Photographic memories – Texas 1986 – Fishing, horses, and water moccasins

My friend Debbie who lived in our complex in Houston came from quite a large ranch about 50 miles outside the city.  Her father had cattle and horses and she invited me out to spend the day one weekend with her family when David was away across in California.

Her father had cleared a large piece of land and dug out a very sizeable lake which provided water for the surrounding ground and stock. He had also populated the lake with some fish and the kids had grown up using for paddle boarding, swimming and fishing. Being a beautiful and hot summer Texas day when I arrived, it was decided to cool off by getting the boards out and paddling and then jumping (of falling off in my case) into the water which was not very deep. We wore sneakers to prevent gettting caught on any stones and I also wore a t-shirt to prevent getting burned. The family had been enjoying this cool little paradise for years and I threw myself enthusiastically into all the activities.

We then tried our hands at fishing and much to my surprise I actually caught a small bass which ended up, with everyone’s elses on the BBQ.  Throw in a ride back from the lake on a very friendly and docile horse and I was very happy as you can see.

I have a thing about snakes – I think it was probably a result of repeated warnings and shrieks from my amah when I was very young and living in Sri Lanka – There were plenty of poisonous varieties and with the jungle only feet away from the house there were several incursions into the house let alone the garden.  As a three year old my natural curiosity might have got me into trouble so it was instilled in me from that age that they were something to be very scared of.

Shortly after this photo was taken of me astride this patient horse whilst holding up my contribution to supper, one of the younger boys decided to inform me that he was surprised that we had not encountered one of the many water moccasins that inhabited the lake!

I often wonder what this picture would have looked like if it had been taken five minutes later!


Other photographic memories in the directory

Photographic memories – Is there a point to climbing this mountain! Where are the sniffs?


Sam was very articulate but his non verbal skills were second to none.  We are lucky to live about 30 minutes from the Ski Slopes and in the summer there are some lovely hikes up these wonderful mountains.  On this particular occasion we were walking up to a hut where we planned to have lunch.  Sam, could walk for hours around our neighbourhood where he had a number of girlfriends distributed discreetly and he also liked to check on his p-mails as we called them to keep an eye on activities of potential rivals.

However, he found little point in walking upwards for hours, without any females or sniffs to occupy him on the way.  He was like a sulky child in the back of a car on a long journey.  Several times he sat down and gave me this exact look and it was quite clear he was asking “Are we done yet?”

We eventually made the hut and proceeded to share lunch and water between us. After consuming some cold sausages and half a bottle of water, Sam assumed a position, head between paws and facing down the mountain. He was clearly still miffed!  We were just contemplating heading off again – upwards and then across and down, when Sam lifted his head and sniffed the air.

Out of sight over the edge we could hear some scrambling sounds and sure enough, a couple minutes later a very small Yorkshire Terrier appeared running rapidly, followed shortly by her two owners struggling to keep up.  Sam sat up immediately and then stood, nose and tail quivering.

Luckily we had him on an extended leash and were already packed up.  Equally fortunate was the fact that my husband was holding onto the lead at the time.  The Yorkie shot past us fully intent on reaching the summit and without a moments hesitation one 40kilo Lassie Collie was in hot pursuit.  There was no doubt that at least there was one female on the mountain and despite her very small stature, she was obviously delectable to Sam.

I last saw my husband disappearing over the lip of the next ridge, reappearing from time to time along the summit and then off the edge at the far end.  David was a mountain runner, used to the challenges of the Irish crags which is why I was grateful he was on the end of the lead not me.

We finally all met up again at the bottom of the scree, where Sam lay panting in frustration and David gathered his wits.

I will say that Sam was very well trained and he always stayed close to us both when out, this was totally out of character and I can only assume that the tiny Yorkie was that once in a lifetime, across a crowded room, moment for our boy. 

Either that or he decided to teach us a lesson – ‘I don’t do mountains’


©Sally Cronin 2014