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 Personal Narrative [Strong Student Model]

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Rawrness in the making

PostSubject: Personal Narrative [Strong Student Model]   Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:55 pm

My Summer of the Rattlesnake

It was the biggest rattlesnake I'd ever seen, and I'd just rolled over it with an empty wheelbarrow.

I was eleven years old that hot West Texas summer, missing my school friends because we lived out so far from any of them. We lived on what my parents called a ranch, but all we had were a horse, some chickens, and a cat named Frosty. "In the middle of nowhere, miles from anywhere," my dad would say, and then he'd laugh. I didn't think it was very funny.

To tell the truth I was sick and tired of being big sister to a little brother. Roy was four, that age when a kid gets into all kinds of trouble and isn't good for much anything, especiallu helping with the chores. My dad was away at work at the refinery all day, and my mom depended on me.

Exactly how much she depended on me I had no idea-until the day of the rattlesnake.
One of my choires was to load up the wheelbarrow with trash and garbage and push it out across the canyon maybe a quarter of a mile from the house, where my dad had dug a deep hole to bury it. That day I sweated across the canyon, muttering complaints to myself about my hard life. I dumped the trash and tossed some dirt over it with the old, crack-handled shovel we kept out there.

On the way back I saw little Roy sitting out in front of the house, getting horribly grunny, demolishing on of his trucks. I was glaring at him so hard I didn't see the snake until I'd rolled over it. Running over a big snake with an empty wheelbarrow may not hurt it much, but it makes it mad. The snake was rattling, a rustling sound like an angry wind through fry leraves, coiled and ready to strike. Roy was maybe ten feet away, oblivious. I yelled as loud as I could for my mom. Mothers recognize that kind of yell, and she was out the door in two seconds flat.

She scooped up Roy in her arms and moved away. I didn't move. The snake didn't move. Holding my breath, I began backing away one inch at a time. I knew that if I just kept moving slowly away from the snake it would slither away. We'd all be safe.

But what about next time? You cant keep a little kid like Roy from sitting on the dirt in front of the house playing with his trucks. I knew what I had to do. I had to shoot the snake. We had uns in the house, a 30-30 that belonged to my dad, and my .22 rifle. I call it mine, although back then I wasn't allowed to shoot it unless my dad or mom was with me. The huns were kept locked up in a chest, and I didn't have the key.

Then all of a sudden I did have it. Tossing the key to me, my mom said, "Get the .22" I was an OK shot, but Mom was terrible, so there i was with the key in my hand. I moved slowly back from the snake and then went into the house. I tried to hurry, but i felt like i was wading through deep molasses.

The .22 was where it was supposed to be. It wasn't loaded, although my dad said every gun is loaded, or should be trated as though it is. The cartridges were kept in a box. I opened the box.

There was one cartridge left. One lonely bullet. For some reason it looked very small and scared all alone in that box. My hands were sweating from more than the heat as I slid the bolt back on the rifle and laid in the bullet. I slid the bolt home and walked back outside.

With Mom and Roy some yards behind me, I moved as close as I dared to the rattlesnake. It was still coiled, still rattling. Its head was swaying back and forth, a moving target, a very small moving target. I saw its fangs, like two sharp hypodermic needles.

"Take a deep breath, honey," Mom sad quietly. "You can do it."

I sucked in a slow, deep breath and laid the front sight on the snake head, its moving swaying head. Its beasy eyes were challenging me. Mom whispered, "You can do it," but the snake seemed to be saying, "No way little girl." I sqeezed the trigger.

That afternoon when my dad drove down the firt road that led to the house, I was standing there holding up a dead rattlesnake longer than I was tall. When Mom told him the story of what had happened, of what I'd done, he gave me a golden gift i'll never forget. He smiled, tears in his eyes, and picked me up in his arms. For a minute I couldn't breathe because his hug was so tight.
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