And I can’t help but share this story with you, as well, written by my brother for the same Tribute Edition:
The Tale of Dick, Harold and the Snake
by Dubin Truff (the wrong name that got bestowed on my brother a few years ago)
For all who don’t know who the main characters of this story are, let me give you a little background.
I have always been amused when people get a person’s name wrong, so, a few years ago, when a customer of Dad’s called him “Harold”, I couldn’t help but laugh and immediately started referring to him as “Harold” myself. A short time later Dad, myself and my brother-in-law were riding in Dad’s pickup on the way to the store for some last minute Thanksgiving dinner items.
My sister and her husband were dealing with construction contractors as their new house was being finished, and he made the comment that he wondered if the plumbers weren’t cutting some corners.
I piped up with a grin, “Oh, we always cut corners, don’t we, Harold?”
Dad glanced at me sideways, without expression and said, “Speak for yourself, Dick.” This was the birth of Dick and Harold’s Plumbing Co. (disbanded four months later). The names never really stuck, but they made me laugh and I never forgot them.
The snake story goes like this: Dad and I were at a new home in the latter stages of completion, setting fixtures. When we arrived, the homeowners were not there, and we accessed the house through the garage, which was littered with an assortment of cardboard, plastic, and insulation. After hook-up and testing of the electric hot-water heater, which included multiple trips by both of us from the basement(where the hot-water heater was) to the unlit garage (where the main breaker panel was), we separated and tackled our respective tasks.
For me, this meant sprinting from room to room, first floor to second, as quickly and efficiently as possible, breaking fixtures and making as large of a mess as possible.
For Dad, it meant following steadily and patiently behind, fixing everything I touched.
After about an hour or so, as I was just finishing the drip-free hook-up on an upstairs bathroom lavatory for the seventh time, I heard one of the newly arrived homeowners shout from downstairs, “Devon, get down here and help your Dad!” You could hear slight panic in her voice, and I knew some crisis had unfolded. Or uncoiled.
I ran downstairs and into the garage to find the homeowners watching Dad as he surveyed a rather large rattlesnake writhing on the concrete floor. If it was large enough to evoke the discussion and debate that almost always happens wherever rattlesnakes are encountered (“Oh, that was too big; must have been a timber rattler!”), I can’t remember.
It was big enough to get my attention.
Harold and I quickly formulated our plan. It involved ten feet of ½” copper pipe, 22 feet of bailing wire and raw, god-given courage. I quickly found out that God must not have given me any, for when we had fashioned our snake lasso (double wire through the pipe to form a loop on one end and the other end to pull the slack tight once the snake’s head was in the loop) and I attempted to catch the snake, I wouldn’t get any closer than my end of the “ten foot pole”.
A ten foot stick of copper pipe is pretty squirrely when there’s a coward on one end and a pissed off snake on the other.
Try as I might, I couldn’t get the loop of wire on the other end around that snake’s head. After about a minute of this, Dad couldn’t watch any longer. “Oh for Christ’s sake”, he said as he walked past me, grabbed the business end of our snake-catcher, and steered the wire loop over the head of that rattlesnake. “Pull!” he shouted, and I needed no encouragement. I’m surprised I didn’t decapitate the reptile then and there I pulled with such gusto! The angry rattler was then dispatched with a shovel, the head was buried, and the rest was history. Without getting too long winded I will give you the moral of the story:
My Dad’s pretty tough.