After my last two posts, I thought a little levity would be appropriate so I’m going to share the story of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. My parents divorced when I was just a baby and while my Mom had primary custody, I went to visit my Dad and Grandparents every other weekend. I grew up in the small East TX town of Nacogdoches and my Dad and Grandparents lived in Jasper which is about 75 miles Southeast.
Best that I can remember, I was in Junior High at the time and it was the norm for my Grandparents to pick me up directly from school on Friday afternoon. We would swing back by my home, grab my bags, and it was off to my Grandparent’s house. They were retired and my Dad was working so it always worked out great for them to pick me up. Plus, I cherished my time with them.
There were three Dairy Queens strategically located between Nacogdoches and Jasper and we typically hit one of the three for ice cream on every trip. Further, there was and still is a Pizza Hut that we used to frequent on Friday nights. I used to love to go there and bring the leftovers home for breakfast the next morning. There’s was nothing quite like cold pizza for breakfast at my Grandparent’s house.
On this particular weekend, my Grandmother was not there. She was out of town and so my Grandad had come to pick me up alone. It was late fall and the cooler weather had already settled in. And so with cooler temperatures comes hunting season. While I had never been a big hunter, my Grandad and I had shot up half the countryside with my pellet gun and 22 rifle. I really wasn’t into hunting so much…I just liked to shoot stuff.
The plan that weekend was for me to stay with my Grandad on Friday night and then go over to my Dad’s on Saturday. For your reference, my Grandparents owned a farm with several acres of land west of their home with two big stock ponds located at the edge of their property. My Grandad had shared on the drive to his house that if I wanted, we could slip down to the ponds early Saturday morning to see if any wild ducks had landed for the night. Are you kidding me? Wild ducks! I was fired up!
I was so fired up in fact that the next morning, after breakfast, I ran upstairs to grab my Grandad’s 12 gauge shotgun. Now he had told me before on numerous occasions to be careful with his shotgun because shells tended to get stuck in the magazine. It was a pump shotgun and you could literally pump and pull the trigger resulting in a dry fire and then repeat that action and consequently fire off a round.
I knew this and yet that particular morning, I failed to heed his warning. And so as I was walking back down the stairs to the living room, I was literally pumping and pulling the trigger the whole way with lofty thoughts of dozens of wild ducks just waiting for my Grandad and I to sneak up on them.
I know what you’re thinking. What an idiot! I know. In my defense, I did check to make sure there was not a shell in the chamber. It was the whole “shell sticking in the magazine thing” that tripped me up.
Now remember, I’m just a kid and Saturday mornings are for cartoons. Though not my favorite, the Smurfs were on and the scene unfolding had Azrael the cat chasing the Smurfs. In a split moment where I completely lost my mind, I aimed the 12 guage at the TV at point blank range to “take out” the cat before he could get the Smurfs. Much to my shock and horror, the gun fired just fine this time completely blowing away my Grandparent’s old Magnavox TV.
I remember it like it was yesterday and that was a long time ago. My Grandad came running in from the kitchen and I was just standing there with the gun in my hands, smoke coming from the barrel, and smoke coming from the TV. He didn’t scold me and I honestly don’t remember much of what was said. We had a “quiet” breakfast and under the circumstances called off the duck hunt. I had done enough “hunting” for one morning.
To cover my handiwork, my Grandad literally put a big towel over the TV and brought in their smaller kitchen TV to sit on top. When my Dad came to pick me up, my Grandad made up some story about the bigger TV being “out” in an effort to cover for my stupidity. He told me not to say anything and that he would handle it. It would be our little secret.
Well you know how that worked out. The weekend passed and I was back home safe and sound Sunday evening with my Mom when the phone rang. It was Dad and he was not happy. Furious would be a better description of his tone. He had stopped by my Grandparent’s home and happened to peak under the towel revealing the mostly destroyed TV and at that point, my Grandad spilled his guts.
There have been only a few occasions in my life where my Dad was ever really mad at me and it always just ripped my heart out. Never mind the fact that I was completely guilty as charged. I just hated disappointing my Dad. It’s been so many years now and we’ve never really talked about the TV incident further. Regardless, the event will be forever imprinted in my mind and I’m quite certain I will never forget how our duck hunt was spoiled because I shot a cartoon cat on TV.
Closing thoughts for my readers:
This will be my shortest closing remarks ever. While still not a hunter, I’m totally in favor of being armed and have numerous firearms in my home. Regardless, you simply can’t be too careful when it comes to any type of firearm where the stakes are high and one simple mistake can result in a loss of life.