Thursday, January 27, 2011

... and watch the rattlesnakes pop balloons.

Tractors were always a part of our lives.  Green John Deere tractors were normally either in the field or in Daddy's shop being greased or repaired. Daddy always had tractors going.

Sometimes in the spring, when Daddy needed the tractors in our fields and his custom farming customers needed the tractors in their fields too, both tractors were going 24 hours a day for several days per week.  Donald, Harold, and Daddy would take turns driving them, one of them at home sleeping while the other two were out on tractors.  

One of the fun things we did was visit Silver Springs.  We normally only saw Ross Allen's reptile show and portion of Silver Springs.  

George at Silver Springs

With 8 children at home, money for fun things like Silver Springs wasn't anywhere to be found.  Just putting food on the table, clothes on us kids, and buying the other necessities of life took all the money we made, leaving nothing for Silver Springs.
Jean and Edith at Silver Springs in 1960

Daddy and my older brothers would often keep a bushel basket and lid on the tractor they were on.  When they saw a rattlesnake, off the tractor they'd go, they'd capture the snake, and put it in the bushel basket.  The basket would be hooked back on the tractor.  None of them were even bitten by a rattlesnake.  (Stanley reminded me about the time when a rattlesnake spat in Daddy's eyes and that Daddy had a twitch for a days afterward.)  When they came home in the evening, the basket would go into the seed room in the shop until we had free time.  Rattlesnakes live for months without food so feeding it wasn't a problem.

As soon as Daddy had free time, we'd all pile into the car and head to Silver Springs.  It may be weeks or a couple of months after the snake was caught, but off we'd go.  Every time Daddy took Ross Allen a rattlesnake, we could all go in free.  We'd watch them put alligators to sleep, watch Ross Allen milk rattlesnakes of their venom, and watch the rattlesnakes pop balloons.

Imagine!  Free entry for 2 adults and a minimum of 8 young'uns in exchange for one rattlesnake.

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