During those early years, we took this responsibility very seriously,
mostly because the priviledge would be taken away.
As with my brothers before me, I became "too big for my britches"
in my early teens, and would often head to the woods to shoot the rifle
when my dad would be gone for awhile.
Of course my buddy Dave Merkel was my accomplice, and had the job of aquiring
ammunition. 22 cal. bullets were available at almost any store for about
1/2 cent apiece, and Dave worked part-time in our local grocery.
It was Winter time, and a few inches of snow blanketed the area.
I was alone and a little bored, as I peered out my upstairs bedroom
window into the backyard. A plan developed. I scattered some pieces of
bread down in the yard, and took a position at my window.
I only had to punch a teeny hole through the screen, to
allow the small bullets to pass through.
When my dad got home from work early that evening, he confronted me
with some disturbing news. A policeman had stopped him as he
walked up Ivyglen Street, and said it was reported that
bullets were bouncing on the street below ours. I learned quite
awhile later that this was a fabrication, but it was effective at the time.
Someone had squeeled on me!
Now there was a rule in our family, that we only killed what we intended to eat.
I want to tell you that even though my father usually lived up to the name "Cookie", I could
barely choke down a few bites of the several blackbirds that I shot that day.
Until I was of age, I never touched a gun without permission again.
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