedom.

But, the skunk would have none of it. It stayed in the trap. So, Ritter cautiously got the skunk to turn around and let him open the other end of the live trap. Then he stepped back.

After a few moments, the skunk did leave the trap – only he didn’t dash into the ditch as Ritter had planned. Rather, he dashed for safety right back under Ritter’s pickup truck and stayed there.

Now, Ritter wuz afraid to get into his truck and move it for fear of exciting the skunk into spraying. He wuz reluctant to get on his hands and knees to shoot the skunk under his truck next to an inflated tire.

So, Ritter says he stood there in the middle of the road, holding his rifle and looking like a fool, until the skunk finally exited from under the truck in his own sweet time. That’s when Ritter finally got the extermination job completed.


Ol’ Canby Handy from Missouri, e-mailed me this poem he encountered somewhere and thought it would be appropriate for my column. It is. However, I have no clue as to the identity of the original writer. But, I’ll bet he/she worked a parts counter.

The Life Behind a Parts Counter

I work behind the counter,

In a lawn and garden store.

Sometimes, I’m called a genius.

Sometimes, I’m called much more.

I claim I’m not a genius,

But when the job goes sick,

My customers see fit to ask,

“What makes my unit tick?”

I’m an engineer and machinist,

And rarely, if ever, get bored.

I’m supposed to be an Einstein

Combined with Henry Ford.

Folks think I know the numbers

Of sprockets, belts and gears,

For every mower and chainsaw made

For more than 40 years.

But life would be a pleasure,

And I’d grin from ear to ear,

If the customer would only know,



I’ll close for the week with these patriotic words from World War II General George C. Marshall: “If Man does find the solution for world peace, it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known.”

Have a good ‘un.

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