Hubby #1 was a gun nut before he was a Buddhist (which was before he was a teacher of Non-Duality…which is a very cool thing to be). During our courtship (and for a while after we were married) he was interested in survivalism and was convinced that the end was near. We had an extra bedroom filled with bottled water, a food mill, ‘C rations’, canned food, with a few gas masks and a bunch of guns thrown in. To make sure we were good and ready for the apocalypse, we used to go target shooting. I’d never been around guns before, but it was something he was really good at, so I went along with it. (After all, I wanted to do my part in our eminent Post Apocalyptic world!)
Early on, our shooting was all done at my father in law’s ‘farm’. It was just a few acres on a beautiful piece of property (with a murky pond), but it was out in the country and no one cared if you fired guns. We would set up soda cans or milk jugs or anything else we could find, and he taught me to shoot a rifle. It turned out that I was a pretty decent shot, once I got over being afraid of the gun itself. #1 was a good teacher…I learned to never aim at anyone, to respect my weapon, and to always assume that any gun is loaded. As you can tell from this picture, I was pretty darn comfy with a gun in my hand…and some mom jeans on my butt.
A few years later my mother was planning to move to another town for work, and she expressed an interest in owning a handgun for self-protection. By then, #1 and I had cleared out all our rations and filled up our spare room with comic books, and we had moved our shooting into an indoor range. And so it was that #1 took his budding Annie Oakley-in-law and her progeny to learn to shoot ‘real’ guns.
#1 gave his “Respect the gun” speech, and then he shot the heck out of some paper targets for us. He was damn impressive and had great aim…just like those guys in the police shooting ranges on TV. After showing off for a while he handed me a ‘girly’ .22. It took me a minute to get past the idea of the firepower being in my hand, but I got used to it pretty quickly. After I made a few shots my husband decided that I should try something with a little more power (I’m pretty sure the word Magnum was used). On my first shot I somehow managed to have a finger in exactly the wrong spot, and I screamed as my hand got pinched…I was sure that I’d managed to shoot myself in the hand! Of course, no real damage was done, but it took me a little while to get brave enough to try again. I was no Dirty Harry, but I finally got the hang of it…at least enough to not go into shock if I needed to actually use a gun for some reason.
Then it was Mama’s turn. At first she stepped back as if to flee, but we calmed her down and she finally allowed #1 to put a .22 revolver in her hands. She was shaking pretty badly, so he gave her a few minutes to get the feel of it. He eventually showed her how to click the safety off, and after a few deep breaths she finally put her finger on the trigger and pointed her body toward the target.
It was at that point that some apparently vital question came into Mama’s head…so important that she just had to ask it right then. She swung around…the gun going with her…and before we knew what was happening she was pointing that gun right at #1!
He froze…a look of stark terror in his eyes. I could almost hear him thinking, “DAMN…has Tammy’s mom been planning to take me out all along?!?”
Then I heard his real voice…low and comforting, “Now Mama…turn the gun away from me please…and don’t move your finger…”
Mama’s eyes got as big as headlights as she realized that she had her son-in-law in her sights! She quickly turned and almost dropped the gun from her hands. It all happened so fast that I don’t even know exactly how he did it, but within a few seconds #1 had the gun safely in his own shaking hand, and Mama looked like someone who had just had a cannon pointed at HER.
I don’t remember much that happened after that. Did Mama ever shoot the gun? Did she end up going to her new town armed and dangerous…and what was that oh-so-vital question? I’m pretty sure the question was something like, “Am I doin’ it righhhht?” but as for the others, I wish I could tell you. I honestly have no clue…the vision of my mama with a gun in her hand seems to have obliterated anything else from my mind. I’m pretty sure #1 feels the same way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he still has nightmares about my 4’11” gun-totin’ Mama drawing down on him with a raspy, “Do y’all feel lucky…well, do y’all?”