It was many years ago on a day much like this one that Robbie’s granddad, PawPaw, and I went turkey huntin’ on the ol’ “Burdette Place,” a piece of property he had leased to run a few cows in the hills of Mills County, near Goldthwaite.
We had split up and gone to opposite sides of the old rock quarry that was present on the property, sittin’ among the trees that surrounded it. Those who know me well at all know I’m not one who can sit still for any great length of time. (I sometimes use that as my excuse for not sittin’ through an entire Cowboy game.) (That’s NOT the REAL reason.)
Anyway, after waiting for the turkeys for what seemed like a VERY long time, I decided to get up and move around a bit. It was a winter day, but the sun was shining brightly, and the afternoon temperatures were at a very comfortable level. I made my way to the inside of the quarry, totin’ my ol’ 12-gauge Stevens pump that my dad had blessed me with from HIS days of huntin’.
I was climbin’ on the rock ledges along the inside perimeter of the quarry. Suddenly, at eye-level, and about three feet from my face, I was staring at a purdy good-sized rattlesnake, who had coiled up on another ledge, catchin’ some rays.
I raised my gun up over my head, pointed it best I could at the snake, and pulled the trigger. Since I was not able to really aim the gun, I ended up cuttin’ that rattler in half with a load of No. 4. It was my first experience with a live rattlesnake, and I was plenty excited.
I carried the snake back out of the quarry and proceeded with the dressing-out process. I knew rattlesnakes are good to eat, but at that time I’d never had that experience. I figured now was the time.
When PawPaw met me a bit later at the truck, he said, in his typically slow, country drawl, “Weeeell…..I heard you a-shootin’ while ago. Did ja git somethin’?”
I replied, “Yes, sir. I sure did! I got me a rattlesnake!”
“A SNAKE?” he asked for confirmation.
I held up the two pieces of skinned, pinkish meat.
He seemed to have a funny look on his face. He softly said, “Yeah, you sure did.”
I remember thinkin’ that PawPaw was underwhelmed.
I brought my bounty home after the holidays and fried it up in a light batter. Purdy good stuff! I’ve eaten a lot of rattlesnake since that day. And I usually eat by myself. (Perhaps writing this story will inspire me to go thaw and dress-out the many snakes that having been waiting for some time.)
Life’s an adventure. If you don’t believe it, just come by and take a look in my freezer!
Randy McLelland, a.k.a. Randy Mac, is senior pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church on FM 202. He plays the role of "Grandpa" in The Promise and, through his “Livin' It Up” ministries, is a motivational speaker and Christian entertainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (817) 454-3386. His web address is randymac.com.