One night when I was young, the Cofields went to Angelo’s for dinner. When we were walking up to the register Dad told me ask Mr. Mistilis about the rattlesnake. The Cofields and Mistilis’ were and are close. What followed was a great story from old school Oxford. Thanks to Joey for asking his dad for the details. -John Cofield
“An Ole Miss friend, Bob Bailey, asked me to take him bow hunting. It was early fall and we planned it right away. In the early 60s few people bow hunted and it was all with long bows — no high tech stuff yet. I took Bob to a spot in the Holly Springs National Forest called Riverside.
The Tallahatchie here is bound on the south side by a long ridge that sloped down to the river bottom. We separated and started hunting. Not long after we split, I saw a few deer in front of me, moving west along the ridge. A short distance ahead was an old logging road that dropped off into the bottom. I knew this old road bed ran parallel to a ditch about 5- feet deep but not very wide.
Expecting, and hoping, the deer would come down the road, I quietly slid into the ditch to hide. The ditch was only about 2-feet wide at the bottom. I stood very still as I looked over the top of the ditch for the deer. Suddenly I had a bad, sinking feeling. I looked down and saw a huge timber rattler lying between my feet! I drew and snapped off a shot, pinning the snake down about eight inches from its head. Then, I realized I was standing on top of the ditch bank, looking down into the ditch. I don’t remember getting there! What probably saved me from rattlesnake venom that day was a rabbit.
Inside the snake we found a whole rabbit. The snake measured 61 inches and had 12 rattles and a button.”
Angelo Mistilis is a longtime Oxford resident and noted restauranteur
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