Kathy Bassett's column, "The View from Maybell," appears in the Saturday Morning Press.
OK. So there is this guy named Richard. He worked for the Bureau of Land Management, and in his travels across the United States, he met a gal in Ohio named Cindy with three kids. They all got along well together so he brought her to Colorado, and we gathered up a bunch of friends and went camping in Browns Park.
Well, this was fun. Cindy didn't come out of the tent much because she was afraid of bugs, birds, animals, dark and noises, and the only time we saw her was meal and potty time. She also was afraid of bushes, trees and weeds. Her three kids were having a good time though. I doubt they had ever been out of their apartment back east, so the woods and tent thing was "just like on TV!"
Well, it just so happened one afternoon, Richard decided to take Cindy down to the Browns Park Store. She was more than ready to go shopping, but then we had sort of told her it was the Browns Park Mall and that they had about everything anyone would want. She believed us. So she got all prettied up and was ready to go in short order. Of course the kids weren't interested in going shopping because they were having a great time chasing lizards and hiding behind trees, trying to sound like coyotes.
Richard hadn't driven too far down the road when he spotted a rattlesnake sunning itself. He got the bright idea of catching it and did some fast thinking. Maybe he wasn't thinking. All we know is that he jumped out, grabbed a baseball bat out of the truck, and put the big end of it down on the rattler's head, pinning it to the ground.
Richard yelled at Cindy to hold down as tight as she could on the bat until he could find something to put the snake in. Cindy was holding the crawly thing down as tight as she could; its tail was flopping and rattling, and she was screaming loudly.
Richard found some channel locks in the truck and locked the head in those and suddenly spotted his chain bag in the truck. He threw the chains out and proceeded to get Mr. Rattlesnake poked down into the sack and tied it tightly. He threw the sack into the back of the pickup, and they went merrily on their way. Did I say merrily? Cindy wanted to go back home to Ohio.
As they pulled into Fred and Joy Blevin's establishment, a tourist was just leaving the store and stopped a second to ask Richard whether there were any rattlers in the area. Do you call that timing or what? Richard nodded toward his truck and said, "Yeah, there's one in the back of my truck!" Well of course the tourist scoffed and drove off. It's probably a good thing. The sack was jumping around with a mad snake that wanted to be anywhere but tied up in a sack. From what I understand, the snake wasn't the only thing mad, once Cindy realized there wasn't a mall.
As soon as they pulled back into camp, Cindy headed straight for the tent. Rich told us what had happened, and, of course, the other men in camp couldn't wait to get in on the action. Cindy's kids were all eyes. Everyone formed a big circle around Richard, and some of them had weapons and a few had cameras. How exciting was this? We women were horrified.
They finally coaxed the snake out of the bag and once it hit the ground, it was done for. Had eight rattles and a button. Now what? Oh yeah right! Mr. Snake was cleaned, skinned and fried right on the spot. The kids thought it was the most delicious thing they'd eaten and wanted to go snake hunting. Most of the women wouldn't try it and headed for the tent to hide with Cindy.
After much ridicule, I decided that a small bite wouldn't hurt me. After all, you hear of people eating rattlesnake everywhere. No matter how hard I tried, it would not go down. So it was my turn to go find a bush. And let me be the first to tell you that it does not taste like chicken.
Cindy never came back to visit.