My First Time

The first time I fired a gun was when I was about nine years old. I'll never forget that day.

We always had guns in the house where I grew up. They were not locked up and they were stored with ammo. In fact, the one that I shot that day was typically stored, in the kitchen, on hooks, over the doorway to the "kids play room"! Every house in the county kept their guns that way.That still cracks me up. How the world has changed...

I have three older brothers and on that auspicious day I was out playing in the back yard when two of them were coming back from rabbit hunting. We had 250 acres in farm country of Western New York where my parents owned a shade tree farm. A Nursery. Rabbits wreaked havoc on the plants my father grew, so we had a permit to hunt them year round.

It was a beautiful day.Sunny and breezy and perfect.

My brothers were in an excellent mood because the day was so sweet. I remember the younger of the brothers was drinking an orange soda from a pop-top can. The kind with the pop-tops you hated to step on bare foot. It was empty. I remember that he was shaking it because he had slipped the pop-top into the can after he had pulled it off.

He tossed the can about ten yards away and said, "JB, come here and see if you can shoot that can!" Without ceremony, he handed my the double barrel, 20 gauge shotgun and all he said as instructions was, "Just aim and make sure you pull both triggers at the same time..."

That asshat.

I gave that can both barrels and landed flat on my back.

My brothers laughed so hard they nearly pissed themselves . Even though it felt like I had been smashed on the shoulder with a baseball bat I couldn't help laughing too.

We never told my parents and I had a hell of a time hiding that bruise, that badge of courage.

--I became a man that day.

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