Mar 092015
 

Happy Monday!  So this weekend we went down to see my elderly Great-aunt.  We finally had the time without dialysis or Dr. Appointments to contend with.  All in all it was a great trip.

During the trip we all headed out to the boonies to do some target shooting.  A bit of explanation here.  As you probably know by now, I live in Utah.  I have since I was about 3 months old and my dad got out of the Navy and came home.

He was raised ina small coal mining town in eastern Utah called Dragerton, now East Carbon.  And it is in the desert.  Interesting thing: this is not the blowing sands and pyramids type desert, there are animals everywhere.  Sagebrush, juniper, cedar and a myriad of grasses cover the land.  It gets hot and dry in the day and can be downright cold at night.  It fits all definitions of a desert.  Not much rain being the big one.

It is also a place where dinosaurs once roamed.  There are still fossils they are finding in the area.  I have found chunks of dinosaur bone while we have been down there.  It was also right around the land where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to roam with the Wild Bunch.  Legend says there is still gold down there somewhere.  I havent found it yet.

Back when I was a kid, we would go down there 3-4 times per year to visit my aunt and my Great Grandparents who lived there.  We would go out hunting for rocks, or worm’s teeth (yes teeth from prehistoric worms, I have some and it was a professor who told my aunt and Father about them, 8-10 feet long at least and as big around as a car tire.  The ants bring them up from way underground.  You search through gravel and pick them out.) or just run the desert.

We would always go out shooting for practice and it was always a good time to get out with my father, grandfather and great grandfather and blow away cans or paper targets.  We would go out to the desert and shoot for hours, totally lost in the moment.  During all of those trips I learned how to shoot, how to handle the weapon, and how to interact with the surroundings.

I always liked doing something that my forefathers valued so much.  In the past 15 years or so, I haven’t had much of a chance to get out and go shooting.  I lost my Great-Grandfather in 2002 and my Grandfather in 2006.  My father is always busy and while we talk about going, it isn’t going to happen any time soon.  This is sad for my kids, because they really need to spend that time with their grandfather.  Besides he is a kick ass shot, that was all he did growing up.  Then they made him a sniper in the Navy because he was that good.

I once saw my dad try to hit a coyote from about 50 yards and he didn’t.  A while later he hit another coyote from the top of a ridge at over 500 yards.  I only aspire to be that good.  I have only told the story to my kids, I hope they get a chance to see it.

This weekend we did get out to go shooting, Me and my family. This turn I was the one in charge.  I was the instructor.  I was the safety master.  I had assumed a new role.  We had gone out to a remote place in the desert just like we used to.  We set up targets (those happy meal toys from McD are awesome to shoot.  They get a couple of good hits and explode.  Buzz Lightyear meets Mr. .22 slug and doesn’t fare well. ).  We shot and shot.

Part 2 is waiting right Here!

Jan 162015
 

head on back Here and read Part 1 of this story from yesterday if you haven’t already.

This weekend I taught my daughter 9 and my son who will be 7 in a week how to shoot.  They kind of knew about guns but had never handled one.  They mainly knew what they had seen on TV or in movies.  That of course is not necessarily  safe or correct.  **disclaimer here- Safety is my #1 priority when it comes to guns.  I once got knocked on my butt by my grandpa for turning around with my rifle (cradled and unloaded mind you, we just got out of the truck) and the muzzle passing within a foot of him.  Never forgot that.  Never lost track of a muzzle again either.**

Now, I needed to teach them safety but I didn’t want to be a Nazi about it.  Until I realized that I had to be a Nazi about it.  There was no getting around these rules.  There was no give to these rules.  That is why they were taught to me like that.  And you know, they seem to have taken just fine.  My son took them to heart and I only had to remind him a couple of times.  But I could not relax on the rules.

We went through the rest of the afternoon without a problem.  My son almost had it figured out.  He was almost hitting the targets at the end, but he was so tired he couldn’t hold the rifle anymore.  So of course I pulled out one of the big pistols and helped him shoot that.  I am not sure he could have smiled bigger without some sort of injury and the giggle that came from him was priceless.

I can only hope that I have done “it” right.  This is the first of many trips I am sure but I think this first one is one of the most important.  I’ll never forget the lessons I learned my first trip, and I hope he doesn’t forget his.

I also tried to teach my 9 year old daughter how to shoot.  She took a couple of shots and decided that it wasn’t for her.  I am fine with that.  Not because of some stupid notion that girls shouldn’t shoot, My aunt could shoot well, my Grandma was fantastic.  My sister could prune branches from a tree with a .357 Magnum when she was about 14.  My wife is pretty good as well, so that is not an issue.

My  daughter decided that it wasn’t something that she wanted to do.  She didn’t like the danger of it or what could happen.  Again, goal accomplished.  She may not be a shooter, but she knows how to handle a gun and she will be safe around them.  She told my wife and I later that she was afraid of the power that guns can have.

If you have read very many posts here you will remember that my wife is a trauma nurse in the ER.  She has all sorts of horror stories about people shooting each other.  Those have stuck with my daughter.  I respect that.  I won’t push her into something that she does not want a part of.  But, at any point, if she wants to learn more and shoot again, I am not going to be hesitant about it.

This was a great trip overall.  There is nothing quite as satisfying as sharing your passions with your kids.  Friends are one thing, but your kids are awesome.  I will never forget my son trying like hell to hit that bottle so it would explode.  I willnever forget his giggle at the boom and kick of the big gun.  I will never forget my daughter saying she was done and she was going to go hiking.

I will also never forget the nostalgia that I felt as I placed targets up on the trees.  There was a time I was walking back to our shooting “station” and I could almost feel my Dad and Grandpa there.  I would like to believe that my Grandpa, Great-Grandpa and my uncles who liked to shoot but have passed were there with us watching and smiling at me passing the traditions on to my son.

It was exciting but at the same time disheartening to take over my dad’s place as instructor.  Here I am, almost 36 years old and I am still growing up.  I am sure that there will be other episodes where I feel like that.  I just hope that I will do the right things when the time comes.

Until Next Time,

-Justin