As I came down the street from my daily walk to the creek, I saw Ron on his front porch. He is always fun to talk to, full of good stories told in the great Southern tradition. He wondered if I’d seen his wife Amy picking up trash that had been strewn about their yard the day before. We have no garbage pickup here, having to take our trash to a recycling center down the highway. Where the garbage bag came from, he didn’t know, because no one leaves stuff outside to tempt the local wildlife. A raccoon was tearing at it as he watched from the porch. He reached for his .22, popped a shot at the animal, and it ran off, leaving a mess behind.
That conversation led to shooting in general, as Ron recounted a feat of marksmanship. He had a friend, lived up on the mountain, who was a retired New York City cop. They were near a sign that had fallen down on Ron’s property, and Tom teased that Ron wouldn’t be able to hit it from 5 feet away. They kept on walking, and Tom challenged him again.
“Hey!” Ron said, “You’ve changed the rules. We’re much farther away now.”
Ron turned, lifted his gun, aimed at the sign and hit it on the lower left corner.
Tom jeered, “Almost missed it! Better try again!”
Ron hit the lower right corner, followed by the upper right and upper left in quick succession.
He explained to me, “I had five shots, so I used the last to hit it square in the middle.”
Tom, who had been in tense situations in the Bronx while on duty, said, “Man! You’re a better shot than I am! If we’re ever in trouble, I want to be behind you!”
Ron had a good comeback. He said, “If we’re in trouble, you’ll have to run to stay behind me.”
The moral of this story is that if you’re from far away, don’t mess with a Southern boy who grew up with guns. He can probably out-shoot you without half trying and make fun of himself afterwards.