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Another snake story

I’m kinda’ thinkin’ gentle readers we are all a little weary from the coronavirus so I thought I would go back in time and repeat a snake story that was written 15, maybe 20 years ago. Just for a second, let me mention that I never ever thought I would know anyone who perished from this deadly virus. I was wrong. Just last week a friend of mine lost his dad to the coronavirus and he was not an “old” man.

One late summer afternoon ol’ Lester, myself and one other cowboy (don’t remember his name) were riding in from a long hot afternoon of checking cattle on the LX Ranch North of Amarillo along the Canadian River. A big ranch, it was at over 60 sections.

I’ve written about Lester on several occasions before. He had been on the ranch for over 50 years and was well up into his 80s. He was just a whisper of a man maybe 5 feet 4 inches and very thin but a “cowboy’s cowboy.” Lester wasn’t all that fond of me because I did not have the skills he would have me have. I was in the first reader stage learning my way into the cowboy culture. Lester wore a huge hearing aid in each ear as he was deaf as a stone, most of the time!

As we passed this large Mesquite tree with Lester leading the way, his horse spooked and jumped sideways almost putting the old man on the ground. Lester wheeled his pony around and with a great deal of concern he blurted, “WHAT IS IT? WHAT’S GOIN’ ON?” “RATTLESNAKE LESTER, IT’S A RATTLER THAT SPOOKED YER HOSS!”

“Pull quote.”

I tried to make Lester understand what was goin’ on. Sure nuff, this big ol’ Diamondback rattler was on the fight ready to strike. We must have woke him up from his afternoon siesta. Lester rode off a little ways, got off his little paint hoss and took down his rope. He then began to whip that ol’ snake into a real big time MAD! There was one moment when I thought for sure Lester was gonna’ drag that snake right on top of him in his effort to dispatch him. Finally the old cowboy had the snake to the point he could stomp his head.

“YA KNOW, Lester says, IF YA KILL A SNAKE AND THROW’EM UP IN THE AIR AND HE LANDS ON HIS BACK IT WILL RAIN WITHIN THREE DAYS!” Okay, just another old wife’s tale these old timers seem to want to hold on to. However we had been in a severe drought for weeks and I thought “what could it hurt.” “THROW’EM UP LESTER, THROW’EM UP!” I bellered. Lester grabbed that snake by the tail (after he cut his rattlers off) and swung him around and around and let him fly. That snake sailed through the air and landed on his back on the remainder of an old “bob” wire fence that was close by. “IT’LL BE RAININ’ IN THREE DAYS BOYS, IT’LL BE RAININ’ IN THREE DAYS!” Lester promised. “You betcha’ Little Beaver, you betcha,” I thought to myself. Children on the third day when we saddled up it was cloudy, cool and a little drizzle was comin’ down. That was all the rain we got but it was enough to make me not so skeptical of these “old” timers and their “old wife’s tales!”

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember when you ride, “ride HIGH WIDE AND HANDSOME” and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖


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