By Grant McGee
I was kicking back in Elida with my good friend Kent, bard of the Pecos. We were having iced tea, talking about his return to this small outpost of Roosevelt County. During a lull in the conversation, my mind wandered to the rifle by the door.
There weren’t any firearms in my parents’ home. I don’t know why, I didn’t ask.
Shotguns were always around when I went camping in the Boy Scouts, though. One of the guys in the troop, Woody, seemed to always have a shotgun of one type or another. One night inside the troop’s big log cabin, Woody produced his 20-gauge. While I sat nearby, Scoutmaster Phil and Woody proceeded to get into a terse discussion about whether or not the weapon’s safety was on.
“Sure it’s on,” Woody said.
Suddenly there was this loud bang and little pinging noises all over the place. The shotgun had gone off. The cabin had a new little skylight about 4 inches across. Shotgun pellets were scattered everywhere.
In high school I was invited on a dove hunt with my friend Monty. I arrived at his house unaware that he and my buddy Catfish had had a few of Monty’s parents’ adult beverages.
Off we went on our merry hunt. Suddenly a covey of quail took to the sky. Catfish was behind me. There was an explosion in my right ear. Catfish had fired on the quail, the muzzle of his shotgun just inches from my right ear. I had trouble hearing out of that ear for days.
In my late 20s I decided it was time to have a pistol. I went to a gun shop and bought a classic .22.
I took it camping. I would take it out and look at it and wonder where I was going to shoot it. I found an embankment deep in the woods away from the campground. I fired a few rounds, knocked off a few pine cones. Then I sat there, wondering why I had this thing.
I took the pistol to the gun shop where the owner bought it back.
I lived in a remote place one time so I bought an air pistol.
“What good will that do you against a burglar?” a friend asked.
“I figure if I shoot the guy with a pellet gun it will hurt and he’ll run away.”
“That’ll just make the guy mad.”
Now, I do like the way a friend handled an intruder in the Hondo Valley (west of Roswell). They were awakened by the sound of someone in the ranch house. My friend grabbed their shotgun and went out in the hall where they stood face to face with the burglar.
“You see what I got here,” my friend said, “If you turn around and leave now we can both forget this happened.”
The intruder turned and ran.
I suppose there are all kinds of reasons to have a pistol, rifle or shotgun. But aside from the safety questions, you have to take care of them, with cleaning and oiling and such and I’m kinda lazy.
Then, too, I remember the lyrics from a Waylon Jennings song, “The Devil’s Right Hand.” The guy in the song gets his first pistol and discovers, “It’ll get you into trouble but it can’t get you out.”
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org