Saturday, September 12, 2020

How the Patterson Arsenal Came To Be

A great good Saturday morning to all my internet friends and neighbors, and for those family members who have stumbled onto this post, I'm feeling much better. It wasn't the evil "C" thing, just a gut virus.

I'm trying to shift to MeWe from Facebook. Their politics have been intrusive for quite some time, but I could work around that, since I am apolitical as I can be. However, their peremptory demand that I learn their new interface is too much. If I have to learn a new interface, why not learn MeWe? So, that's what I'm doing. This is where you can find me; please join and add me to your contacts and so on.

I WAS doing a post on MeWe, but as often has been the case, discovered I had a lot more to say than a courteously brief, expecting-to-be-read post would be. So, a blog post, and I hope you don't faint from shock!

In November of 2001, coyotes killed my good old dog Jumper Bill.

In frustration and rage, I bought a Mossberg 500 12 gauge shotgun from a pawn shop, and tried to come up with a plan to eradicate the varmints. (BTW: coyotes ARE varmints; there is no season, and no bag limit. I verified that.)

That plan didn't work out, but I found I liked having the security of the shotgun. It felt...MANLY!

Six months later, I bought a S&W 422 .22 caliber plinking pistol from the same pawnshop, followed shortly by purchase of a Marlin 60 .22 rifle. I took Mickey and Bess on summer field trips to the outdoor range, AFTER I had given them classes in firearms safety, how to use rifle sights, etc, and afterward, how to clean the firearms.

I think the next thing that happened was that GrandBebe gave me her pistol, a S&W Model 60, .38 Spl snubnose. Ralph bought it new in August, 1969, for $100, according to the receipt.

And then, I discovered that there was a .22 League Competition! It met every Monday night at a local range (now, sadly, out of business) and they were very welcoming. In the competition, we fired 30 shots, five at a time, at standard competition bull's-eye targets. As you can see, hits in the outer circle counted 5 points, going up to 10 points, with the tiny center being 10 points and an 'X.' The max score was 300, with 30 X.

My first score was 116, no X.

Now, it's a poor workman who blames his tools, but after a couple of weeks of truly dismal performance, and seeing the firearms my fellow shooters were using, I realized I was, and I do mean this LITERALLY, not in their league! The S&W 422 is a nice little plinker, lightweight, but not tiny; it's just not designed to be a target pistol. The other competitors were equipped with one of these:

The Baikal IZH 35M, and the Ruger Mark IV

Both of these are excellent, purpose-designed target pistols. And both of them were priced WAY out of my budget. I think I paid $85 for my pawn shop S&W 422. So, I grabbed my buddy Virgil, 
You'd have to know him to see his smile...

an older man who Knew Things, and we went to the gun show which was fortuitously being held that weekend, and Virgil helped me pick out an entry level target pistol.

The Browning Buckmark Camper

With no other changes made, on my first week back I improved my score by over 80 points, and, with lots and lots of practice, I worked my way up in the ratings. I finally came in THIRD! in a monthly awards presentation. It was a $5 gift certificate. I still have that certificate in my possession.

I'm changing the way this blog post is going. My INITIAL intent was to show off more recent acquisitions, but this has gone on long enough, and I want to end with an important rabbit trail.

I told you that I got my buddy Virgil to help me pick out the pistol. Why Virgil? Well, as I said, he Knew Things. But I had ZERO evidence that he knew ANYTHING about firearms. As far as I know, until I grabbed him that day, he and I had never broached the topic.

But I knew he was THIS kind of guy!

BUT: Virgil was an older guy. He LIKED me. He would TALK to me. And that was huge in my heart; I don't know if it was in his.

Susie was huge in his heart, and he in hers.

I missed out on a lot of the relationship that sons are supposed to have with their fathers, and once upon a time, that was a source of much pain and anger for me. I give thanks to God that with both my biological father and my stepfather I was able to reconcile as an adult. When they passed, there were no regrets left. But, there was still a hole in my life, even as a fully grown man with teenage kids of my own, a need for a relationship with an older, wiser person. 

I have now, and had then, some TRULY excellent friends who are my age and younger.  But there was still a older guy/younger guy mentor relationship that was missing. Some day, I might tell you about how I started to fix that; but right now, I just want to make the point that while I doubt Virgil knew it, because we never talked about it specifically, I sought him out to fill that role. And he did a wonderful job.
Faithful and true.

I say this because someone might read this who is, or who knows of, a person who NEEDS to have that hole filled, and/or a person who can FILL that hole for someone else. And I want to encourage you: look for the person you need; look for the person who needs you. They are all around.

Peace be on your household.

No comments:

Post a Comment