Bonne fête á moi!
Oh, heck, I just had a sugar crash. I'm going to celebrate by snuggling up with Terry Pratchett.
Sunday was great at Mom & Dad's house. My sister's birthday is within a week of mine, as is my B-I-L's, so we have a shared celebration. Mom prepared a feast including my favorite dish, and we had a grand time.
Sis & her family had to leave earlier, but my brother lingered and we all sat around savoring the delights of family lore.
Actually, I recalled the time when grandpa had a bunch of hogs in one area of his farm, and the rats were getting after the hogfeed, and something had to be done.
Dad brought a great length of industrial ventilation hose to the farm, and they hooked it up to the tractor extending down into a rathole and turned it on, exhaust pouring into the rat-warren. Smoke coming up out of the ground far & wide indicated where more holes needed to be blocked. I was the littlest, so I really didn't (appreciate or) get to join in the festivities, but everyone else in the family got to stand around with a bat or a length of pipe with which to greet any escaping rodents. When the rats wearied of breathing tractor fumes, they finally came spilling up out of the earth like a foetid fur eruption, and everyone commenced to whack the crap out of the varmints. None survived the ordeal. Even though I didn't really participate, I'm glad I got to experience this - it's always been a very vivid memory for me.
Dad told his father he'd seen a massive copperhead go down into a hole, and Grandpa directed him to put the hose into a nearby hole, and they smoked the snake back up, then Grandpa shot it with a .22 from where he was seated on the tractor. The copperhead turned out to be 41" long, which is rather large, and these are a heavy-bodied snake, as it is. Dad also told us something I never knew, which was that pit vipers give birth to live young like a shark - the snakes form and develop inside an egg that stays in the mother's body until hatching. This includes snakes like the copperhead and its cousin the cottonmouth(water moccasin) and those pesky rattlesnakes. So, if you see round eggs in the garden, a rattler has not nested among your Bachelor's Buttons. That's a load off, innit?
Anyway, I also mentioned (but brother didn't remember) the time I followed him to the back pond on grandpa's farm, and I called to him, pointing out a snake very near me. He picked up a rock and smote that snake, bursting the flesh from its casing like a piece of popcorn. The meat of the snake looked white, actually and it writhed in a flurry of coils and exploded snakeflesh like a dusty little flamenco dancer. Popcorn is exactly what I thought that day - it was fascinating. I was relieved he had such good aim.
There's a lot of that in my family-- good aim. I've been trying for months to work in a reference of how Dad killed an armadillo with a precisely deployed Dr. Pepper bottle from about 40 or so feet. And there you have it. Anyway, some animal-rights folk in the family were outraged, but we continue to think this is a funny story. I mean, crap! Armadillo carry disease and are the opposite of an endangered species - having made their way north all the way to Canada, by now. Someday, we'll hear reports of armadillos in Central Park.
If I were an armadillo, I'd rather be killed by a Dr. Pepper bottle than to be killed because I'm so stupid that when I'm on the highway, I jump straight up and and commit suicide on the undercarriage of a speeding vehicle as it passes over me. I know, we're talking minor degrees here, but the Dr. Pepper bottle seems so much more dignified a way to go than to be served up on the half-shell.
Blah blah blah. I'm rambling.
Anyhoo, have a fabulous 8th, people. I will. For what it's worth , the great Chicago Fire started on this date in 1871. And just remember that while beastly souls like Jesse Jackson, Soon-Yi Previn-Allen and Chevy Chase clawed their way into existence on this date, there is Johnny Ramone and Sigourney Weaver and me to balance things out, and all is well.