The Thrill of the Hunt

Usually when someone goes by an alias it’s because they’re hiding from the law, or maybe from their fans, real or imaginary. Texans often find it wise to use an alias while north of the river – especially during football season. I know of a whole species from Texas that goes by an alias when in Oklahoma…the Texas Horned Lizard.

Known in Oklahoma as the horny toad, the Texas Horned Lizard is one scary looking creature. But as they say, ugly is only skin deep. These guys are really nice little fellers. They don’t bark or bite, but when frightened they do shoot blood out of their eyes. So try not to frighten one.

Let me tell you about my favorite horny toad of all time. He wasn’t around long enough for me to catch his name… just long enough for him to steal my heart! So I’ll just call him Hellboy (because of the horns).

It was Easter Sunday and my niece Beverly and little sister Brenda, only 4 days apart in age and both just cute as a button, were itching for an Easter egg hunt. So the whole family loaded up in cars and headed to the local park. As it happened we chose the park that Hellboy called home. We weren’t there long before we discovered Hellboy, and pointed him out to the girls. They were fascinated and frightened, but there were eggs to be found. So the hunt began. And that’s when it happened.

Beverly’s Grandpa Kepler saw that she was about to step on an Easter egg, so he yelled out a warning, “Watch out Beverly!” Now if you read this blog regularly you know our family has German heritage. But you would have known it anyway if you’d been there to see little Beverly as she goose stepped across the park. Everyone laughed…except Beverly. She just screamed. As it turned out she thought Hellboy was out to get her. But I’m guessing she scared him more than he scared her.

Horny toads aren’t as common as they once were. In fact, they are protected now by the State. But occasionally I do see one. And when I do, it conjures up this image in my mind of Beverly and Hellboy goose stepping across the park together, hand in paw.

I’m not sure what ever happened to Hellboy. Beverly moved on to bigger lizards!

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