Yesterday was a good day, in a very surprising way. I went to a funeral, and dealt with a rattlesnake. That doesn't sound very fun, does it? But it was very fulfilling.
The funeral was for one of the cornerstones of my mom's church community, Edna Mattie. The Matties were retired from the Air Force, had had a second career teaching school, and had come to Tollhouse in 1978. They were older, had 6 grown children, and were at that point "fully retired". She and her husband were fantastic role models when my family moved to Tollhouse in 1981, and she really was a great mentor for my mom, who initially struggled with the rural life here. Although there was sadness at the funeral, just thinking about and hearing about this woman's life was so inspirational--one of those things that really makes you think about how to be a better person. The six kids and their families shared their memories, and were so obviously full of love, it ended up being very positive.
Later in the afternoon, I went to my sister Gail's house. The kids were just about to head outside, when Gail stopped them. She heard a noise that she thought might be a rattlesnake. We got the kids and dogs back in the house, and went to check it out. Sure enough, under a bush was a coiled up rattling snake! Gail was intent on killing it, but the only thing we had were a rusty shotgun (not a good choice), a hoe, and a shovel. Gail took the shovel and made a couple practice hacks at some sticks. Yes, she could hack some sticks in two, but she had to stand about two feet away...not good! At this point, I felt we should NOT go after the snake, but Gail was not to be deterred...there was a snake on her turf where her kids play. She happened to find a long, heavy metal post under the bushes, picked it up, and started to beat the snake. Argh! She pinned it down, then was trying to whack it with the hoe with the other hand. OK...finally time for me to get involved. I took the hoe and nailed the snake with it as hard and quickly as I could. Multiple times. I believe there were some primal grunts involved...the two of us sounded like the cast of "Clan of the Cave Bear", if you ever saw that not-so-wonderful movie. We hacked the head off, put it in a jar since it can still bite after death, and let the kids examine the body as it continued to move, which was fascinating for them. So, all in all, a successful, if somewhat risky, elimination of a rattler. Even my sister, who has been up here for many years, has never killed a rattler with a hoe before.
And during this time, Mark was framing the floor. Pictures to come on the next post.