A prequel to #655: Guns, Guns, Guns
GETTING MORE TALE #831: Gone Shootin’ (The Lighter Side Of…)
Have you ever discharged a firearm in your own back yard, in a suburban setting? My dad has!
We were different from other families on the street. I didn’t see any guns in their basements. We had them though, rifles that were locked up in my dad’s gun rack. Ammunition safely hidden in another room. We looked forward to the winter, when we’d bring them to the cottage and fire then off over Lake Huron. The hot shell casings would eject and bury themselves in the snow, only to be found the following summer in the sand beneath. Then Dad and I would hammer them into our “sitting log”, little mementos of our winter fun. I secretly hoped the shell casings would freak out the average beach goer.
My dad had a breach-loaded Martini-Henry rifle that saw action in the Zulu wars of the late 19th century. That thing could kick. It would take your shoulder off if not careful. My dad later acquired the missing bayonet for it. Holding it was like holding history in your hands. Lives were lost to its muzzle. Once added to my dad’s collection, apple juice tins were its only victims.
Those were the good times. I do remember one bad time!
I would have been about 10 or 11 years old. I had a pet guinea pig that I named Fred. We weren’t allowed to have many pets when we were kids. My dad didn’t like a mess. But I got Fred, and he lived in a cage in our little basement. That is, until he got sick and stopped eating.
When it was clear that Fred was a goner, my dad did what had to be done, even though I was crying. He took his rifle and the guinea pig into the back yard. I watched from the kitchen window as he raised his gun and aimed towards the ground.
You could hear the crack of the rifle, and the echo of the boom in the air. Fred was buried in the back yard.
I wonder what would happen if you discharged a rifle in your back yard today? Back then (1983), nothing!
A few years later (1986), we had a couple weeks in September that were plagued by prank doorbell-ringers. A hobby I would take up myself the following year. (See: Getting More Tale #548: Bad Boys.) “Nicky Nicky Nine Door” was the name of the game, but my dad wasn’t amused when it happened to us. It was almost nightly.
After a few weeks of this my dad decided to end the pranks in his own special way. He had a starting pistol – a non-firing gun that looked and sounded like it was discharging live ammunition. It could only shoot blanks, but the crack of the fire and smoke from the barrel sure were convincing. So one night when the doorbell rang, my dad ran upstairs to get the starting pistol. He then bolted out the front door, firing the gun in every direction.
Let me tell you, we were never pranked again.
Guns aren’t all bad. You can use them to scare bad kids and put your own pets to sleep! Although I certainly wouldn’t advise it in this day and age.