Hey All, Life is full of surprises..........I realize that you already know that. You didn't get this far without experiencing your fair share of them.......as everyone eventually experiences the unexpected.. Keep your eyes open............the next one might just be around the corner.
While in school during the fall and early winter, we trapped furbearers, such as fox, raccoon and muskrat for fun and spending money. This was part of my fathers childhood and he passed this skill and tradition along to his boys when they reached 12 years old. It gave us a way to buy gifts for Christmas and things we might like to have. Tommy was by far the most successful of my fathers son, when it came to this activity. The law required that you check your traps at least every 36 hours.........sometimes you were sick or were otherwise unable to do it yourself and your brother would check them for you.
We were in High School and my friend Joe G had driven us up to Buckingham. My cousin Carl,. who was about 20 years old, still lived with Grandma at this time while attending college, had come home just before we left to check Tommy's trap sets. The Beast was already there as it was his favorite place to mooch..........I mean hang out. Carl decided that he wanted to go along............not to be left out, so did the mooch.......I mean Beast...........Eh, synonyms..........two words, same picture in the dictionary.
It was a moonless and crisp autumn night as we loaded into Carls station wagon. He brought Dads .22 revolver in case Tom had caught something and needed to be dispatched. Carl drove his wagon down through the grass fields near Buckingham Mountain to the first set and turned on his high beams. We could see a pair of eyes reflecting back at us ...........so we got a little closer and stopped with the high beams illuminating a beautiful mature Red Fox. I wasn't a big surprise because Tommy had caught many Red Fox............... as I have said he was the most successful of our litter. We gathered around in a semi circle and admired this beautiful animal. Carl was across form me and Joe G was to his left, the Beast was to my right We had to keep a good distance from the Fox as not chance getting bit.............which put Carl about 15 feet away with Fox between us. Carl loaded his pistol, cocked it and held it out at arms length as he sighted on the Fox..............then he just stood there like that. I had my fingers in my ears and I removed them and asked " Are you going to pull that trigger or not? We don't have all night and still have more sets to check." He said " I have a better idea. We'll take him alive and put him into the Fox pen, up back in the garden." I groaned and said to him, "just how do think your going to do that?" "I'll think of something", he replied.
Now, Carl is a intelligent guy and frequently has great ideas.................this wasn't one of them. He says to me " catch" and tosses the loaded, still cocked pistol, high over the Fox. The pistol flies over the Fox and I lost sight of it in the high beams of the car. The first thing that came into my mind was "what the hell is he doing? Has he lost his mind?" I thrust out both hands to where I thought the pistol was going come down and realized I had to catch it just right or someone might be shot. I stepped forward to get in better position but the Fox lunged and reminded he still had sharp teeth and I jumped back as the spinning revolver came out of the blinding headlights into view. I had no options but to wait for the pistol to come to me.
I put my hands together........hoping catch it gently as possible in my open palms. It was a plan............unfortunately, the guns spinning motion and the spots in my eyes from looking into the lights, prevented that from happening. I caught it alright.............with a finger in the trigger guard and it went off. Everyone stood still and was silent for a long pause. Then I shouted "is anyone hit?"...................all responses were no.
That night certainly could have turned out with a much more heartbreaking ending. It was Russian Roulette with a uncontrolled, spinning firearm.............with anyone of four peoples lives at risk. We all expressed our thoughts to Carl..............colorfully, then agreed we wouldn't tell Dad or Grandmom, so that Carl wouldn't get into trouble. He already realized his mistake and no amount of screaming or physical threats would make him understand it any better.
We got off easy with the lesson we learned that night. Joe G still talks about. In the lessons in life that come your way, you often find that you have no control ..................events come at you like a spinning gun that could hurt you or someone you care about. You can only do what you can and say a prayer..............you may only get enough time for quick one. Make them count.
Until the next time..............God Bless.