Ricky Harpole 10-30-12

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Harpole: Serpent sends wandering lamb back to the fold

I got a chance to talk to Aunt Emma Lou last week. She is a delicate Southern lady who had the luck in the course of her life to marry my Uncle Jake.

They made their home in Clarksdale and raised up three girls in the church. They were doing pretty well holding it all together except for Uncle Jake’s addiction to squirrel hunting.

Back in those days there weren’t any deer, and squirrel, rabbit and partridge were staple goods available to folks. That squirrel hunting caught on and surpassed chicken for dumpling stock.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

On one occasion Uncle Jake persuaded Aunt Emma Lou to accompany him into the King and Anderson Woods with a shotgun for some old time sporting games.

Well, Aunt Emma Lou got bored with the process pretty quick, being more into cooking squirrels than hunting them in the rattlesnake woods when she realized that if she “unloaded” that old Thumbuster, Uncle Jake would come a running to see what she’d got.

When put to the question she declared “I ain’t got nothing but I’m ready to get out of here and go home. There are probably snakes out here and mosquitoes for sure and I’ve got supper to cook and my shoulder hurts.”

Uncle Jake capitulated and they went back to Clarksdale where they more or less lived happily until the last day of squirrel season.

The first thing Emma Lou noticed that morning (which happened to be on a Sunday) was that Uncle Jake was dressing up in his squirrel huntin’ duds instead of his suit.

“Emma, it’s the last day of the season and I think I’ll ease out to the woods and y’all go on to church without me.”

Well, Aunt Emma Lou being a good Christian, I’m sure didn’t say what she thought about that (in spite of the prospect of the dumplings) didn’t reload or unload but just said, “O.K., Jake” and turned him loose on all those mosquitoes and squirrels and let him go. Before daylight.

Aunt Emma Lou related to me on the phone last week that these many years ago she rounded up the girls and fed ‘em up and took them to morning services at the church house where about 10 minutes into the 10 a.m. service Uncle Jake showed up, dressed in proper attire although he was a little pale and shaky-looking.

That was on account of a 10-foot timber rattler that he almost sat on while he was looking up in the trees for a pot rat. He killed the snake with a prodigious waste of ammunition, went home, put on the proper apparel for church, and although a little on the pale side, looked like he was just a little late for church.

Its the first time I ever heard of a serpent running a strayed lamb into the church house and I wasn’t there but I know Aunt Emma Lou couldn’t have made up a lie even if it was written in one of my columns.

Nuthin’ but the truth this time. Watch yo’ feet, boys and girls.

They’re crawlin.