It’s time to finish up my Tilden tales. I’ll keep it short since the rancher just came by to ask us when the storm is supposed to hit? We typically have no internet when it storms. Our rancher also proudly shared the news that we’re on Lightening Hill. He’s had 5 cows get struck by lightning! His neighbor’s had 6 hit but that was cheating because 5 of them were lined up along the same metal fence!
If you live in certain parts of the country, you talk a lot about weather. As a matter of fact, the weather is a pretty significant topic wherever you live either because it’s just right or just awful.
A year ago, if you happened to be two women and a Schoolde, living not terribly far from the border in southern Texas on a remote 1500 acre ranch, you’d talk a lot about safety. We spent a little time with the sweetest gate guard couple that were just down the road a ways from us in Tilden. I’ll call them John and Mary.
They felt strongly that we should have a gun, which we didn’t and which we couldn’t buy in Texas since we weren’t Texas residents. This isn’t a story about whether or not gate guards should have guns or are allowed to have guns (both are mildly controversial in gate guarding circles). This is a story about what happens when generosity backfires.
I’d been down looking at John and Mary’s little hatbox satellite dish. We’d been in Tilden for two weeks and still had no internet, cell phone or TV. As often happened, the conversation turned to our safety. They again expressed their alarm at our lack of weaponry and decided the solution would be to loan us their 12 gauge shotgun, since they also had a rifle and had recently shot a 5 foot rattlesnake out in front of their RV.
While I thought this might be a good idea, I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to be the one handling the gun or getting the instructions, since I do my own stunts and had been rather stunt prone of late. Heidi headed over to check it out. She grew up hunting and is certainly much more comfortable with guns than I am. Heidi said she’d take a look and go with her gut.
It was about a 4 mile trip on a wash board road to John and Mary’s, so it takes about 15 minutes to get to their gate and back. 20 minutes after she left, Heidi came barreling up to the fence, spraying rocks and laying on the horn, which is SO not like her. I rushed out to open the gate, and she jumped out of the Jeep, wide-eyed, and raced straight into the RV. I was thinking that maybe she was hiding the shotgun under the seat and that Border Patrol was coming?
Turns out, she was hyper-ventilating. In the process of showing Heidi how to use the gun, John stood in the middle of their living room, released the safety and pulled the trigger to show Heidi how it worked. It worked real well. Mary had gone to Pleasanton, which I’m sure was a good thing since the load shattered their large living room window, passing on through into the Texas tangle of mesquite and cactus.
Neither the discharge of the gun or Heidi’s scream rattled him a bit. John stated in his usual, laid-back fashion: We’ve been needing a new window anyway.
Just then, the bell went off. Mary was back. John looked upset for the first time as he said to Heidi: How am I going to tell her I did it again!?
At this point Heidi’s gut told her that this was a sign we maybe should just lock the doors, keep a watch out for rattlesnakes and see if we could teach Henry how to bark.