Ever hear that old song, Night Moves by Bob Seeger? "I woke up to the sound of thunder.." That line has a grew more and more significant to me as I grew older and gained experience. See, I am from a part of Oklahoma called "Green Country." That means we get ALOT of rain. We will get maybe 10 times as much rain as the farm country out West where they grow all the wheat.
With rain, comes thunder. "Sounds like the potato wagon is rolling over the bridge," my old neighbor used to say to me as we sat in his porch swing and sipped lemon aide. Yeah, I know that sounds corny and like a time from some by-gone era, but it was only the mid 70s! My parents were divorced, I was a latch key kid and my next door neighbor was a great guy. We would sit for hours everyday after school and sip cool drinks and talk about the events of the day for a little kid. It wasn't until I graduated from high school and saw him die a reclusive death, that I realized our times together probably meant as much or more to him than they did to me. I miss him as much as any family member I have ever lost.
So thunder is nearly a daily thing in Eastern Oklahoma. Not a big deal, til your trailer house blows away, right? Well that's what I thought up until I spent a few years farming out West. See I grew up along the edge of a flood plain. As a result there were a lot of snakes slithering around, but there were only a couple that were poisonous, Copperheads and Water Moccasins. But when I went out West to farm there were rattlesnakes!
The water snakes were not a problem since there is no water out there. The other snakes were serious, especially if you were hauling hay. Sweat pouring into your eyes, stumbling over high rough cut stubs in the field while trying to ignore the growing pain in your back. Then you grab a bale of hay to toss on the trailer and hope the biting end of a snake is not sticking out of the compressed bale. We had a hay field that was lousy with rattle snakes, I mean snakes of all sizes and they were aggressive.
Add to the fact my father in law was deathly afraid of snakes. He got to the point he took all of his aggressions out on snakes while driving. See, to him, the only good snake was a dead snake. So driving along the highway, dirt road, city street... whatever, he would see the shimmer of a snake crossing the road, swerve over to run it over then slam on his breaks.
As I peeled my face off the inside of the windshield and dabbed the scalding hot coffee off balls, he would look at me unconcerned and explain, "When you hit your breaks, it shreds them." And that was life around the farm for about 9 years. From Spring to frost you better wear a seat belt and you better have a lid on your drink because everything got run over and shredded. Snakes, litter, even tar filled road repairs.
Snakes because such a topic to think about and watch for along the road they were always in our minds. One day I had to go out into the snake filled hay field to repair a fence and I asked about the snakes. "Don't worry," my Father in Law advised. "Snakes wont wake up until it thunders. It's the thunder that wakes them."
SO I told you all of this to simply say, "I woke last night to the sound of thunder." Which means the snakes are now awake for the summer.
7 months ago