"Four And Twenty"

Backyard Hunt

Mmmmm, Tasty!

We were a hunting family, and my father and oldest brother Harry trained the younger boys in this sport. At the age of about 11 or 12, we were each taught the safe operation and care of a 22 caliber rifle, followed shortly after by a 16 gauge shotgun. Until we were 16 or 17, we had to be accompanied by dad or an other adult when using the firearms.

Brother Harry 1950's

Great Hunter

Sis-In-Law Beulah 1950's

Harry's Sweet Wife
At Canadohta Lake

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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