I was a stupid teen. Not ignorant, uninformed or uneducated, just stupid.
It was in those days of youth: hot, dry, dusty days of summer in west Texas. Days when I was a stupid teen. Not ignorant, uninformed or uneducated, just stupid. Read on.
Along with a couple of buddies, Victor and Billy, I would on some evenings ‘camp out.’ We would bicycle out of town a mile or so, leave the bikes, slide under the barbed wire fence and make our way down to a favorite dry creek bed, maybe a quarter mile or so. Supplied with a couple of mom’s least valued blankets, canteen, matches and a can of Pork-and-Beans we would gather enough dry wood for an evening fire and set up camp. By nighttime, under a sparkling clear night sky, we spent our time learning the locations of constellations and, of course, the north star. And telling a few lies. A night’s sleep away from a house that still held the day’s heat was refreshing and enough of an adventure for three stupid (read on) teens.
While we chatted, waiting for sleep to overtake us,Victor, the studious one of the trio, told us about an article he had read about rattlesnakes. He told us how a properly whittled forked stick, positioned behind the head would immobilize them. What a great idea. We resolved to try it (I warned you, stupid).
Next morning, after a breakfast of three apples Billy supplied, and using his good K-bar (the one with the community can opener), we found just the right stick and fashioned it. This took quite a bit of discussion to agree on the width of the fork, the length of the tines, and length of the stick. There were a lot of “here, lemme do its” among us three.
We set out to hunt a rattlesnake.
We had scared up a rattler on previous trips, sunning on some of the flat rocks of the creek that hadn’t seen water in millennia. Usually the snake, as soon as it was aware of us, would quickly slip away into the underbrush to get on with its own business of eating mice and spiders and making snakelets. Usually we were just as happy to let it do so. But not today. We were out to prove something, though I’m not sure exactly what.
We sorta surrounded the snake, hootin’, hollerin’, and flappin’ like young teens are so good at. The adrenaline rose as we heard the rattling from the snake begin to rise in intensity. I had the stick and, sure enough, I came down on that snake in exactly the right spot behind the head. It worked! Immobilized snake! The snake made almost as much noise with the rattles as we made shouting, and over and over it coiled around the stick as it tried in vain to free itself.
Thinking back from an adult perspective, I’m not sure it was as big as we thought then. Let’s agree it was somewhere between 6 and 3 feet long.
Billy was as skitzy as Victor was studious. He (Billy) kept jumping and screeching like something gone mad. “Let me hold the stick” I remember hearing just before it was knocked out of my hand!
That’s when we all became mad, screeching, fleeing teen boys, instantly choosing rightly between fight or flight, running flat out in whatever direction we were pointed at the moment.
I stole a glance back and saw the snake was chasing me! Snakes don’t exactly see, rather they perceive heat. Here I was, the biggest heat signature anywhere around and getting more so. I thought flat out was top speed for a young teenage boy to run, but discovered there is at least one speed faster than flat out. I guess I can call it, “flat-out-plus-with-a-snake-chasing-you” speed. It’s just barely faster than an angry rattler.
By the time I collapsed breathless in the dust, the snake was not to be seen. Survival of the fastest. Regrouping by the bikes, Vic and I made Skitzy Billy go back for the gear. I have to hand it to Bill, he actually went.
That was the last time we spent the night out under the stars in our favorite dry creek bed. By the next summer it was part-time jobs and evenings feeding quarters into the jukebox at Dairy Queen to play five Johnny Cash songs, that being the pre-Elvis days. Soon girls took up our thinking and our ‘telling lies time,’ though I do remember a discussion or two of whether snakes could remember faces.
Fast forward to today. Well, about 6 or 7 years ago, when I first saw the logo for San Antonio Tea Party. I thought it was a perfect symbol. The Alamo is de rigueur for any organization in our San Antonio area and the rattlesnake, in my mind, perfectly symbolized the modern Conservative thinker. One that would rather be left alone, preferring to slip away and tend to its own business, rather than fight. Like the rattler, most Conservative folks will give fair warning to leaders that are getting too close. There is a line that you’d better not cross. Past that, ignore the clear warning and you will probably regret the consequences that come. Elections.
Despite the demonization of our movement by the likes of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and their minions with their talking heads and talking points, the movement survives and grows. They must all agree they had fair warning over the last few elections. Despite the dirty tricks and partisan attacks of the IRS (constitutionally nonpartisan… yeah, right) and Holder/Lynch Attorneys General, the groundswell of sentiment we represent has, and will, change the face of American politics forever.
San Antonio Tea Party is a strong and vital force in that change. I am proud to be a part of making history.
This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Please honor attribution.