Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shooting with Dad

Camp Freehold had the pleasure of a special guest this weekend--my Dad.

For most of you, this may not seem like a big deal, but for my family, it was an exceptionally big deal. You see, my Dad is 81, and not in the best of health (although his doctors say he is doing well for 81). Until recently, he was the sole caregiver for my Mom, who had a stroke in December 2002 and has been bedridden since late 2003.

In January, my dad was in the hospital with life-threatening anemia. He had complained of being tired, his back hurt, etc. We all thought that he was simply doing himself in caring for my Mom. I suppose in a way he was. After a 2 AM ambulance ride and nearly a week in the hospital, he came home to find that I had reorganized his life. My Mom had the proper equipment for an invalid, CNAs around the clock, etc.

Of course, he was aghast, and wanted to go back to doing everything himself. Long and sometimes heated discussions followed, but eventually he came to understand that he simply wasn't able to do everything, and trying would lead to an outcome he didn't like. Compromise was reached, and life continued.

Anyway, the young lady who provides much of the care for my mother was a bit behind in her number of hours worked. To make up her time, she was willing to stay the entire weekend with my Mom so my Dad could spend the weekend with us. Sold!

Saturday was, of course, range time. Old Friend's Older Brother, his Lady Friend and Lady Friend's Daughter were in attendance, as were my Daughter and Son. Also present were the Remington 512 Sportmaster, a Ruger 10/22 and a rifle that has been something of a safe queen, my Marlin 336, chambered in 30-30.

Dad started out with the Remington at 50 yards, using a piece of rolled up carpet pad for a rest--yours truly had forgotten the bags--AGAIN. (For some background on this particular gun and why he would want to shoot it first, see here.)

"Well, I haven't shot in 30 years...."

"Dad, it's like riding a bicycle. It'll come back to you."

It did. His first target was scattered, but all 15 shots were on the paper. As he went through the session, his groups improved to the point they could be covered with a hand.

He also tried shooting some steels, which he thought he was missing. He wasn't. We could hear the ding of impact, and what he was mistaking for the dust of a miss was the little 40 gr. bullet shattering on impact.

P-Pa (as his grandkids call him) also got to see his granddaughter and grandson shoot. He was impressed with them both, but was amused that his grandson favors his old Remington. (I guess the next time I see one I'm going to have to buy it for the boy so he can have his own.)

However, the highlight was getting him to shoot the Marlin. ("Aw, I don't need to be shooting that.") With iron sights, he was able to hit 12" steel at 100 yards. Those big ol' 30-30s make a tremendous "ke-rang" when they hit steel, and he got this ear-splitting grin on his face as he went through an entire box of ammo.

It was nearly as big as my grin, watching him.

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