So the big items in the news are: the JournoList losers colluding to call us racists while stifling coverage of actual racism; Shirley Sherrod, late of USDA who may or not be a racist and the righty outrage about the issue that may or may not be racist itself; and what's left of the racist New Black Panther voter intimidation case.
Racists here, racists there, racists, racists everywhere! SICK OF IT! So let's shift gears. I ain't got no funny right now so I'll go for sentimental...
When I was a kid, my family had membership in a club called Sportsman's Park. It was just past the edge of town and featured handgun, rifle, blackpowder, skeet and trap ranges. There was also a pond full of bluegill and trails everywhere. Along the trails there were plywood cutouts with pictures of deer, cougar, etc, that could be made to pop up and/or ride along ropes and pulleys. These trail areas were strictly for hikers and archery fans. I don't know much about artillery pieces, but there was something that seemed like a howitzer but instead of being towed around it appeared to be self-propelled. It was disabled and on static display, so we kiddies could climb on it and pretend we were blowing the bacheezus out of whatever imaginary bad guys
were on our minds. Of course there were also plenty of picnic tables and a pretty good playgound. It was little kid paradise.
Then one day my dad decided I was old enough to start learning how to shoot. I don't remember how old I was - probably around 7 - but I do remember the gun was an old Marlin Model 39 .22 with the octagonal barrel. For those who may not know what I'm talking about, picture an old cowboy-style lever action. After going through multiple iterations of the basic gunhandling rules with me, he had me start firing and I did quite well. The little lever could also handle .22 shorts. When (tediously) loading that tubular magazine, it seemed like it would hold an endless number of the little rounds. Then when shooting, that same magazine seemed to empty out in a heck of a hurry!
Not much later - I was 8, I think - dad bought me MY OWN GUN! Whooo! A Browning BL22 Grade II lever action. It was used but one wouldn't know it. It was in perfect shape. The Grade II models had engraved receivers and more brightly polished wood. It had similar function and layout as the Marlin so there was no real learning curve to deal with. Typically the family would head to Sportsman's Park right around dinnertime to avoid the crowds. I can't begin to guess how many rounds of I put through those little guns, but a brick of .22 never had much of a life expectancy around our house. Dad usually shot something more "consequential" while lil' bro and I used our .22s to put holes in the paper targets, pinecones, and whatever else was safe and available.
Of course part of shooting is the clean up. After every trip, we'd scatter a nice thick layer of newspapers over the livingroom carpet and start disassembling stuff right there on the floor. Maybe I'm weird, but I've always thought that gun cleaning solvent always had a nice smell to it. Cleaning rods and brushes and patches and dirty newspapers and the smell of gun cleaning solvent... Those were the days!