Friday, July 24
“Let’s go hunting Dad”. He meant skeet shooting, but his enthusiasm was contagious. Close to a week earlier, I had mentioned that I wanted to shoot a couple of rounds of skeet on Father’s Day, and my son jumped at the chance to ask to join and thrilled when I agreed to it. Getting the gear ready on Father’s Day, I went over the Three Commandments of Firearm Safety: Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction; Assume a firearm is loaded and always check the action; Be sure of your target and what’s behind it and never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy. With yellow shooting glasses, earmuffs and a huge grin he hopped in the truck and we drove to “go hunting” Ten minutes later, we pulled up to the Talbot Rod and Gun Club. A well organized club, the skeet and trap fields are well maintained. I have always found helpful advice, seasoned shooters and gentlemen who go out of their way to make sure you are safe and enjoying the sport. Walking in the clubhouse, a club member remembering my first name, offered salutation and asked if my young sidekick was shooting today. “No”, I replied, “he is just learning today”. “Can he pull for you?, the gentleman inquired. Good question, I thought. I knew he could, but it would keep him from getting immersed in the method and dynamics of skeet. He would be an observer, I offered. As the three of use walked to the skeet field and I thanked the gentlemen for pulling, I could see my young observer taking in all the sounds and motion of the fields. As attentive my focus was on the clays, my son’s was on the action of the field. He would ask insightful questions between stations and was eager to watch trap after my rounds concluded. For all the time I spend reading and researching the shooting sports, I find it rewarding to pass that information to a curious interested observer. It is tough to properly describe how it feels to crush a clay, when all parts of the action (swing, follow through, etc.) are in sync. By taking part, he can begin to understand that exhilaration. I am overjoyed to have him join me when he can. Next time, I think he can pull. I know he will jump at the chance.