I was raised in Randall County, Texas on the far southwest edge of Amarillo. I could walk two blocks and be out of town (regular readers already know this). I lived on Hall Street which, at that time, was only two or three blocks long. It was in the middle of a very small housing area known as Chateau Village. I lived there until about the time that I figured out that girls didn’t have cooties and then Dad moved all of us over to Yale Street near the James Butler Bonham Junior High School.
Well, now, there were four vacant fields of various sizes that were near my parent’s house on Hall Street. The nearest one was right across the street behind Russell Thompson’s house. His Daddy was an engineer for the Santa Fe Railroad and they’d lived in Texas all their lives. Well, anyway, that particular field was the smallest being about as big as two or three house lots. I did not play in this field a lot because it was so small. But there is an interesting story from that field that I want to tell you.
You all ever seen corrugated tin roof material? You usually see it over barns sometimes or maybe a chicken coop. Well, if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about. There was several of us out in this small field one summer day and we came across a sheet of this tin roofing lying on the ground. Well, we figured we would have some use for it somehow somewhere so we picked it up to haul off. We did that only to find two or three snakes up underneath it. They were probably just a couple of old garter snakes but that didn’t matter. They were snakes and to a bunch of little boys, they might as well have been Godzilla’s family. Truth be told, they could not have been more than a foot or two long.
We dropped that tin and took off running for help. Nearest house to go to was the Thompson’s. We ran in to see Mrs. Thompson (we called her Miss Jean), out of breath to tell her about the snakes. Now, we had only run maybe a hundred yards or so but, in that distance, those snakes grew from one or two feet to seven or eight feet. “MISS JEAN!! MISS JEAN!! There’s a bunch of snakes out back in the field!! One done ate da dawg and now he’s after us!!” Miss Jean never looked up, “I never did like that dawg anyway,” she said. We were stumped to know what to do so off we ran to my house and my Mom. Now… about my Mom. She was about 5’2” in her heels and a just little bitty ole thing. She had been born and raised in Massachusetts in a “proper” New England family. The woman had gone to finishing school. So, when we three very excited little boys came dashing in the house in mortal fear of the snakes (and by now they were every bit of 15 feet and had eaten two dogs and a cat), my little Mom just slumped into the chair in the kitchen. She was at a loss what to do so she called Miss Jean. She listened for a minute and calmly put the phone down. “I did not care for that dog myself,” she intoned and returned to her work.
Women just don’t understand. If only Dad had been there, those snakes wouldn’t have got those dawgs. Don’t care about the cat.