Snakes in a jar

              I was raised in the Texas Panhandle on the outskirts of Amarillo. We lived on the edge of town and were next to a lot of really large empty fields. I and my 10 or so buddies spent our childhood in these fields. Girls, by the way, were not allowed to be there. It was against state law I think. I only remember seeing one girl on those fields and that is a story I am not going to tell. Ever

            Anyway, Amarillo sits on a caprock and the ground is very flat with few trees. Rainwater drains off pretty quick.  When it did rain, the water in the gutters flowed real fast. When that happened, the roads alongside the fields would be full of really fast moving water.

            Well, now, we would get a number ten plastic jug that restaurants would buy mustard in.  We would get one of those jugs and stick it down in the water. It would fill up and we could usually catch a bunch of snakes and maybe a mud puppy or two. Sometimes we would catch a couple of horned toads. (side note: NEVER, EVER let a horn toad lose in anybody’s kitchen – not a good thing). We caught mostly snakes though, and they weren’t but one or two feet long. They were just old water snakes. We would fill that jug up and put the lid on it then we’d walk around with this jug full of snakes and who knows what else and scare girls with them. We’d dump them out after somebody’s parents got after us. We’d go fill it up again and repeat the process. That was my first strategic partnership.

            This one time, I had the jug and put it down in the water while about seven other ten year olds gathered around to watch. I was holding the jug down in the water when I felt something hit the bottom of the jug real hard. I figured it was a rock or something and paid no attention to it. The jug filled up and I put the lid on it to pick it up  It was a might heavier than normal but, you know a rock would be.

            Now, you could just barely see the snakes through the plastic  jug. I figured we had about twenty or so in there. There was something else though. There was some old nasty brown thing in there. All I could see was a little patch of brown but it was big. I thought it might be a big lizard or something. Well, me and the fellows decided to dump that jug out right there and see just what this thing was. We all gathered around and I took the lid off and dumped the jug’s contents out onto the ground. Now, get this picture. Seven or so ten year old boys gathered in a tight circle about to dump a jug full of snakes and who knows what else out on the ground. A whole bunch of little water snakes came out of that jug and took off to get away. That trashy old brown thing come out of there and hit the ground with a thump! THUMP! It curled itself up and stuck his head up ready to fight. It was a water moccasin and he was looking to bite the first thing he could get to and that was me. Liked to scare me slap to death.

            Now, I am here to tell you the gospel truth that I set a land speed record for running home. I think I ran a couple of my buddies over in the process.


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