Snakes Not On Joe’s Lists Of Favorites
By W. P. Sissell
Long Time Friend
I promised you a few more stories about my long time friend Joe Stribling. Joe was an avid hunter and liked fishing just about as well. How I remember a trip to the Twin Ditches east of
Crowder. Just as my lure hit the water, an enormous spoonbill cat rolled to the surface. I jerked my line and lure completely out of the water to keep that “thing” from getting my lure. This was very funny to my fishing companion, Joe. He probably would have tried to get that fish to catch his lure. He went many nights to the spillway at Sardis and fished with several lines staked out in the spillway pool. I remember a story about a big one that he had gotten close to the shore when some one grabbed his line to help and the fish got away.
All our crops on the delta place were planted with Joe’s tractor, an early model International “C” (later it was converted to the higher horsepower model). After planting, cultivators were attached and Joe cultivated crops for most of the remainder of the summer.
Some people might not realize that wildlife is plentiful in the delta but it is, especially in wooded areas and along the bayous. One afternoon, as I made the usual rounds determining how the plows should be set for the next cultivation, I noticed that the tractor, Joe’s tractor, had wandered considerably—in fact—several rows of “shirt pocket” high cotton was plowed up. Later in the afternoon, as Joe put his little tractor to bed for the night, when he saw me coming, he did not wait for me to say anything but met me with, “Don’t you say a thing to me about that plowed up cotton. If a snake got on that tractor with you, you would likely plow cotton up too!” This time I laughed at him. It seems that as he got into the tallest cotton in the field—close to the bayou bank—a yard long Blue Racer joined him on the platform of the tractor. According to Joe, it was going across his feet and he got his feet up in the seat and just let that racer have the tractor for a minute.
Joe did not particularly like snakes. There was another occasion where he got off to clean his back plows after going through a low place—these are commonplace in those nice flat fields. As he kicked the grass from one of the plows he felt something hit his foot. Looking down he saw what he believed to be a small moccasin. Jumping back he swung his foot attempting to kick the snake from his foot and apparently fangs hung in his shoe lace. When Joe told this he would end up by saying,“That second kick was guaranteed to get him loose, I heard him going through the cotton.”
Then there was the time that Joe and I were moving some lumber. On the first two by six we picked up I brought my end up but heard Joe saying, “Wup, wup.” When I looked at his hands, I saw a King snake wrapped around his wrist as he went back into the grass.
On Birds and Rabbits
Joe Stribling grew up during the depression. For Joe, hunting was one of the ways food was supplied for the family. Joe loved rabbit hunting—as I have told you he taught me how to find a rabbit in the bed so he could usually be gotten with a “tap stick.” I never heard anything about squirrels but he probably could have gotten them when searching for the special Hickory.
His other hunting love was Quail. Several people in Water Valley supplied him with shotgun shells for that special Winches-ter that I’ve told you about. Joe seldom missed and swapped a dozen birds for a box of shells.
It has been a busy week. We attended Brenda and Harold Wiggs fiftieth wedding anniversary on Saturday. We taught several of their cousins, brothers and sisters both at Crowder and South Panola and children at Northwest. We were asked to pass the word along that there would be a Crowder School reunion at Paw Paw’s, west of Batesville at the North Delta turn off, on the third Saturday in July beginning about five and after. I did not get a class but you can call Harold Dean Wiggs, 326-8230 for this if needed.
We had late breakfast with the Bridges, the other grandparent Bridges, grandson Bowen and fiance, granddaughter Melba Major (who picked us up) on Easter after attending Sunrise Service at Terza United Methodist Church. Following the breakfast, in Oxford, we returned to Batesville for a tour of the grounds of the home which eldest daughter, Nancy and husband Gil Bridges, have purchased. The Azaleas there were beautiful.
Yesterday we kept an appointment with the Veteran’s Administration (Bahalia) for a physical checkup then visited Memphis Pool and Sam’s.
Somewhere in there, toward the end of the week, we met Bob and Mary Samuels, now of Beebe, Arkansas, at the Cracker Barrel in Batesville. Bob wanted me to thank Miss Betty and the Herald staff for getting his Herald to Beebe—usually on Friday. Along the way I got encouragements and I thank you for these. We ran into L. D. Jones’ “hardware salesman” son at T. C’s in Batesville and had a nice conversation.
Our wish for you is a great week. You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, Mississippi 38606 (do you ever think that our Uncle Sam visits a little box every day for each of us), or 662-563-9879.