Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To Each His Own

I take one child on a date each month. I made this goal one year, and I have kept up on it pretty well. Sometimes dates are right at the end of the month, or maybe they aren't so elaborate, but I can't remember the last month I missed.

Ivory was my date in September. She chose bowling and ice cream. I haven't been bowling in a while, so it was really fun. Ivory's favorite part was watching the ball roll back up into the rack.

She didn't need any help bowling, but she did use the bumpers. (Too bad the bumpers didn't stay up for me.)

We had such a good time. Ivory did a great job.

She almost broke 100. (I told her many adults don't even make 100.) I did a little better than Ivory, but probably only because I got a turkey. Look closely. Three Xs in a row.

Then ice cream of course. Don't ask why I look so freaky in this picture.

Ivory is great company. I love going out on the town with her.

Ivory decided about two months ago that she needed to go out with the other parent as well. Tyler likes to do dates with the girls, but he doesn't have a schedule like I do. Ivory wanted to go shooting, but she got sick. And then Tyler got sick. And then stuff came up. It wasn't until two months later that they actually made it out the door, guns in hand. (Well, not in hand. It is not safe to drive while holding a gun, no matter what they show on TV.)

I can't give you all the details, because I wasn't there, but I hear that Ivory was a pretty good shot.

And now, I'm giving the keyboard to my awesome husband...Oh, Tyler!

A few weeks ago, Ivory asked me, "Dad, can we go shooting some time." Just imagine my joy. So, heart brimming with pride, I said, "Of course we can." I took out my phone and looked over my calendar. We ultimately decided on a day the next week. She was excited.

Unfortunately, the day came, and there was illness in the Cazier home...and not just in the home: it was Ivory. So, we couldn't go shooting on the day appointed. We agreed to wait until she was well, then we'd go shooting.

Unfortunately, the next date came and there was illness in the Cazier home...and not just in the home: it was me! So, we couldn't go shooting. We agreed to wait until I was well, then we'd go shooting for sure.

Unfortunately, the next date arrived, and there was a scheduling conflict. We re-scheduled. Scheduling conflict. We re-scheduled. Forgot. Forgot to re-schedule. Excitement was...waning.

All throughout this process, Ivory would remind me when I was going around giving bedtime kisses, that we needed to go shooting. "Dad," she'd say, "we haven't gone shooting yet."

So, on Friday night when she reminded me for the umpteenth time that we hadn't gone shooting, I told myself that my child should not have to ask over and over to get some one on one time with her Dad. "Ivory," I said, "we're going shooting tomorrow. Get ready."

The next day, she was ready. It happened to be a Saturday, and the weather was great, though I was going no matter what the clouds were doing. We talked ballistics with the other girls that morning. We talked about the difference between shot and projectile, why longer guns produce faster bullets, and why faster bullets do more damage at the target. We discussed why I could shoot a bad guy with the 9mm and I'd have to shoot him a couple of times before he couldn't hurt my little ones. Then we talked about why just racking the shotgun was usually sufficient to help bad guys remember how to pray. Afterward, I carefully selected my shooting-day arsenal.

I didn't want anything too big, because I didn't want Ivory's first big shooting experience to go poorly. I wanted something that could be accurate enough for a child to shoot accurately, but produce the necessary result of, "Ya, shooting's awesome." So I selected my 9mm Beretta and 20-gauge Mossberg 500 ("The Persuader") and nestled them into my trunk...and off we flew to the nearest BLM land.

After some basics, Ivory and I descended on the range. I demoed the 9mm handgun damage on an empty soda can. We talked about safety, ear protection, entry and exit holes, ammunition, magazines, sighting a target, racking the pistol, and cocking the hammer, trigger finger safety, flagging, proper shooting posture, solid elbows and wrist, soft trigger finger, etc. It turned out well. She took some pot shots at a Gatorade bottle--figuring out her aim. Then I brought out the clay pigeons and deposited a few throughout the range. From then on, she didn't miss. Oh, the pride's just welling up here.

Notice how the gun's on safety, pointed in a safe direction, and her finger's off the trigger? She just does that naturally. Pride, overflowing. Notice the pigeon as well: that hawk-shaped hole was her first shot at the pigeon and it was the first hit she claimed as her very own (no help from Dad).

Here's the same shot with a little more of the range behind her. Notice the orange pigeon fragments just littering the area. More pride.

We ended on the 20-gauge shot gun, "The Persuader." I retrieved the empty soda with which we learned about entry and exit wounds at the beginning of our shooting expedition. Then, with all the showmanship I could muster, I yelled, "Ivory remember the 9mm holes in the soda can? Watch this!" I let fly with 1 round out of "The Persuader." The can disappeared in a cloud of dusty demolition.

We were able to recover the top of the can, and Ivory asked in amazement, "Whoa, Dad. Where'd the the bottom of the can go?" Difference between shotgun and pistol taught.

Then we lined up 3 pigeons about 4 inches apart, then backed off a few yards. I handed "The Persuader" to Ivory, and helped her position the weapon so it wouldn't hurt her when she shot. One shot, and "The Persuader" helped the pigeons into the clay afterlife. "From dust to dust," they say.

She only put two rounds through "The Persuader." That was enough to feel of its awesome destructive power.

On a side note, I showed her what the pigeons are really used for--throwing them high in to the air and "Persuading" them to explode into thousands of pieces. Turns out "The Persuader" likes to eat skeet. It's never pointed at a clay pigeon and failed to send it explosively into the great pigeon beyond. I like to think that has something to do with my amazing aim, though. Like daughter like dad.

The thing I love about this picture is how big the gun is in reference to the Ivory holding it. 

So we finally got our shooting day. That night when I tucked her into bed, I asked her if she had a good time. "Yes," she said, "we need to go shooting again." So, I guess we'll have to find another day for the range.

1 comment:

meganmushrat said...

I really pity the guy who tries to mess with your house! I don't suppose you could take me shooting the next time I'm in Utah? I've always wanted to try it, but I've never fired a gun in my life.