I mentioned in the cutline for a copperhead that you never know when or where one will show up.  Same with bad news.

Sunday afternoon about 4, Kimball and I had just gotten home from the 148th homecoming at Concord Missionary Baptist Church and after the delicious carry-in dinner doubted that we would ever be hungry again. Those ladies and a few of the men, sure can cook. We were watching the recording of CBS Sunday Morning.

The phone rang so when Kimball went to answer it I stopped the TV. I couldn’t tell to whom she was talking. As Kimball came back by my chair she announced abruptly, “Ross is dead.”

Of course I started asking questions. That had been Adrian on the phone, Ross’ wife, Diane, was too upset to make the call to Kimball and tell her about her brother.

He passed away Sunday morning. Last week he underwent 10 hours of surgery to remove a cancerous bile duct and all the places it had spread. The next day he got out of bed. A day or two later, a blood infection set in and soon he was in a coma from which he didn’t wake up.

He was 72. His dad died from cancer at 72. His dad’s mother died at 72. His and Kimball’s mother, Francis, passed away at 84 here in ElDo.

There’s no place to send flowers. Diane had him cremated. She has planned a memorial service for Aug. 24.

Diane hasn’t approved an obituary yet. We plan to publish that next week.

– Back to copperheads. Years ago I was fishing under the bridge at Caplinger on the west side of Sac River. I think it was Dean Kennon who caught a fair sized carp and offered it give it to me. Dad loved to eat carp and knew just how to avoid the bony parts. The river had been up the night before and the rocks were still wet. I selected a long skinny one that I thought would hold my stringer with the carp on it. When I rolled the rock up toward me, I instantly dropped it back on the two-foot copperhead that was under it. Somehow the copperhead got injured before he or she got into the river.  I’ve heard that an injured snake will drown and I assume it did.

I hurt the only cottonmouth I’ve seen in Missouri when it tried to get in the boat with me at the upper end of the island below the Sac River Bridge on Hwy. 82. The snake sank. I shot a bunch of them in Louisiana and on the Columbia River below Lake Eufala and one in south Alabama that was coming to help me put a trolling motor on an aluminum boat in a pond.

I don’t hurt black snakes, garden snakes, bull snakes, whip snakes, green snakes, any snake that is not venomous. I often catch them, let them wrap around my arm and take them to Kimball who likes to pet snakes. Then we let them go on their way.

I’ve never seen a rattlesnake in Missouri or anywhere else. Don’t send the game warden after me. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve seen a venomous snake. A few more years would suit me just fine. KL