Smelly Socks: A pistol-packing momma

July 19, 2012 at 2:19 a.m.

My youngest child, Jamison, lives to be outside. Even when it is raining, he puts on his rain boots and raincoat and heads outdoors. At times I look out my window and see him lying in the grass just looking up at the clouds, lost in his boyish thoughts.

His constant companion on his outside adventures is Jasper. Jasper is 110 pounds of pure yellow lab love. They are inseparable, a true boy and his dog kind of love story. I have often been told by Jamison that Jasper is his best friend. They just click and understand each other. No words needed.

Yesterday, Jamison was outside in his usual all over the yard mode. He was busy slaying dragons, shooting bad guys, building enormous buildings and general boy-digging-in-dirt fun. Suddenly, he came running inside at top speed. "Mom, I heard a snake sound," he breathlessly spoke. "Where?" I asked. Jamison knows the snake sound, snake danger and the snake drill, so I trusted that he knew what he heard and saw.

He told me that he and Jasper were in our front yard and he heard the snake rattle and saw a snake head. The hero, Jasper, barked and got between him and the snake. (What a wonderful dog and friend.) Then Jamison did what he had been taught. He stopped, slowly backed away from the snake, got far enough away from it and then took off running to come and tell an adult.

The adult in this situation was me. OK, I have been told what to do in the situation. I have done it before, but I have serious nerve issues where snakes are involved. I knew that I had to take action, I just couldn't leave a rattlesnake loose in our yard.

In my opinion, this is one of the most horrible things about living on a ranch. The snakes have been here long before the settlers came and they will be here long after we are all gone. Rattlesnakes and the ranch, they just go together.

I put Jasper in his kennel, told Jamison to stay inside (which he was more than happy to do) and I grabbed the pistol that we keep loaded with Scatter Load out of its secure location. I headed toward the front yard with a mission.

I said a silent prayer that I would see the snake before he saw me. Rattlesnakes are so camouflaged in the grass, and our front yard is huge. Looking for a snake in our yard was the proverbial needle in the haystack.

I started walking around, double-checking and triple-checking my steps. I checked all of the close areas and then I ventured deeper into the grass and I heard the sound. The sound is unforgettable and nerve shattering.

I stopped, and three feet away from me I saw a four foot long rattlesnake. He was not happy to see me. I took several steps back to put distance between us. In most instances with snakes I have encountered, the snake will coil up or try to get away. However, this rattlesnake actually started coming toward me. He was not scared and was annoyed that I was bothering him.

He wasn't going anywhere, so I raised my pistol and pulled the trigger. Scatter Load is a wonderful thing. Scatter Load are bullets that contain lots of little pellets that come out when the bullet is dislodged. I don't actually know if I hit him, but he stopped coming toward me.

Then I continued to unload my clip on him until I knew that the rattlesnake was a goner. I see Jamison's head peeking out the door. I called him to come outside to show him the dead snake and re-enforce rattlesnake safety and tell him that he did everything just perfectly. All my baby would say is "Whoa, Momma. I would hate to be that snake." I explained, "Well, I just couldn't let him hurt anyone. The hospital is a long way away."

Jamison smiled and said, "Uh, thank you Mom. Glad you did that." "Anything for you," I replied. A mom protects her baby, always has and always will. Of course I immediately grabbed my iPhone and sent a ton of people pictures and explained what had gone down. Everyone said how proud they were of me.

I got a couple of messages of shock and surprise, and a few "Anne Oakley" references. My simple response to all the inquiries was, "Don't get between a Texas girl and her pistol, and don't you dare threaten my baby or his dog."

Johanna is a proud seventh generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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