Gut Rumbles

November 12, 2003


I believe that I was eight years old when my grandfather took me to the dump for the first time. He liked to pick through the trash to find things that he could fix and sell, but it was a great place to shoot a .22 rifle.

We got out of his truck that day and he handed me a single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle and 50 rounds in a cardboard box. "You go shoot," he said. "Just don't you shoot at me."

I plugged beer cans, a few rats and everything else I saw worth firing at down on the side of the dump. I was shooting up a storm. My grandfather finally came up behind me and asked, "Are you doing any good?" I showed him the three dead rats and the beer cans and all the rest of my targets I'd been shooting. He said, "That's not bad, but I want you to show me that you can REALLY shoot. Is that gun loaded right now?"

"No, Papaw. I just shot that beer can. It's empty."

"Pull the lever back and let me see." I did, and he told me not to load it again until he said so. He had three light bulbs in his overall pockets and he walked down to the edge of the borrow-pit and threw them as far out into the water as he could. Then, he walked back up the bank and sat down next to me. "How many bullets do you have left?" he asked.

"Papaw, I probably have at least 15 left," I replied.

"Take three and shoot those light bulbs."

I put one in the rifle and threw the bolt closed. A light bulb in the water doesn't make a big target, but I sighted on the closest one and hit it. Kaboom! and a big splash. "I got it Papaw!" I exclaimed. Boy, I was proud of myself.

"You've got two more to go," he said.

I took two more bullets and shot both of the other two light bulbs without a miss. I still remember the smell of gunsmoke and tobacco as I sat with my grandfather that day. He wasn't big on praising anybody, but he told me that "I wasn't half-bad" with that rifle. I knew what kind of flattery that was coming from him. I strutted like a Tall Dog back to the truck when he was ready to leave.

"When we get back home, you clean that rifle, you hear me? I'll tell you what to do. If you take care of it, I might let you shoot it again"

"I will, Papaw. I want to shoot it again."

I shot that rifle many times after that day. I learnd to clean it and take care of it. But I never forgot that first time and those three light bulbs floating in the water.

I was three for three, while my grandfather was watching.


Today, that'd be considered child abuse.

Posted by: Kevin Baker on November 12, 2003 08:36 PM

I was only about 12, but I remember the time when my father took us out into the Georgia woods where he was going to get in some target practice before his annual qualification round. He let me shoot his handgun, one time. Still remember the kick back. Damn, that hurt. Then he taught us how to shoot his 22 rifle. Now, that one I liked. I still like to target shoot.

Posted by: Ms Anna on November 12, 2003 08:50 PM

Oh, my gosh, Acidman, I screwed up that comment big time, tried to use html. I am so sorry, please delete it or fix it!

Posted by: Beth Donovan on November 13, 2003 05:55 AM

More flaming bullshit from a troll.

Posted by: Anna on November 13, 2003 07:38 AM

Anna, I am not Beth the troll, honest. I tried to put a hyperlink in the comments, and everythng was taken out of context. I have never been a troll to anyone. Why would I ask him to delete or fix it if I was a troll?
Please, just because of a coincedence of having the same first name, does not make me a troll.

If I was a troll, would my url be here? Acidman has my honest email address, because I always put my full name and true email address on any comments I make.
I made an error. I wish I could should you the entire comment, but because I had < or > in the wrong place, the wrong stuff showed up without the right stuff.

Posted by: Beth Donovan on November 13, 2003 08:33 AM

Beth D. I was refering to another post by someone else.

Posted by: Anna on November 13, 2003 09:05 AM

Seems Georgia granddads are a lot alike. Mine would take me to the dump near Augusta's Bush Field and the Savannah River Lock and Dam to shoot cans and rats. We'd go in his gray Plymouth station wagon with the big sailing ship logo on the dash. He'd be chomping on his Beech-Nut chewing tobacco, which I can still smell. On the way we'd always stop for a Nehi and a pack of Nabs.

Posted by: rivlax on November 13, 2003 10:39 AM

I'll bet you still have that rifle, too. If you don't, your brother does.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on November 13, 2003 11:09 AM

My uncle Virgil has that rifle today.

Posted by: Acidman on November 14, 2003 09:52 AM
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