A week or so ago I was going to visit a friend out by the lake and I saw a rattle snake crossing the highway. I stopped and watched it trying to get a picture of it but I couldn’t do it.
It took me back to the middle seventies when one day I came home for lunch. My wife Barbara told me we have a two-day gig or dance what ever you want to call it.
She said it was the following Friday and Saturday in Sweetwater Texas for the annual rattlesnake round up. They will furnish lodging and food for the two-day event.
We left Del Rio Friday morning and when we arrived, we went to the civic center where it was being held.
They showed me a room off to the main floor and said here are some cots and the restroom is through that blue door.
We spent the rest of the day setting up the instruments and checking everything. The first night we were to play from nine to one.
At six pm they served the food, there was beans, potatoes, fruit salad, jalapeno peppers bread, ice tea and the meat was yes you guessed it rattle snake. I had never tasted rattle snake but to tell you the truth it tasted like chicken; I must admit it was very good. That Friday night we played until 1 a.m. and the crowd did not want to go home but someone there told them they had to follow the law.
Now what I didn’t say was when they told us where we would be sleeping my wife decided she would stay home.
We went to bed around 3 a.m. I woke up around 5 thirty and saw that my drummer Scott was not there. I got up and started looking for him
and found him sitting on the curb outside the civic center smoking a joint. Now I would not allow drugs on the bus but he said he had it in his pocket. I must admit it really upset me but the worst was yet to come. I asked if he had anymore and he said one more joint. Is there
any on the bus? No he replied, I went back inside and 10 minutes later a policeman was hollering at me to come outside.
They had my drummer handcuffed and told me he was under arrest for smoking marijuana. It seems when he opened the door at the civic
center to go outside it set off an alarm, they responded and found my drummer. They ask permission to search the bus and we had to go in front of a J.P. and pay a fine. The judge allowed us to stay and play on
Saturday night as long as we did not leave or go outside after a certain hour. The fine was five hundred dollars.
By noon a place had been blocked of and it was full of rattlesnakes. At around 3 p.m. they blocked off another area next to the snakes and laid a pillow on the floor. Out walked a guy with t-shirt blue jeans and no shoes on and he laid down on the floor and put the pillow under his head. Then they raised the barrier and turned all of the snakes loose into the area where the gentleman was on the floor. Now I am afraid of snakes and sharks but when I saw all of those snakes crawling towards him it was hard for me to watch. Within minutes those snakes were all over him around him on him and I just stood there and watched. He had a cloth over his face. It lasted about forty-five minutes but it seemed like hours to me.
It was an experience to remember. Years later we played another rattlesnake round up in Brackettville. I do not like to talk about snakes but when I saw the snake on the highway, I thought I would share.
In closing let me say enjoy DEL RIO it is a beautiful city and remember the words of my friend TOM KEEP THE FAITH. PRAY TO THE LORD TO
SAVE AMERICA GOD BLESS AND THANK YOU. Thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.