It’s pathetic because I dangle from the branches of a family tree bounteous with heavyweight hunters on both sides.
My mom’s father is still a deadeye shot at age 91. In fact, he’s been graciously retired (banned) from his church’s annual skeet shoot because he’s skunked everybody for decades and the other guys’ egos can’t handle getting schooled by a geezer anymore.
My dad grew up in the bush among a band of rugged brothers who lived by the slogan, “Venison. It’s What’s for Dinner,” until some other menial meat poached and modified it for commercial purposes. But Dad diluted the venery family bloodlines when he produced a gaggle of daughters in suburbia. Mom allowed him some tomboy parenting leeway with us as far as camping, fishing, skiing and sports, but she put the kibosh on girls with guns.
I did tag along on a few hunting trips for fun though.
There was the one at age fourteen where a friend and I taught ourselves how to drive on back roads near camp while our dads were off chasing Bambies. There was the time in college when some hot guys knocked on my apartment door and invited me to go rabbit hunting with them.
I blame my father for my excited and naive acceptance to “brush” for them on the hunt. Dad could have at least taught me some lingo.
His neglect is how I ended up in Cache Valley’s outback holding dead rabbits in both hands while pushing through dense native shrubbery to spook varmints out into the open. The hot guys did teach me how to shoot with a .22 rifle, which was pretty fun and made me hate them less afterward.
Since then, my only other shooting experience was at a church activity women’s skeet shoot a few years ago where I hardly made a showing like Grandpa. Of course, my turn was right after some sharpshooter chick whose mad skills enticed the guy assigned to help our group to ask if she was single. She said she wasn’t and he said her husband was one lucky guy. When I finished shooting he asked if I knew how to brush.
These meager hunting/shooting experiences hardly prepared me for an afternoon at a state-of-the art shooting range in Oklahoma this week.
We were there on business, which included some friendly target shooting with Okie colleagues and clients. My cowboy hubby grew up hunting so he would represent well, but I had no idea what bearing this activity had on the business transaction. Was this a test of our western authenticity? I did wear boots and plaid, but they’d see right through me as soon as I began shooting.
But I shot, and as I shot—very poorly—I decided to sing.
Since my father didn’t teach me to shoot, I relied on the teachings of my pacifist musical mother who taught me show tunes. Luckily, there’s one specific to a very proud state, “Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain!”
No, I can’t hit a target, but I can hit a target audience.