Snakes on a Road
OK, there was only one snake, but it was really big.
My dad and grandfather co-owned a ranch, the Diamond MC (that’s registered by the way). It was very close to a small little town in East Texas called Spurger. It was closer to a wide spot in the road called Fred, Texas. It was a neat place, my granddad ran some horses, dad just wanted open space to shoot his guns. Mostly at snakes.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love animals. I have many, many animals and take care of them. I am against most forms of hunting (especially of large predators like cougars and wolves). I firmly believe that humans have a responsibility to animals as they can’t protect themselves from us. Also, many snakes are beneficial to farmers and ranchers by eating rodents that would otherwise eat crops or whatever. However… with all that being said, there is a big empty, black hole in my heart when it comes to the heavy hitters of the snake world. There are four genus of poisonous snake in the US, they all live in Texas.
The year before, my mom stepped on a snake. A copperhead. She did keep her leg, though it was a near thing for a while. We didn’t much like copperheads at our ranch.
On this particular day, myself, my mom and my two cousins were strolling along the main road… OK a dirt road behind our ranch. Gran was handling his horses and dad and my cousin’s father, Sandy, were out protecting us from vicious pine-cones by blowing them into little-bitty pieces with large bore handguns.
My mom suddenly froze on the road grabbing two of us. We all stopped and stared at a truly giant copperhead. He was laying across the road, stretching from one side to the other. Now, in some of my tales, I’m known to… ummm… exaggerate… for comic effect. This was no exaggeration, this was a big freaking snake.
Now, my mother, who is, in most things, quite the logical individual, did something crazy. Once bitten and all that I guess. She says to us, “Don’t let it get away. I’m going to get a gun.” And she proceeds to run back to the house… about a mile away. So the three of us, Jen being the oldest about about 11, stare at this snake that’s longer than any of us. The snake is not concerned.
About half an hour later my mom returns with a huge gun in her hand. With the men-folk off in the wilds, the only gun she can find is one of Sandy’s “Special” guns. A big-bore pistol (I assume a .45, but I don’t remember) with many special add-ons and some custom, hand laoded, anti-tank rounds… roughly equivalent to 18 inch naval guns. [See the exaggeration for comic effect?)]The snake is not concerned.
Mom lays down in the road with the barrel of the gun about 6 inches from the snake. The snake is not concerned.
She squeezed the trigger and several things happened simultaneously:
- She was pushed backward about 2 feet.
- A tongue of flame from the gun barrel hit the snake.
- A large chunk of the middle of the snake disappeared.
- A dust cloud seen on primitive weather satellites was created.
The snake was now concerned… or at least the front half was. And then mom did something truly amazing… she pulled the trigger again… and again… and again. Each time cutting the snake into smaller and smaller pieces. The pieces that were left were beginning to char slightly from the heat. She had created a furrow several feet long in the road. You know how injured snakes twist spasmodically? There wasn’t enough left of this snake to twist.
After the sounds from the final round died off (I believe that they are still echoing in the trees up there though), we looked in awe at a scene of destruction only matched by the first Predator movie. You remember, where they hose the forest with a ten thousand rounds from a Gatling gun. They could have just used Sandy’s pistol.
Finally, Pat (my dad) and Sandy burst out of the tree line, festooned with artillery. [I’ve always wanted to use the word festooned.] Seeing the pieces of snake remaining, they decided to continue the fight. After several minutes, a thin smear of lead has coated the road, several feet in each direction from where the snake lay.
Since then, no copperheads have appeared at that ranch. Other snakes, not having learned their lesson have appeared, but they didn’t stay long.