Saturday, April 21, 2012


Before my nephew Bennett was born, I decided to give his older sister Abbey one of my .22s  I simply did not need it and every kid should have a .22 to learn on.  It's quiet, non-threatening and fun.  It teaches a kid to be responsible and the parent knows it is dangerous but it won't take off an arm.  It does not have so much noise or recoil that a child will shy away from it, but does have the ability to make a soup can or golf ball dance.

My first "gun" was a Daisy 1894 lever action BB gun.  Sort of a deluxe version of a Red Ryder.  Modeled after a Winchester 1894 rifle, from cowboy days.

That gun made me realize that Bennett would probably not want a bolt action, even though they are the best for teaching.  They fire slowly so kids don't get trapped in the "spray-and-pray" mentality of most people with a semi-auto.  .22 bolt actions have open sights, typically.  Those are necessary to develop the basics of shooting.  For a kid, open sights are not awesome.  Scopes are awesome.  A scope on a .22 can teach you *very* little about shooting. 

No kids want basics.  They want awesome.  Unfortunately it is the adult's job to cram those basics down the unwilling gullet of the kid.

Awesome requires basics.  Therefore, a semi-auto rifle or pistol is not the right thing for Junior.  A typical first day of shooting with grandpa involves him removing the magazine, from your bolt action and replacing it with a narrow block of wood.  Then he gives you the safety information about not aiming the gun at things you don't want to shoot and whatnot.

Finally, you get your hot, sweaty, sticky hands on the gun and he hands you One  Bullet.  At.  A.  Time.  All.  Day.  Long.  You get used to the pace and you get good at hitting what you aim at.  Against your wishes.

One day, when you are 9 or 10, grandpa asks if you want to go squirrel or rabbit or grouse hunting with him.  DUH!  OF COURSE YOU DO! so you say "[yawn]... okay."  But on the inside you are still thinking in all capital letters.  You try to remember the rules of gun safety as you stuff your feet into your boots but your mind is a blank.   You don't realize it but all that time he spent teaching you is doing its job.  You no longer need to remember the rules, in word form.  They are ingrained in your actions.  In everything you do and don't do.

There is a magazine in that little .22 now.  It holds 7 rounds, plus the one in the chamber, so your gun can hold as much as 8 shots.

Grandpa hands you three bullets.

"???" you ask.

"When you bring me three grouse, you can have more bullets." Grandpa says.

"No fair." you mutter but half of your brain is already rationing bullets and thinking of what you have to do to make the most out of each one.

Another silent, uncontested victory for Grandpa.

It is more than a year before you surprise grandpa, with three rabbits and three empty .22 shells.  He takes the rabbits and the shells and smiles.  He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a new box of 50 .22 long rifle shells.

"Yours" he says.  And he shows you how you can fit 50 .22s into your pants pockets and how to distribute them so they don't try to pull your trousers off as you walk around.

Finally, your 13th birthday comes around.  Grandpa tells you something you did not know.  In this state, a 13 year old is considered an adult, when it comes to hunting.  This weekend will be the first time you are allowed to hunt unsupervised and carry a gun alone.  More than that, as the "adult" you will be watching over your brother, the 9 year old.

Today he has his .22 slung over his shoulder, exactly the way grandpa taught you as well.

As you leave the door together, your kid brother says "Grandpa did not give me any bullets."  So you dig in your pocket.

And hand him 3.

As you grow older, you meet people who did not have the benefits of utilizing your Grandpa to help them learn how to shoot.  To them the gun's purpose is to make as much noise as possible, as fast as possible.  Hitting the target is not for them.  Accuracy and consistency?  Not interested.  Safety is for other people.

To aid in the shooting process, I put in a bid online, on a .22 rimfire lever action.  I bid several days before the end of the auction and no one bid after that.  Very unusual on such a unique rifle.  Selling price is typically in the neighborhood of $500-1000 and I bid $365.  It is a Henry Golden Boy .22.  Made by the Henry repeating Arms Corporation of Ithaca New York.

The day I won the auction, Bennett was born.

I think boys like lever action rifles.  And so do girls!  Annie Oakley shot a Marlin 1891 and did amazing things with it.  She put 25 bullets into a hole the size of a dime, at 30 feet, in 27 seconds.  Her most famous trick-shot was splitting a playing card (shooting it edge-on) and then shooting it several more times as it fell to the ground.  From 90 feet away.

So Abbey will be getting a Marlin 39A (the modern name for the 1891, which has been in continuous production since the year... you guessed it, 1891).

The barrels of their guns will have my name engraved on them, followed by the kid's names.

A guy online, mentioned that engraving our names on them will ruin the resale value of the guns.

I certainly hope so.  They will be utterly worthless to anyone else, but will be priceless to the kids in our family.  Especially to their kids and grandkids.  I intend these guns to stay in our family, teaching children to be responsible gun owners off, into the future.  Each generation getting their names engraved on the barrels like the Stanley Cup of our family.

Another Grandmom story.

Since she was so entertaining, my grandmother Lorraine Buschhorn probably ought to have her own chapter.

She donated her body to science.  For the university to get her remains, for study, dissection, crash tests, etc., she needed to "die" in New Jersey.  If she croaked in any other state, we were instructed to drive her body back to New jersey, before reporting her death. 

When she came out to Idaho, to visit, this was a big responsibility, since her boyfriend did not drive.  What it meant was that I would have to drive her "remains" (corpse, decaying flesh), across the country in a car that had damn well better have A/C, as fast as possible.  I did not want her to turn into a liquefying pool of mankyness, in the passenger's seat.

I would also be driving at the maximum rated speed.  Of the car.  In other words, wherever the carpet stopped the gas pedal.  Just in case, I once figured at 140MPH, I could be from my front door, to hers in 18 hours.  But in yet another calculation, it was shown that I'd be stopping for fuel every 45 minutes, so gas would cost about $700, for that trip. 

Grandmom taught me to plan ahead. 

I figured a space blanket was pretty water (et cetera) proof so I could line the front seat with that and hope for the best.  sure it's morbid to think in those terms but it's also stupid not to.  Nobody wants to smell grand mom, every time the sun shines on the car, for a few minutes, for the next ten years.

To give some background on how my Grandmother got this way...

It is probably genetic.  Her grandmother had cut off one of her fingers, as a child.

On a bet.

As in "I bet you won't cut off your finger, with the hatchet."  neeter neeter.

It was a [WHACK!]  "You lose." kind of scenario, apparently. 

Her dad did not need to threaten the boys who came around to date her, in high school.  That kind of word gets around, I'm sure.  If she would cut off her own finger, what do you suppose she might do to you?  If she has that kind of disregard for her own digits, in what sort of disdain might she hold any particular part of your anatomy that had actually displeased her?  If some piece of you actually made her, say, angry...


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pinky toe.

Is apparently an appendage designed to find the edges of furniture, in your home.  I wonder what cavemen used them for?

Tailbones are not that useful either.  Sure they anchor your pelvic floor muscles, presumably so your wiener doesn't unwind like an out of control venetian blind.  After thirty years of pain, while sitting, I asked my doctor if it could just be removed.  he said "Sure, as long as you don't mind never having an erection again."


Well I am somewhat enamored with my erections so I don't think I am "up" for anything that might take them away, forever.

I broke my tailbone, as a kid.  In the afternoon, before football practice, my friend Lindsay Dixon and I, lined up a mattress/box spring that his parents were tossing, with a pair of inner tubes, from a car.  The idea being, we'd run up, bounce, sprightly off the inner tubes and do a front flip, onto the mattress.

it turned out to be difficult to do a proper flip uphill onto a mattress that was higher than your knees.  So we removed the box spring.  First flip and my butt went through the mattress and "bottomed out" on the hard ground.  Snap goes the tailbone.

Naturally, part of football practice, in August has to be lots of toe touches and sit ups. 

Sit ups.  Not so fun when the top of your butt crack is swelling, so as to cause the maximum pain to the broken bone underneath.

Tailbone.  Named for a thing I don't have.

Wouldn't a tail be terrific? Sure we'd all need special pants but hell... especially if you could hang from it like the monkeys do!  Girls would flirt with boys by tossing their hair *and* flipping them with their tails.  There's a whole world of activities we are missing.  Boys would pull girls tails, in elementary school. 

We'd accidentally slam them in car doors and elevators.  People would dye them different colors on Easter.  Motorcyclists would have extra controls that use the tail.  Helicopter pilots would be able to do nine different things at once, with their tails.  Football players would have bent-up, crooked tails.  Wrestlers would get  cauliflower tail.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


My grandmother was a character.

While she was not rich, she used her money wisely.  Bribery mostly, in my experience.

If we showed up and she wanted to take us to dinner, spur-of-the-moment, my parents always said "We'll never get a table without a reservation!"  This was not an issue, for my grandmother.

Grandmom was the master of the "rustling handshake".  I learned it from her.  She showed me how to fold the money so you could see the amount, while still making it small enough to cup in the palm of your hand.  How to hold your hand out to shake someone else's so others couldn't see your palm. 

It was like magic, only with a point.

We would all show up at a crowded restaurant and Grandmom would go find anyone who controlled the list of who got in.  rustle-rustle goes the handshake, as she leans forward to whisper in the ear of the maitre d', who smiles and goes around the podium to "check the list" [quick glance down at his hand to see how much we should be moved up, if at all] and SURE ENOUGH!  Our "reservation" is on the list, right at the top. 

Buschhorn, party of six, right this way.

When the waiter/server takes our order, another handshake (because it only makes sense that if you get $20 at the beginning of the service, what are you getting after?  Yeah.  More.)  We get fantastic service in a place known for amazing service.  Fast meals, cooked to perfection.

I learned that if I wanted to take her out, she would NEVER allow me to pay.  Finally I got to where, near the end of the meal, I'd  get up to "use the restroom" and go pay for the meal. 

She taught me conniving, end-run sneakiness too.  Sneakiness is NOTHING without a plan.

When we were younger, my parents did not want my Grandmother bribing us with cash, during her visits.  That is where we learned to be recipients.  After Grandmom shook hands, our hands always went in our pockets.  Guess who was the favorite grandmom?

After she left, it was wise to check your pockets for any additional money that may have magically fallen in there, somehow.

These are skills that get passed on.

They are especially important in business and politics.  If you are in a job interview with someone who looks annoyed with his job and he asks you why the company should hire *you*... what happens if you say "I will pay you $1000 in cash, if you hire me."  And lift a wad of $20s out of your inner jacket pocket.  "I'll give you $100 on every anniversary of my hiring, for as long as you work here."

Don't be surprised if, on the way out, you hear the secretary being told to send everyone else home because the position is filled.