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Wes Laird Scared Stiff
Rattlesnake Rodeo
You may have noticed I only scanned one yearbook this weekend. I took the weekend off and went to the Rattlesnake Rodeo in Opp, Alabama.
My friend Wes Laird was one of the organizers and invited Jilda and I down. I was fascinated. The population of Opp which is a town of 6500 people, swelled to almost 20,000 for the rodeo.
There were arts and crafts, a car show, rides for the kids, snake demonstrations and country music concerts. We had backstage passes for the Blake Shelton and Sugarland concerts. It was an enjoyable weekend. I love small town festivals and this one almost went by the wayside. The organization that had sponsored the Rattlesnake Rodeo
in Opp decided a few years ago to move the festival to Andalusia which is a larger city in south Alabama. The festival had dwindled down to almost nothing when Opp mayor H.D. Edgar and other folks in Opp got the idea to move the festival back home to Opp. They started planning about 3 months ago, they booked the talent and then the festival grew.
This little town in south Alabama turned out in force and was a very good experience. I wish we could get our towns to have some kind of festival which could bring us all together for a celebration. I think we could use one....not sure about rattlesnakes though, I watched where I stepped all weekend. Click here to go to the Rattlesnake Rodeo Website.

Unsolved Mysteries by Rick Watson
I think it was 1990, but I know it was April because the azaleas were blooming. It had been warm early and a lot of flowers and trees were tricked by mother nature. I had a training class in Atlanta and I left before dawn heading East. The day before had been warm and sunny and that evening when I drove down the little road to our house, I noticed our neighbor had covered her azaleas with sheets.
I thought to myself, there will be frost on my windshield in morning and indeed there was.
I had my coffee with Jilda and was on the road before the roosters crowed.
It was an uneventful drive to Atlanta and my class was a good one. I called Jilda at lunch to let her know I had made it to the big city O. K. but when she answered, I
could tell that something was very wrong. She explained

Lilly Mae's Old Barn

that Lilly Mae Hamrick, a neighbor that lived two doors down had been brutally murdered. I heard the words, but it took a long time for them to register.....Lilly Mae? I questioned. She was a widow and was 80 years old. Why would someone want to kill Lilly Mae. It simply would not compute. It was her azaleas that I had noticed were covered to prevent them from being killed by the frost.
Lilly Mae sold us the property on which our house now sits. The old house and barn on our property were built by she and her husband.
I simply could not believe she had been murdered.
The Walker County Sheriff had been going house to house to see if anyone had any information. I cut my class short and came home because at that point, we didn't know if some deranged drifter was still at large.
One thing I do know is that someone came into our quite little community and with one act of cowardice and brutality changed it forever. Before that time, we had never bothered to lock our doors. We left tools and other valuables unsecured. Those days were gone.
I thought that the authorities would round up the culprits and they would pay. I thought wrong. Who ever did this managed to go unnoticed and apparently didn't leave enough evidence for an arrest. I feel like the sheriff and investigators did what they could do, but her murderer remains at large.
I guess it will be written off as one of those unsolved mysteries.

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