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Another story that I posted some years ago. This one was also published.

True story - enjoy.




Shot Shells

I started to hunt when I was about six. I had gone with my father often. I carried my BB gun for a couple of years.This year we had decided that I really need to learn how to hunt. So, I had just walked along. I had helped spot the squirrels, and told Dad when to shoot. Not a perfect situation for a ten year old boy who really wanted to hunt. The benefit was that I actually learned a good bit that season. So, on Christmas morning, at age ten, Santa brought me a brand new Revolution single shot .410. Oh boy, I got a gun and a box of shells. Dad was beaming and Mom was... well Mom was acting like any mother who just saw her ten year old, middle son get a shotgun.

The first decent day after Christmas off we went to test it out. We went to the farm up the road. Then to the farmers stone dump. There we found all the items we needed to see this gun work. We put some cans on a log that had been pushed up on the stone dump. I broke the action open, loaded up, pulled that hammer back, and took a good aim. The sun was shining off the sight. I had the can all lined up. All was right with my world.

Boom! The gun kicked like a mule. I was spun half around, and nearly dropped the gun. Then the realization of that slow radiating pain only the recoil of a gun can deliver. And to top it off I had missed! My world began to crumble.... and all this to the laughter of my two brothers.

Now my Dad was cool. He took the shotgun from me. Asked if I was ok. The answer received, he asked how I had sighted as he broke open the action and reloaded "that gun". He handed it back to me and said " do it again". I politely refused offering the opportunity to one of my loving brothers. Dad would have none of it. I took the instrument of the increasing pain in my shoulder.

Putting it to my shoulder, I was stopped by my Dad. I was instructed on the correct way to hold both the gun and my body. "Remember", he said, "everything is just like shooting the .22's. This just has more power". So I continued with the firing process. Hammer back, proper stance, firm grip, stock firm into the shoulder, squeeze the trigger.

Boom. I lived!!! It pushed me back, but I still had my stance and control of the gun. And to top it off, the world was minus on can. Of course my shoulder still hurt, but who cared. The rest of the box of shells was spent by "us boys", Dad included.

My next lesson in gun ownership came that evening. "Dad, I need more shells". "Well, do you have any money", he asked. I answered just as quick as any ten year old would in such a important conversation, "nope". "Better earn some then" he said as he flipped the newspaper back into view.

I was awe struck. I had this dandy .410 already to go and no shells. My father, who had the superior forethought to get me the gun in the first place wasn't buying me shells for it. "He's just joking", I thought. "Dad", the paper came down and he looked at me. "No really", I started. The look stopped me cold. It wasn't a mean look, Dad wasn't a mean guy. It was the look of... enough.

It was then at the age of ten that I got my life's lesson. "Son", he said, "If you are old enough to own a shot gun, your old enough to buy the shells for it". He continued, "And as you get older, you'll get a car, a girlfriend, your own place to live. If you want these things, you have to be able to earn them. You wanted a shotgun, you have one. You want to hunt, you bought your license. You want to hunt with your shotgun... you need to buy the shells". The paper went back up. I turned and slowly made my way to the kitchen and possible salvation.

"Mom". My dear, loving, and potential shell buying mother turned to me. "I need some shells for my shotgun", I stated. She just looked at me for a second then calmly said,"Go see your father. I don't know anything about that stuff". I tried to explain all about the correct purchase procedure of the required shot shells. I even offered to tear the top off my very first box of shells. The very box holding the hulls first fired from my shotgun. She would have none of it.

I retired to my room and stewed in my despair. I fell asleep but sleep was fleeting as my shotgun called to me. Although not in a booming voice.

I awoke about in the same mood. Being the weekend, I got ready and went up to the neighbors farm. Glen, or Mr. Glen as I called him at that age was working in the barn. Of all things he could ask, he asked, "Why aren't you out hunting with that new shotgun"? I explained my lot in life to him. He just smiled and went back to work. As always, I just pitched in doing whatever he was working on. It had always been that way. Even when I was very little. I helped where and when I could. I just like being around on that farm. .

That day we went and cut wood for his workshop wood stove. That involved getting the tractor and wagon and going to his woodlot. It was January, and cold. But we worked the rest of the morning and into the late afternoon getting the wood and stacking it in the shed. As darkness fell and the last of the wood was stacked he turned to me. He extended his hand to me. This had never happened before.I took his hand and we shook hands. Then he reached in his pocket and handed me five dollars. He told me, "You worked pretty hard today. Here's five dollars. I can't do it all the time, but you need it and you did earn it". I thanked him and ran all the way home.

Now in the early seventies things were a bit different. Things were local. The closest town was about 25 minutes away. On a Saturday evening, any respectable store carrying .410 shot shells was going to be closed till Monday. No Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or anything else around or thought of. That is except the little grocery store a couple miles away. Dad knew they sold some ammo but didn't know what they had. So after dinner off we went.

We arrived at just about closing. I stepped to the counter and looked at the shelf behind the register. They had .22, 12 gauge in a variety of shot sizes and some larger rifle ammo. No .410 shells. We returned home with only a half gallon of milk. I was depressed again and hardly noticed the corner of that paper carton digging into my leg.

I had to wait until Wednesday evening to get my shells. We drove to the hardware store in town. We entered the store and the smells and sounds of the store greeted us. That aroma of oil, steel, fertilizer, and everything else, that only can be produced by putting it all together in a confined area. The wood floor creaked as we made our way to the sporting goods section. There they were! All the way down on the bottom. Remington .410 shot shells. Six shot, perfect. I got a box, wiped the dust off the top and proceeded to the register.

Mr. Hurley was working tonight. Dad always mentioned, each and every time we went , that Mr. Hurley worked there when he was a kid. He looked at me and asked,"That all for you tonight"? "Yes sir", I replied as I dug into my pocket for that precious five dollar bill. He rang up the shells. It took all but a couple of cents of that five dollar bill. But I walked out into the cold January night one step closer to being a hunter.
 

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Both great stories, Blue

Thanks for sharing them!
 

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Bluetick,

Nice Read!

How many kids now adays do work for stuff they want??

I remember in the 70s, dragging a little wagon around the neighborhood and getting soda bottles from the older neighbors to get money, they always saved them for me...

Then it went to saving newspapers and cardboard to take to the Junk Yard to be Recylced and then the old tin and aluminum cans and the usual mowing grass for the old neighbors in the summer and shoveling snow for them in the winter..


When I tell young kids about this today, they stick their noses up at it...to easy to get Mom and Dad to hand them the money!


Not trying to hijack your story...
I wanted back in the mid 70s to have Show Rabbits to be able to be in the County 4-H Rabbit Club... Both My Mom and Dad told me if I wanted them I'd have to work to feed them...Alumunum cans, tin cans, news papers, casrdboard and furs from the trap line bought the feed for them!

Sad to see kids now a days will not even try to do something like you did or what I had to do!!
 
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