by Dick Mauer
Back in the early 80's a few guys from Buffalo got together for a March van trip to Myrtle Beach for some winter golf. Buffalo Agent Don Palacios, Town of Tonawanda Detective Jack Lang. myself, and a Lang neighbor, Joe Ruisi were traveling together and we were to meet 4 Canadian, Toronto area cops in Myrtle Beach. Joe Ruisi is a very short and round Italian who actually resembled Mario from the video game 'Super Mario" Leaving at 5 am, Joe was the last to be picked up. He came out of the house with a small suitcase, a big picnic bag (more on that later), and his golf bag which had a pair of black rubber galoshes hanging off it. "What are those for?" we asked Joe. and, with dead seriousness, Joe said, "SNAKES!." He could not be talked out of taking them.
Myrtle Beach is a 15-hour drive from Buffalo and Joe marked the time by eating a sandwich an hour from his picnic bag. We arrived about 9 pm, joined the other 4 in a few beers and racked out for an early start the next morning. We had an 8 am tee time and Joe could not be dissuaded from wearing the boots. Don and I were guilty of filling his head with Border Patrol snake stories and we had warned him of sand snakes, and tree snakes. When Joe showed up in the boots, watching the trees, the Canadians started the morning rolling around on the fairway laughing at the boots.