Autumn

Autumn

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Remember

I still retain the weariness of my movements as I ambled the house well before sunrise - my gear and firearms packed and stacked and my impatience and the feel of loneliness the house gave with her out of state. I remember thinking, loose ends. Tie the loose ends. Don't forget a towel for the sweat.

I remembered to make a simple breakfast and then ate in silence and as I sipped my coffee I remember it was stupid of me to have locked the gun safe because now I remembered one more handgun to add to my list.

I had agreed to meet Senior at noon to help him mow the range, and now I remembered I'd had second thoughts to have set my departure so late in the morning. My skin crawled with the weariness of the wait. So I sat and once again penciled a list of items and chores. I remember it didn't help.

Then into the garage and to one of my work benches where I keep my gun gear and cleaning supplies and before long I've swiped several barrels and don't remember any of the process other than the wonderful scent of Hoppe's Number Nine, still my old standard.

Afterwards I remember I said, "The hell with it," and loaded the truck with my gear. The Coleman cooler tied securely in the bed, I drove for ice. The traffic was light and soon I remember placing two dollars into the slot and a nice bag of cold dropped. I poured the ice over my bottled water and three bottles of Gator Aid and the ice tea. Two store purchased turkey sandwiches were nestled into the cold and I remembered thinking - what a sorry lunch.

I knew it was far too early to head out, still, I was bored to tears. To kill time I topped off my trucks tank with expensive gas. Afterwards, I checked my watch for what seemed like the hundredth time then said, 'the hell with it,' and hit the road.

I remembered to keep my speed set to easy as the truck moved over the bridge and through the mist of massed humanity. Then out the other side and up onto the expressway and west. I remember thinking if a cop pulls me over he'll poop a brick when he takes a glance into the back seat.  Several hundred rounds of ammunition and several cased rifles and shotguns tends to make the average policeman reach around and tug his panties.

The drive was peaceful and about forty-five minutes later I was off the interstate and the truck moved along a black road enclosed in green. I remember the water filled ditches and the snow white egrets and the contrast of colors each species of tree lent the other and I remember I lowered the windows and allowed fresh country air to fill the cab and I remember how much I truly missed the smell of fragrant summer grass and acorn mast.

I remember when I reached the farm road I was unsure of the wet ground and traction so I flipped the key and sat in silence for a few moments. I remember, from the farm next door, the scream of goats, the heaviness of humidity, but most of all the horrid heat even so early of a morning. Our farm, my families, sits on the river and unfortunately is now all but abandoned. I remember the sadness of it as I sat and waited. How the farm is so ideally located butted as it is alongside state land. It is now only occupied by deer and coyotes. Turkeys and racoons. Skunks and shell casings. And, of course, memories and one lone horse.

I eased from the truck to test the wet ground and found it sufficient. It would carry the trucks weight. I drove slowly towards the range by easing between our Boar's Nest and the tack room. I parked close alongside the range shelter.

As I removed and placed my gear I remembered how we'd gathered last year to rebuild the shed after the one hundred year flood; how the ten feet of tannin stained water had moved over the land and tried its best to wipe clean the structure of the land.

I smiled at the memory of how we'd gathered and, without so much as a word, began to rebuild. I remember Duke dressed in his overalls and how he strained under the weight of two hundred pound crossties, and ShooterSteve's motor-mouth. I remember how PirateJim, our group medic, hovered, worried about injuries. Like a flash I remember Senior and his four wheeler as he buzzed about to move timbers and the quiet intense Gary as he studied solutions to difficult problems. I remembered it had been a fine day and now I once again stood beneath the result of our hard efforts.

I placed my gear and range bag on the board, and waited. I remember how I glanced down range and to find the river had risen close to the one hundred yard line. The dark water outlined an olive green Mayhaw bush now stripped by the deer. I remember my brother once mentioned he caught several deer standing on their rear legs to reach the tiny fruit.

I remember it wasn't long after when I was greeted by the sound of Gary's Jeep. He backed in and jumped out and I remember how much I'd missed his warm smile. I remember how he held my Colt Commander as we tried to sort a continued minor malfunction in its operation. I remember thinking the Colt should be dressed in a new set of elkhorn grips.

I remember when Senior arrived and then mowers and weed whackers and heat and fresh cut grass and sweat-soaked heavy shirts and towels and bottle after bottle of water gulped rapidly, the intense sun. Forty minutes later we're seated with towels wrapped around our necks. I remember it was about then Duke arrived and parked close behind my truck and soon we're all full of laughs.

I remember how Duke revealed his answer to the gun weenie problem, his newly painted orange flash suppressor. I remember we all agreed he'd found the answer to the left's fear of firearms - bright colors dispel fear.

Later, I remember the children's laughter, and my father seated with a quiet smile on his face as he watched Senior teach his little boys the art of rifle. I remember Senior's lovely wife, Glock Mom, seated to the left of my father, as they chatted while she kept a close watch over her two little boys.

Hours later I remember the sound of thunder and how the wind finally freshened and to the south of us the black clouds rolled and boiled and gave threat of rain. Senior and his family hugged and shook hands and then were gone. I remember thinking he and his family, those two little boys and their little rifles, are the future of this nation. 

Even as the storm clouds closed I remember those of us left continued to shoot. I remembered to practice my 'draw and twos,' fired a few rounds from my newly acquired thirty-eight special derringer then when we were down to three, Duke, Gary and yours truly, we sat and ate. I seem to remember we chatted for another hour but my memories of yesterday were tinted with a headache and the weariness of the heat.





And I remember this picture.

I remember how sweet the old classic Savage model 24 performed and how Duke asked if I'd be willing to fire a forty-five long Colt from its chamber...and I remember the nice thud the slug made on the metal target. I remember the nice explosion of Tannerite when I connected with a single round of five point five six. I then remember my father said, "That's enough, Son," him worried about the neighbors reactions. Even at my age I still replied with a 'Yes, Sir.'

Then, I remember the light rain. How we quietly packed and loaded our gear. I remember I followed close behind Duke on the long drive home and how we waved after we reached our separate turns. I remember the hot shower, afterwards.

And, I remember it was good - this freedom, yet.

Stephen








    








 

26 comments:

  1. Sounds like you did what you set out to do. The memories are nicely written. Thank you.

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    1. What a nice comment...thanks, Sweet Deb. Hear the thunder?

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  2. It sounds like you did what you needed to do. Your post started out sounding so lonely. Today we drove up through Dunnellon and took every country road we could find. I had my pistols, but we never made it to the gun range. There were too many old, ancient, "old Florida" homes to photograph and ancient trees that have been standing for 100's of years. Lucky for us, YOU had all the humidity.

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    1. Seems you had a nice day too. We do have some ancient oaks. One here in town stood as the Spaniards stepped ashore. Thanks, my sweet friend.

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  3. You are being more productive than I am this weekend. It's good to get out sometimes.

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    1. Yes it is nice to get out...you have it made with the gift of stepping outside your front door and firing downrange. Thanks, my good friend.

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  4. I remember that we must keep reminding others of what freedom is, and never let them forget how precious yet fragile it may be. And I remembered why I like reading your posts.

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    1. (Smiles) thank you so very much my friend...and you are of course correct..so many take these freedoms for granted.

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  5. Reading your posts is like being right there with you and the rest of your group. Your posts are well written. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You are more than welcome, Rob...thanks.

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  6. Stephen,

    Awesome post, it's a shame we all weren't there :-(

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    1. Isn't though. I'd enjoy a day on the range with you and your nice husband. Have a great night, Sweet Sandy and tell your husband I said hello. Sweet Wife, alas, is out of state and will not return until Monday late. I shall spend most of the night, awake. Unless the Lord gives me the grace of sleep.

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  7. Stephen, you are a born story teller. I may not always comment, but I do enjoy your posts.

    Steve

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    1. Thank you very much indeed, my good friend. I do appreciate it. As to comments, I understand. I must admit it's sometimes difficult for me to comment on others post when I'm unsure of its content. I do read all of the blogs on my sidebar. Again, thank you and have a good night.

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  8. That was a pleasant, well-written post.

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    1. Thank you very much my dear friend.

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  9. Replies
    1. It was, wasn't it. Maybe next month we can leave the towels and ceiling fans at home. Thanks, Bubba.

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  10. BTW, go ahead and tell 'em how safe you felt with the orange muzzle.

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    1. Well, I felt so safe I didn't cry when you presented your colorful toy on the bench....and, Senior didn't run away when you went, phew, phew.

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  11. Are you channeling your inner Brigid? Very well done, sir.

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    1. I wish. No, Brigid is in a class all her own. I'm not worthy to carry her water bucket. Writing is work for me. I must have complete silence and never outline...I either put the black letters to white in one complete rush or it doesn't happen. No breaks, just one solid rush of thought. Brigid on the other hand just glances at the keyboard and magic happens.
      Thanks, my friend, for the kind compliment.

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  12. Good for you!

    Sometimes I miss the old hunting camp with its range out back so bad I can taste it.

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    1. Hey, you've a lake in your backyard....sail across and set out a target. I'm sure the neighbors won't mind, at all....or, better yet, a floating target - like a buoy midway for smaller calibers. Just a thought. Thanks, my friend.

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