Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 4th Installment


        I am thinking how glad I am that Vernon only talked to us in a long conversation if he was teaching; otherwise, he left us to our own devices to learn. He would often say, “If I only teach you knuckle heads how to succeed at life’s important lessons then I’ve done my job!” I believe this is the best relationship we could have had with him because he knew how to do everything, and because he wanted what’s best for us, he wanted us to know how to do everything. The demands of a farm and the outside work left little time for pleasantries. Conversation was for teaching!

       Sitting in the ditch, we waited for what seemed an eternity, thinking and pushing sand into piles with our feet. We both knew how this long walk home would play out. “He is going to be pissed off because I missed,” I lamented as I got up, kicked my sand pile, sending the dirt flying, only to have a swirling breeze blow it back on us.

       “You didn't miss!” Russ said blinking and rubbing his eyes as a little of the sand blew into his face.

       “Cripes, you know a wounded animal is the same as a missed shot in the Old Man's eyes,” I spoke wistfully. I was thinking about the time he had explained how we shouldn’t miss a shot, and if there was any reason we would miss a shot or even miss place a shot that wounds instead of killing, we should not take the attempt. “It’s cruel to wound an animal only because the hunter is inept,” Vern admonished as he schooled us about hunting and shooting. He expected perfection.

        “If I tell you how to shoot, how to breathe, how to control and hold the gun, how to aim, how to take the shot, then you’ll know how to hit your target,” he had explained more than once. “Practicing only hurts or scares you, wastes bullets, and we usually have damn few of them,” his voice raised. Then in a quieter tone but still firm he continued, “I know you dumb heads are only thirteen and fourteen years old, but if you’re going to shoot, you’re going to shoot my way, the right way. It just makes me sick watching the stupid fools from town pumping the hills full of lead and never hitting a damn thing.”

       “Let’s go, Kenneth,” Russell said teasing me with my given full name Kenneth – that's me, Ken for short, but everyone called me Casey after my initials. I nodded and handed him the gun as I scrambled out of the ditch. Russ handed the gun to me, rolled out of the ditch, stood up, and we were off. We trotted over to the antelope Russ had shot. We hauled it around and looked for where the 150 grain bullet went in and came out. He found the blood spot and put his finger in the entrance hole of

500 more words tomorow

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