Pretty fortunate fellows here. My Dad never went hunting or fishing, hardly ever done anything with me. Would ride the entire day in the pickup helping him on a salt route and never say a word to me. We played checkers a few times. He was a good man, just did not know how to express love or play or teach his children. Never shed a tear and hardly missed him when he departed. But I turned out alright and looking back I learned a lot and understood more from the memories as I matured. One of the pleasant memories was the only time he gave me money; at the supper table for raising the runt hogs I saved into the pen with my sister, he had included them in the last load of hogs sent to market and I never gave it a thought. This boy never saw such a pile of money, in the late fifties. Then he took me to the little sporting goods store in town and I bought my first rifle, (.22 Winchester, clip fed) picked it out and paid for it myself with my own money. No one ever showed me a thing about how to handle and shoot or clean it. But back then, farm boys just seemed to know. My best buddy, the next farm east had a single shot and we run the woods and streams all day long and no one worried about us. Both of us could just naturally shoot the eyes out of a snake. Shot a lot of squirrels. And acorns. One of us would shoot beside a bullfrog in the mud, launching it high into the air and the other would shoot it in the air! One day I tried something I seen in a western movie; the barn had lighting rods on it and the one on the end had a weather vane on it too - I drew a bead on the tip of the arrow on the vane and squeezed 'er off. Much to my surprise it did not spin but only broke off! These days, with a red dot, can't hit half of what I did as a boy with open sights.
I did do one really bad thing with that rifle. My buddy was one of six boys and two girls whose father died young and left his mother to raise them all. She earned money by babysitting and cleaning and raise them she somehow did. They had a few acres she rented out, a ramshackle house, no plumbing (the long handle pump gave delicious cold black sulphur water) and an out house. One day Marv told me the neighbors hogs had gotten into his mothers corn field and ruined much of the crop. Then few days later the hogs were back.......one of the older brothers had told/asked the neighbor to repair the fence but he never did. As the hogs continued to wreck the crop of that poor lady, with my buddy giving me updates, one day a righteous indignation set in and we planned justice. Since the neighbor would not repair the fence and seemed unfazed at the widow's ruined crop we would pop a couple of those pigs! We went to the high river bank on his mom's side, got prone and waited. Then a sow with several piglets trailing took the trail down to the water. He popped one and I popped one. Then he popped another an me another. There were many hogs of all sizes coming to drink and soon there was two excited boys shooting pigs fast as we could. It was such fun we did not stop. Hogs were laying all over the place and the wounded ones ran back into the corn on the owners side. When the action slowed down (think we ran out of ammo) and we stopped, the reality (and seriousness) of what we had done set in. Now we were scared, really scared. And the farmer could not help but find out as we estimated there were perhaps a hundred or more dead/wounded hogs. What should we do? Well, for one, get rid of the evidence. We dragged as many as we could to the current hoping they would wash away. We soon were tired and unable to move the larger ones.
So with our knives we began to slit the bellies of those laying about and what we could find in the corn rows.....they would rot faster was our reasoning. But it was a certain thing this slaughter would be found out. He headed home and so did I. And did not see each other or leave the house for many days. I was scared to death and watched the lane every day knowing the Sheriff would show up. And Dad would be no help, he had told us boys that if we got into trouble, better to deal with the law than with him! To this day it is a mystery that Marv nor I ever heard a word about it. The law never showed. There was no talk about it that we heard. Nothing in the paper. Still, it was a long time before we got together again and done any shooting with those rifles. Surely the statute of limitations has run out and am safe to tell this story? I would have been nine/ten years old.