Rattle, Rattle

I’ve spent the latter part of last week touring our vineyards with Shawn (our Marketing Guru) and Ron (our good friend photographer from Seattle). Our purpose was to photograph each one of our vineyards for the website and other propagandas. The pinnacle moment of the trip was when Shawn insisted on taking a few pictures of a basalt cliff because basalt is such a preeminent feature of Eastern Washington’s geology. I took the team to a nice cliff just 100 yards off the road near the Yakima River. The 100 yards separating the cliff from the road were covered with dry bushes and large basalt boulders that we had to navigate to get near the cliff. 15 minutes into the shooting session, an old pickup truck stopped on the side of the road. Thinking it was one of those great eastern Washington souls checking on a few bozos stopped on the side of the road, I waived my hand and gave the driver a thumb up to indicate that we were doing just great. The truck driver left apparently content. About 5 minutes later, the same pickup truck came down our way through the dry bushes, windows down, apparently wanting to talk to us. “Really, we are fine” I thought to myself. The orange pickup belonged to the county and the grumpy driver was looking at us like we were aliens: “Do you guys know this is a Rattlesnake breeding ground here? I am just asking, because this is the time they shed their skins and they are easy to upset at this time of the year”. “Really? We had no clue, we are just taking a few pictures and we are out” “Well, make sure you are careful and don’t move if you hear the rattle, they’re really quick. By the way they don’t like noises so make plenty of it so they don’t come out &mdash “Thank you much, we’ll be careful”.
So now, picture this. Ron is taking pictures and Shawn and I are clapping our hands around him (we found that the intro of “car wash” made for the best clapping). We really look quite silly and are laughing our heads off worrying about where the first snake would come out from. This is the point where my genial self thinks about putting a good joke. First I dream that I could hide something in Ron’s bag that would scare the Jesus out of him, but I cannot think of anything. So I grab a dead branch and while Shawn is clapping away I move the branch between Ron’s leg at the same time he is intensely focusing on one of his great shot. So much for staying still, Ron jumps a good foot in the air with a loud shout. He turns around to see Shawn and me laughing harder than ever and since Ron is good sport (and probably very relieved it was just a poor joke) he bursts in laughers with us.
We did not hear one rattle that day but boy we had a good time.

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