The Fall of the year that we moved to the mountains, Linda offered to help one of the local boys with a wound care dressing. He had injured his hand and was going to rehab. His wound needed a dressing change every day or so for a while, but no one in his family felt comfortable doing this. So, each evening he would drop by for his dressing change. One evening, he asked, “Oscar, now that you live up here are you going to hunt?” eluding to the upcoming deer season. “I don’t own a gun.” You would have thought that I had a third eye in the middle of my head.
As the story ended, he shot a deer for us, left handed, and our neighbor butchered it and delivered it, vacuum sealed in a box. Not own a gun in WV? Most households here have a larger and better equipped arsenals that the Confederate army did. I have chatted with mild manner co-workers who own upwards of 30 guns, ranging from their hunting rifles to the grandfather’s and great grandfather’s heirlooms.
Linda and grew up in suburbs without hunting traditions. Her mother frowned on toy guns as encouraging violent behavior patterns. My father had a 22 rifle which my brother and I had training lessons and target practice with, because, “you should know how to correctly shoot and maintain a weapon.” After this training in junior high school, I put away the rifle and pursued other interests.
My style of self-defense has been to be evasive. While living in NYC I learned escape routes on subways and streets whenever I saw someone wielding a knife or gun about (oops, forgot to tell the parents about those events). Here in the mountains, I find that looking scary is usually sufficient to ward off curious folks who should not come up a private road. I have been known locally as the guy who comes out of the wood with a running chain saw to greet you. And, my line is “There one way back out of here…”. Linda says I look like some guy from Deliverance at those moments.
Our neighbors have a variety of reasons for owning guns. As I suggest before, for some this his family heritage. For others, they enjoy the sport of target practice and hunting. For others, they gain a sense of security by having a well armed home and concealed weapons permits. You never know what al Queda might be up to or when a disgruntled boyfriend might show up that the hair dressers to take his vengeance.
This year, as two of our friend’s came over for Christmas eve socializing I notice that he was struggling to align two long, awkward packages. I joked that it looked like something from the movie A Christmas Story. Well, better than that, they did give us a DVD of the same movie and our very own Daisy BB guns. I now have a 1938 Red Ryder and Linda a pink 1998 Red Ryder. Time to read the safety instructions. Might these be “gate way gun” to our future weapons collection? Best call ahead before coming up our driveway now.