Friday, September 24, 2010


   Hello again. Thought I'd regale you all with another story about my boring, uneventful childhood. Here goes.
   I was probably about ten years old, it was summer-time up if Fairbanks, or as I fondly call it, Square-banks, and I was playing with my cheepo bow and arrow set. I had asked for a BB gun to no avail, can't figure out why...
   Anyways, there I was, shooting arrows at a tree in my yard from my 15 pound-draw bow, wishing that I was Rambo, when it suddenly accrued to me that I could make exploding arrows if I only tried. Being the resourceful little fella that I was, I went into our basement to my dad's bullet reloading room. He was a huge time hunter in the 80's so he had lots of bullets and casings and gunpowder all over the place. Not that he ever left his stuff unlocked though, I just happened to know where he kept the key for the door. So there I was, in a room filled with all kinds of 'candy' I figured that the bigger the bullet, the bigger the bang, so I grabbed a handful of rifle ammo as well as some shot-gun shells.
   I understood the basics of ammunition and hot to shoot because my dad had taken me out shooting the summer before. I was shooting an old survival 22-20 over-under breakdown rifle. The 22 referring to the caliber of the top barrel and the 20 referring to the gauge of the lower barrel. I was mostly shooting the .22 caliber rounds that day, the 20 gauge shotgun shell that I shot at the end of the day comes back to explain something later in the story.
   So I had the arrows and the 'explosive tips' and all I needed now was a way to hold them both together. Duct tape. I attached a rifle round to the end of my arrow so that the primer, or thingy that the firing pin in a gun hits to ignite the powder in the bullet, was centered with the pointy tip of the arrow. After many failures and alterations to my design, I decided to use the 12 gauge shotgun shells instead.
   Still in the side-yard by my house, I thought that it would be prudent of me to continue my 'experiments' elsewhere. I went down the street, away from prying eyes, to the seldom used u-shaped road that connected my street to the street a few blocks away. I found a sizable birch tree ten feet away to test my improved arrow on, drew the string of my bow back and just then, a little, quiet voice said, "Remember the kick."
   The rest of the story about me shooting with my dad for the first time comes back into play here. It was getting kinda dark, meaning that it was actually very late, and I wanted to shoot the 20 gauge portion of the rifle I had been shooting all day. For those of you who have never fired a .22 caliber gun, there is no kick-back into the shoulder, which is why kids love to shoot it. A 20 gauge shell, though smaller than it's more popular big brother the 12 gauge, kicks a lot. A hell of a lot for a scrawny ten year old. So my dad finally relents to my request and decides at that time to teach me one of many of his 'Life Lessons' When I asked him if it was going to kick, he did not lie, he said that it was gonna kick a lot. However, he then instructed me to hold the butt, or the end of the rifle that is supposed to be tucked into your shoulder, about two inches away from my skin-and-bone shoulder. Now, I'm no genius, and I almost never listen, let alone remember what my dad tells me, but I did recall that the butt of the rifle is supposed to be held firm against your shoulder even if I didn't know the reason why. I voiced my concern to him and he replied that due to the power of the kick, the extra distance between my shoulder and the butt would lessen the impact. Oh, sure.    
   I aimed at a can about fifteen feet away and pulled the trigger. BLAM. The rifle slams into my shoulder and I immediately lose all control of my right arm. The gun barrel is now dragging in the dirt as I fight back the waves of pain radiating down my arm. My dad is yelling at me to get the barrel out of the dirt and I reply that I can't because my arm is broken. I did manage to hit the can, as my dad so fondly pointed out to me as he laughed and removed the rifle from my now tingling fingers.
   That was how I found out about the kick. So I released the tension on my bowstring and stepped a few more feet back. I wanted to be far enough back that the recoil of the shotgun shell wouldn't send shrapnel flying back into my face. I figured that I was far enough back and fired at the tree. Well, I missed the tree and effed up my arrow. Having only one exploding arrow left, I decided to shoot it straight up into the air so that it came down on the seldom used street that I was standing on. So that's exactly what I did. After I fired the arrow, I ran to take cover near a culvert twenty feet away. As I lay waiting for the impact, my ears heard the familiar crunch of gravel under a cars tire. Shit, there was a car rounding the corner and it just so happened to be a military police cruiser. Double shit. As the arrow got closer to the ground, the cop car came closer to where the arrow was going to hit. Triple shit. The arrow came down and exploded about five or six feet in front of the cop car. There was nothing but a hole in the asphalt and a few errant fragments of my wooden arrow. The cop slammed on his brakes and jumped our of his car with his hand on his gun. He looked around quickly with the most surprised look on his face before jumping back into his cruiser and speeding away with the lights on.
   Thankful that I hadn't been caught, I decided to high-tail it home. As I strolled up our driveway, bow in hand, my dad was standing there with a look on his face that said, "I just got done talking to a cop." Fudge.
(I never said the F word until later on in life). Needless to say, my dad knew that I was responsible for whatever had scared the hell out of that cop, even though he wasn't sure how.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In the beginning

     I was born in the mid 70's to a strict military father and a very understanding mother. At the time of my entrance into this world, I had three older sisters, each of whom had a unique way of treating me during my childhood. Five years later, I had two younger brothers, the first of which was only two years younger than I, and it is with my first brother that I shared countless adventures and misfortunes with. This blog will delve into my past experiences and "life-lessons," all of which are either humorous or enlightening, depending upon how you, as the reader, perceives them. There will not be any real order to my stories due to the fact that I often will begin one recollection and find myself reliving a different event entirely. Chock it up to A.D.D. I suppose. ooh, a chicken! Now, if you were anything like I was growing up, you will be able to identify with most of my memories... if you were, on the other hand, a delight to both your parents and teachers, then you will most likely just shake your head upon reading further and wonder why I was allowed to continue in my private world of mischief.
     Its hard to think back to the earliest occasion in which my mental stability was questioned, but I do remember one time when I was living in Fairbanks, AK... It was probably during the month of December, I was about six years old and remember playing outside in front of my house on the Air Force base. I had my first brother with me and two or three other friends from the other side of Base, (none of the kids in my neighborhood were allowed to play with me, according to their mothers anyway) We were "playing in traffic" as my dad had so often told us to do. The snow removal guys had made this huge berm down the middle of the road so that the snow-thrower truck could shoot it into the back of waiting dump-trucks or, if there were woods on the one side of the street, he could just shoot all the snow into them.
     The workers were either on lunch or a union break, either way, they weren't around. So we decided to utilize the berm and proceeded to hollow out spots in it to hide in, kinda like snow-forts. We played for a while until one of the dump-truck drivers came back and told us to clear out because the snow-thrower was coming and that we might get sucked in, chewed up, and shot out into the woods in a spray of pink mess. He grinned at our shocked silence and drove away.
     Instead of heeding the mans warning, I decided that it would be funny to let the snow-thrower driver think that he had indeed sucked one of us into his machine. I took off my hat and threw it into one of the holes we had dug and persuaded my friends to contribute other items of clothing, my brother donated one of his "moon-boots" to our cause. We also buried one of our 'cheepo' plastic sleds, but we needed something more, something that would make a "spray of pink mess" I went into my house to ask my mom if she had any red food coloring, she answered, never turning her attention away from the dirty dishes in the sink, that she only had a small bottle and that I couldn't have it. She did, however, direct my attention to the garage which might contain some paint.
     Now, some of you might be wondering why my mom never thought to inquire as to the reason for my strange request, and I would have to venture the guess that, it wasn't that she didn't care what I was up too, it was that she knew that I was always careful and had a good reason for asking about such things.
     Back to the garage. I searched all sorts and manner of containers and finally came upon a few plastic jugs with the letters ATF on the label. ATF, in this case did not stand for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, but automatic transmission fluid. In any case, it was red and there was enough for me to complete my joke. I brought it out of the garage and buried it with the sled and clothing. We all sat down on the curb ten feet away and waited. The familiar sound of the big commercial diesel truck caught our attention as we all turned our heads in unison to see the approaching snow-thrower. The driver noticed us all watching intently and smiled as he gave a short blast of his air-horn. We smiled and waved back at the driver just as he overtook our little sled and it was sucked into the blades, along with the ATF and clothing. The sound the sled made as it was churned up and spat out of the shoot made was distinct enough that it directed the drivers attention to the snow coming out of the shoot just as the ATF turned most of the snow pink. He quickly shut down his truck and jumped out, thinking that he had just run over some unlucky kid. At first, we laughed so hard that we had tears in our eyes that quickly froze to our eye lashes. The driver, obviously still in shock, had no idea what to make of the situation. He had just stood there looking into the woods across the street. Upon seeing this, my friends took off to their prospective houses, leaving me and my brother there to explain our "joke" to the driver. We didn't get the chance to explain anything due to the fact that my dad had just turned the corner and was driving home from work. I immediately ran off into the woods across the street with my brother close behind and one boot short.
     I can only imagine what my dad told the driver of the snow-thrower, or if the man ever recovered from the incident, I do remember coming home later, sending my brother in before me, to my dad and his belt... everything gets a little blurry after that. That is what I fondly recall, The snow plow incident.