Not So Quick On The Draw

In another story, Quick Draw, I told how Flay Randolph had a holster mounted to the  side of his pickup seat, and had mastered the quick draw use of it. He scared the heck out of me one time when a coyote walked out onto the road ahead of us. Flay was out of the pickup and firing at the coyote before I had time to register it was there.

I didn’t carry a pistol in a holster mounted to my seat, but I did carry a 22 rifle in a rack on the back window. When I was growing up, everyone did that—especially those who lived on farms. Nowadays, you’d get arrested for it, I suppose. I don’t carry a gun in my back window here in College Station; I haven’t seen any coyotes lately either.

A few weeks after the quick draw incident with Flay I did see one, though. It was late at night and very dark—no moon—and I was on irrigation duty. I’d drive the roads between the fields, and start the water flowing through the pipes into the rows of the field scheduled to be watered.

I was alone, but I wasn’t afraid—not because I was especially brave, but mostly because I wasn’t aware of anything to be afraid of. The most dangerous wild animal I might encounter was a snake, and I knew to keep an eye out for them. I don’t recall ever seeing many on the hay farm, though I’m sure they were there. And as far as humans that might wish to do me harm, we were so far out in the middle of the desert, there was little danger of anyone being there who wasn’t supposed to be there.

I was driving slowly between two eighty acre fields, shining my spotlight down the rows of hay, so I could determine the progress of the water. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move into the road ahead of me, and I swung the light toward the movement. The coyote was standing broadside to me, its head turned toward me, sparkling eyes glowing in my headlights. It was about fifty yards away, and seemed more curious than afraid. I remembered the way the one had looked at me and Flay; like it thought we were the ones trespassing on its territory. This one gave me that same sense, and I wondered if it might even be the same coyote.

I clicked off the spotlight, laid it on the seat then reached into the cab to get my twenty-two. When I turned back toward the coyote, it was charging straight at me, snarling as it ran. Okay, I couldn’t hear it over the rumble of the pickup’s engine, but I could see its bared teeth, and my brain said it was snarling!

I tossed the gun onto the seat, bailed into the truck, and slammed the door. I have no idea where the coyote went, but as far as I was concerned, it was waiting for me right outside my pickup door. I got the heck out of there!

I went about two-hundred yards down the road, made a U-turn, and stared back down the road where I’d encountered the beast. The road was empty.

In the several months I worked on the farm, I never encountered another coyote, but you can bet your sweet bippy I kept an eye out for them!

 

7 Comments »

  1. Sherry said

    betcha it jumped into the truck bed and was just waiting for you to step out . . .

  2. F. Leon Looney said

    That must have been on the enterprise Ranch that Flay managed in the 1960-70’s? Did you know Sharon Randolph? Leon Looney

    • The hay ranch was near Dateland and Aztec. Most of it on the south side of the highway between Gila Bend and Yuma, but there were a few fields on the north side also. Yes, I knew Sharon, Sandra, and Gregg. My parents were friends with Flay and Irene. The Randolphs were older than my parents, but they kind of took the two of them under their wing. Mom and Irene spent a lot of time together. I still stay in touch with Flay, but he didn’t answer the last time I called. I don’t know if he’s still with us. Do you know?

    • Leon: I just talked to Flay, and he sounded pretty good. Still remembers some things, and not others. He’s in an assisted living/nursing home in Goodyear. I don’t remember the name of it, and I had to laugh, because when I asked him he, said, “Hell, I don’t know.”

      • Leon Looney said

        Charles. Flays last address was 101 ave. just north of Indian School rd. That is where Sharon and her husband live. I was talking to her uncle, John Tucker ( Irene’s brother) and he told me where Sharon lived. Flay was a gun collector same as me. I saw him in 1978 on the enterprise farm and we talked guns for sometime. I knew Sharon from High School. If you google Flay Randolph you will find a good story from him when he went into the Navy at age 16. There are some good pictures of Flay on Facebook from our old settlers union.

      • Thanks, Leon. I found the story about Flay online, and posted it on Facebook. Lots of people reacted, and Flay’s phone is probably ringing off the hook.

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