Hello, Remember the scene in the great “Indiana Jones” movie, when Harrison Ford says, “Snakes, why’d it have to be snakes. I hate snakes.”
By Dean Meyer
Shirley is a lot that way. I’ve mentioned it to you before. About the time she wanted me to fix the screen door, and I put it off. Until one morning there was a horse in the living room and a rattle snake in the office. I tell you what, there was no procrastinating after that. I fixed that door!
This time of the year is great for snakes. Or bad for snakes. I guess you could define it as either. But, haying season is when you run across an occasional rattler.
John is a neighbor of ours. He’s a retired millionaire who helps his relatives out in the summer. He’s a good hand with anything mechanical. He even greases the equipment and keeps the oil changed. Now, personally, I figure if a guy has time to grease and change oil, he doesn’t have enough hay to put up. But, that’s another story.
Anyway, Dave had piled some manure in a washout in the field. To slow down the erosion. It slowed down the erosion. It also slowed down the mower-conditioner that John was running. It plugged it up solid.
Now, for you city folks that have never unplugged a haybine, you may not grasp this. But these machines were designed by the same people that designed those little pliars you pull nose hairs out with. I also think they invented root canals, hang nails, and morning talk shows. But, again, that is a different story.
Anyway, John is laying under this machine, in the sharp stubble, pulling handfuls of used hay out of the conditioner. And as he is doing this, he is learning to used the Lord’s name in vain. And, personally, I don’t think the Lord would blame him.
After one huge handful of manure, and one huge mouthful of profanity at Dave, for piling this manure in the hay field, John reaches back for another handful. He meets a rattlesnake coming out of the spot he had just emptied. This causes a chain reaction. He jerks his hand back, cutting the back of his hand on a sharp tooth on the reel. This punctue wound causes John to jerk his head up. This creates a pretty good impact with the back of his head on another sharp tooth. He quickly grabs for his head and cuts a finger on the sickle.
The snake is utterly confused by this time. He has not even had time to strike and he has this person in pure agony. He saves his venom for another day and crawls away from John with a smile on his face. The snake was smiling, not John.
And come to think of it, maybe the Lord didn’t like the cussing!
Now, that brings me to what I wanted to talk about in the first place. Snakes. I was just going through our e-mail and a friend sent me these pictures of this oil field worker in the Amazon. The guy had gone to take a nap, and when they found him, he had been swallowed by this snake. I guess it was a boa, or a python, or something. It was a big damn snake anyway. And they had it tied in the pickup with this guy in its belly. Now they cut the snake open to make sure it was the missing worker and it was.
I tell you what. I don’t care if their growing season is thirteen months long. I don’t care if you can cut your alfalfa every other day. I don’t care if it never snows and you don’t have to even cut hay. I’m sticking to the Dakotas with our puny little prairie rattlers!
Dean Meyer is a rancher in western North Dakota and his column has been featured in papers all over the state.