My grandson squinted down the barrel, his right eye on the sight. I watched him squeeze the trigger, but he couldn’t get it right.
He’d missed the target by a mile. I’m sure I heard him curse. I said, “It’s time to take a break.” Things couldn’t get much worse.
I poured two mugs of Country Time. That sure brought on a smile. Then said, “I’ve got a story, if you’ll listen for a while.”
I told him back when I was young, I’d say ‘bout twelve or so, I couldn’t hit the target. Didn’t want a soul to know.
But my cousin Jerry knew that I was still a bit gun shy. He’d learned to shoot a rifle even with an injured eye.
A tight door spring had given way and stuck right in his eye. So he learned to shoot left-handed. He was one determined guy.
He told me, “You will learn to shoot but practice paves the way. And each time you hit the bull’s-eye, buy a Snickers bar that day.”
That summer we were camping at a local Scout event. The rifle range came open. Jerry dragged me from my tent.
The rifle range attendant said, “Each Scout will get ten shots.” I was looking for escape. I think I said, “I’ve got the trots.”
Jerry grinned, then gave a nod, I fired my first round. The attendant hollered, “Bull’s-eye!” I could’ve sworn I hit the ground.
And then the lone attendant barked, “Reload and fire at will!” I emptied out the chamber, never felt a bigger thrill!
The attendant raised my target. Hollered, “Bull’s-eye twelve of ten?” He looked a might confused while counting fingers once again.
‘Twas obvious the bull’s-eyes came from Jerry down the line. But twelve of ten could only mean that two of them were mine.
That day I soon discovered with some practice I could shoot. But gained the self-esteem from cousin Jerry, who gave a hoot.
Nearly sixty years have come and gone. I won’t forget that day. And how my cousin taught me in his Jerry Angell way.