Monday, December 27, 2010
Mama's Lil' Sharp Shooters
These photos are the ones that I will treasure when I'm older, when my kids are grown up and my own Daddy may be too frail to still be shooting bull's-eyes with incredible accuracy. When I look at them, even right now, my heart feels all warm and fuzzy. And I'm a Democrat from a blue state, so that's saying something big.
This is my youngest daughter, with her Grandpa, shooting a rifle for the first time. She is so small, she had to stand up on a wooden box to reach. (Like I said to my sister, "Only in Texas do they offer a booster for shooting...")
My dad, who wasn't born a Texan "but got here as soon as I could," gave the girls a safety lesson before we left the house -- he said they wouldn't focus as well on the range, and he wanted to be clear about what was expected from them so that everyone had a safe, fun time. Not only did the girls keep their attenuators (the headphones that muffle high-pitched sounds) on, they didn't fuss about the yellow goggles we had to wear. And they started to realize that shooting guns isn't just about mean people or gangland drive-bys, but can also be a sport of skill and accuracy.
But best of all, they were AWESOME. Emme shot 12 of 20 targets, still clicking the trigger with her finger after she'd run out of bullets. On the first try. Nina shot her first bullet about 1/2" off the bull's-eye. Marlowe stepped up onto her booster like a pro and listened to her Grandpa and gave it her best try. The accuracy will come, but the courage to try something new is in her heart. On the video I took, you can hear my dad turn to me and say, "You'd'a never done that at her age."
And that's who I still am. My dad loaded up a Civil War rifle for me, first adding the gun powder, then a piece of pillow ticking, then a huge 50 cal. bullet, then some real black powder onto the striking plate, which a piece of flint rock would strike to start the fire that would roar through the barrel to fire up the powder and send the bullet toward the target. (Can you believe that we fought a war in which all of these things would have to take place before a gun could be fired? No wonder so many died in the Civil War.) There are two triggers: the first sort of takes the "safety" off and the second is the "real" one. There's smoke and there's a loud boom. When my dad did it, he turned to me and said, "You next?"
I said yeah, but when I stood there with this machine in my hands, I got really nervous and ended up letting my sister have a go at it. See what I mean? My girls have Texas in their blood. Guts and glory. Mama's so proud.