On the last day of school/work before Christmas break, I was already so happy, my need for break was not as big as usual. I had just spent a week with a single friend who had been recovering from surgery and I got to help her out in some minor ways like walking her dog and getting meals together, etc. Mostly we just had fun being together and I was thrilled to be able to be in a helping capacity since, as a single person, I know how hard it is to ask for and to accept help from others.
When I told my building Principal my busy two-week break itinerary, she asked if I had a AAA card, then she said, That’s all you need. I repeated That’s all I need…and this cell phone. (Who remembers Steve Martin in The Jerk?)
So, I hit the road on Saturday morning once again feeling free as a bird on a windy day and heading northeast to Angola. About one week before, I had had a brief conversation about guns with a gun-loving friend and I had mentioned that I had never fired a gun. Many would call me anti-gun, but I am really anti-killing-with-guns. I have been a vegetarian for 40 years because I don’t believe we have to kill animals to survive. I hate the gun violence in our country, etc. You get the idea. At the time of that conversation I fully expected that I would never fire a gun in my lifetime.
So as I was standing in the kitchen talking to my sister-in-law shortly after arrival on Saturday afternoon and when Brother Tom burst in the back door and told me to put my coat on, I instantly obeyed. He told me that we had something to do together.
If you recall from an earlier post, Tom lives out in the country on 40 acres of heaven. I put on some country-stomping boots and we took off in his candy-apple red truck with three types of guns that he said we were going to shoot together.
So, how quickly did I change my mind from not wanting to ever fire a gun to deciding to fire three guns with my brother? In the second my brother told me what he wanted me to do was the second I decided I would do it. I am in a phase of experiencing new things and I am not about to turn anything down that is not going to hurt anyone. So here we go!
We drove down to the back part of the property where he has his targets. On the way down, he explained why he had wanted this particular Henry 357 Magnum rifle made from walnut wood and brass. Brother Tom had just received this beautiful gun as his retirement gift from his chiropractic practice. He hadn’t even shot it yet, so I felt honored that I was going to be the second person to shoot it.
He shot it three times hitting the mark each time. Tom was clearly excited at the quality of his new gun and the overall feel. His happiness was palpable.
Then it was time for my instructions. I think Tom wanted me not to break any bones. I didn’t either. He explained how to hold it on my shoulder, I pulled back the hammer. I aimed the best I could, although a bit skakily. The time had come. The rubber had met the road. I was going to fire a gun.
Ka BOOM! I screamed! I missed the target but Tom said I was close all three times. My hand is not the steadiest nowadays, so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t hit the target. (This smiling picture is clearly not the moment I fired. HA!)
I next shot a Colt .45 double wide and a .22 was the third and last gun I shot that day. I screamed at the kick and loudness of the Colt .45. Tom said that I also dropped my bottom, left hand. I shot each gun three times…nine total. I wonder if that will be my lifetime total.
After spending the rest of the weekend celebrating an early Christmas with all of Brother Tom’s children and grandchildren, I headed to Brother Mike’s also-heavenly farm in Logansport–two hours away. If you recall Mike is the storyteller of the family, so I spent much of a day sitting at his kitchen table hearing stories about 10,000 things.
When I told Mike about the firing of Tom’s guns, I of course had to learn about the mathematics of guns–why a .22 is a .22 and a .45 is a .45. Most of you may know that, but I didn’t. He also showed me a fired civil war bullet, among other relics. (P.S. Mike did get his other barn door built and put up before winter!)
So this morning, I hit the road again! I am tonight back in Indianapolis where I will see people who are traveling in from St. Louis, NYC, and Los Angeles as I dine with neighbors and good friends from my old neighborhood. After literally sleeping on a couch tonight, tomorrow I will lunch with Brother Pat who is in from Alabama, then I travel east to Sister Julie’s house in Ohio! I may even be able to fit in a visit with my niece from Michigan as I pass through her Indiana hometown.
I’m jamming it in! I will have visited with four siblings, and many friends from seven states in five days! HAHA! See what we meant by all I needed was my AAA card and cell phone? Some of these arrangements were just made today!
See you on the road!