We went to CrownPoint, New Mexico to help another senior missionary couple, Elder and Sister Palmer, winterize their trailer. Their son is President Palmer, the Stake President of the Winslow, Arizona Stake and is our supervisor with Seminary and Institute. Elder and Sister Palmer are on a service mission. Elder Palmer is a retired Institute Director. They have started a LDSSA at a small college in CrownPoint and an institute class. This day President Palmer brought his family to help his parents winterize the trailer. Their oldest son is on a mission in Texas.
Earlier in the day Elder Palmer ran over a rattle snake on the road in front of the church where the trailer sits. The grandson wanted the rattle of the snake so we piled the three grandchildren into the car with a shovel and went to retrieve the rattle. Elder Boyter was very careful to cut the head off the snake before he took the rattle. We have been warned that the snake can reflex bite after they are dead so removing the head was the first priority. Then we cut the rattle off. It was only about 2 inches long.
When we returned to the trailer, Sister Palmer having 10 children, knew just what to do with the snake. She showed us how to skin the snake. The granddaughter her held the backbone of the snake and the grandmother pulled the skin off the snake. It was very interesting and slick. Grandpa brought the snake back to our trailer where he researched how to take care of the skin. He soaked it in a mixture of Glycerin and rubbing alcohol. He now has it pinned on a cardboard to dry. Grandpa was hoping to make a hat band with it for his cowboy hat. He needed it to be 24 inches long but the snake skin is only 18 inches. I think he is relieved it is too short. The idea of wearing a snake on his head was not comfortable for him.
The Navajo Indians hold the rattlesnake as a special animal and they would not be happy if Grandpa wore a snake skin hat band on our mission. Grandpa was going to wait until he got back to Idaho to wear it on his hat. Since is too short for a hat band, Grandpa is thinking that we will make a picture box with different things from our mission and put the snake skin in the box.