Friday, December 08, 2006

Shootin' Flies

I come from pioneer stock, the sort of folk who teach their children basic survival skills before they start kindergarten, you know just in case the teacher takes the class on a field trip to the woods and abandons them there, or maybe a rattle snake shows up on the playground for recess, or the cafeteria runs out of food and you really need to be able to know which part of the cactus to eat. So, it's only logical that along with our advanced survival skill training, each of us kids received a few little perks in the way of things you might need to survive in the wilderness, like pocket knives and BB guns and fully operational little motorcycles, at age five for boys and ten for girls. There's that darn glass ceiling again.

It was normal too for us to be left to our own devices to explore our surroundings and implement these treasured survival tools we had been given. In fact it was our mission. On any given weekend, my brother, cousin and I could be found riding our motorcycles through the gully on my grandparents' acreage or stealthily tracking down some hapless furry creature. Perhaps it was cruel of our parents to loose us on Mother Nature like that, in all our glory, but Mother Nature has a way of keeping things even.

It was not long after the three of us began our little adventures, terrorizing crawdads and blazing motorcycle trails through grassy fields, that a mystery arose. Uncle Joe's prized orange 1973 Volkswagen Beetle began showing unusual signs of wear, little dings, like little pock marks in its otherwise glowing complexion.

He couldn't imagine what was causing this apparently spontaneous phenomenon. For some time it had been safely parked near his home, away from prying eyes and offensive road debris that might be kicked up by inconsiderate drivers.

The mystery continued for a few weeks, all the while more pock marks appearing in the once flawless complexion of the little Beetle.

Then one day, as Aunt Kathy stood washing dishes and looking out the window over her kitchen sink, she saw it. My cousin, brave frontiersman that he was, stood BB gun scoped in . . . on the Beetle.




Later that night, Uncle Joe asked him why was he shooting the little Beetle.

To which he responded, "I was shootin' flies."

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