Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hunting with Dad, Addendum

Is it weird that I wore sweater-vests
the last few years of my career?
Dad took me hunting with him only twice.  I wrote about the first yesterday--that memorable occasion in the early 1950s when I, armed with my trusty Daisy air rifle (the weapon that had raised deeply satisfying bumps on my little brother's legs and terrified the sparrows in my neighborhood), thrice fired at and missed a wounded rabbit lying right at my feet.

The other occasion was a Hiram Thanksgiving when some of Dad's in-laws were visiting (not people he was especially fond of--my mom's quite eccentric aunts and uncles, two of each). Dad took one of the uncles and me hunting rabbits over on a Garrettsville farm that is now a golf course.  (Was Dad thinking of a way to eliminate one of the uncles?  Surely not.)

I was unarmed that day, my Daisy long gone ... well, let's be honest: confiscated.  I was along for the exercise--and, I suppose, to avoid the banquet preparation back at the house.  I'm certain my older brother was not with us (the other uncle liked opera too); my younger brother, his legs now recovered, was with us, too.  Also unarmed.

Dad and my great-uncle shot some rabbits.  We ate them later on.  You have to be careful, though, eating shotgunned rabbit.  Sneaky little pellets can crack a tooth--some leporine revenge!

Dad, as I wrote yesterday, left his shotgun and rifles in the closet.  The ammunition was in a box beside them.  This was an error in parenting.  And prudence (which, oddly, is my mother's name).

Chuck Connors--The Rifleman!
When our parents were gone, brother Dave and I would "look" at the firearms.  How heavy that 12-gauge was.  The 30.30 looked a lot like the Winchesters used for long-range mayhem by my TV cowboy heroes.  (One of our favorite shows around that time was The Rifleman, starring Chuck Connors.  He generally shot someone every week in his half-hour show that ran from 1958-63, basically my junior high and high school years.)

And once--when no one was home at all, except me and our dog Sooner---I loaded up that .22, sneaked outside, and took a potshot at a crow.  I missed; he cawed derisively.  I ran back inside, returned the weapon to its place, turned on the TV and tried to forget what I'd just done. I had horrible visions about that errant shot.  Where did it land?  What did it hit?

Dad eventually got rid of all of his guns.  And my youthful fascination with firearms later morphed into alarm at the consequences of their abuse.  And now I know what I should have known long ago--that two of the loudest sounds on earth are gunfire and a human scream.

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