Saturday, January 3, 2009
Brigid wrote of the first gun she shot. It prompts me to remember when I first fired my father's Mossberg 146B .22 target rifle.
Dad bought it soon after he came home in 1953 from serving in the U.S. Army in West Germany. Mossberg produced that model from 1949 to 1954. I came along in 1961 and can always remember it being handy. Every farm household had a .22 rifle of some sort, but they didn't look as exotic as the Mossberg with the oil-rubbed walnut stock with pistol grip, rear receiver sight and hooded front sight with changeable inserts. The knob for end tip also made it stand out from run-of-the-mill .22 single-shot rifles such as the one the butcher used or the one Grandma kept to dispatch pests.
Dad and I was standing behind my 10-year-old brother as he shot tin cans at various ranges in the garden during a sunny, fall afternoon. I begged for a chance, and Dad allowed me to take a few shots after some instruction. The can was about seven yards away and the seven-pound rifle seemed as if there was a brick suspended from the muzzle. I can still see the can flashing in the sun as it was hit. I was six years old.
We still have the Mossberg. The forearm has a split in it. Us boys took the sights off after they broke in order to mount a cheap 4x scope on it. I think it is time to hunt up some parts and get it back into service.
I do remember the first girl I kissed. Her name was Paula. She drove a tan, 1978 Trans-Am. It isn't like there were a huge number of girls to remember. I was standoffish--rube in the big city.