Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Story behind the gift

As promised, here is the rest of the Valentines Day story. Deanna and I started dating the summer before my High School senior year. I tell you this now in hopes you will cut me a little slack. What would you expect a 16 year old to know about love anyway? By the end of my senior year I knew she was the one for me and I told her I loved her the night I graduated from high school. It was not a smooth, polished or even remotely romantic declaration, but it was sincere and evidently effective. Money was in short supply for a college student but somehow I managed to put together almost $100 (That is 1968 $). A great job paid $3 an hour back then. We lived in a small desert community that had NO activities of any kind for teens. The one big activity...getting drunk at Sycamore Rocks...held no interest to us so when we were not at her house, we typically cruised the golf course between my house and hers or the fields east of what town there was looking for rabbits to shoot. Little sister Beck was a usual occupant on those "dates" too. Most of my childhood was spent on that desert with my horse, gun and dog trying to capture something. It was who I was and what I did. When I fell in love with Dee, it seemed only natural to include her in my life...except she didn't have a horse or a dog or a gun. I did get the dog, but Becky claimed it. A horse was out of the question on my budget, but a gun, now that was doable. I presented the treasure to her for Valentines Day certain that this was the mother of all gifts. We took it out to try it but it did not work and had to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair. It took several agonizing weeks to get it back.
When Dick called me from the local sporting goods store to tell me it was in I was so anxious I rushed down to pick it up and forgot to pick up the ultra light shells for it...more likely I didn't have the $2 for a box of shells. Instead I asked Dick for a couple of whatever he had around and he gave me a couple of the HOTTEST LOADS the gun could shoot. Again I presented the mother of all gifts to my love. We drove a couple miles to the edge of the populated area....which doesn't take long in a town of 4k. I loaded the gun and set up a can for her to shoot. She had been shooting my single shot .22 rifle with sub sonic bullets that had the kick of a mosquito landing on your boot, but I forgot totally to give her any proper instructions on shooting this gun. With confidence she mounted the gun to her shoulder, aimed down the barrel and pulled the trigger. The sound was a bit louder than I expected but it was near silent compared to the sound of the glare coming from Dee's eyes. On her first shot she bit her tongue, bruised her shoulder and cheek. I immediately realized the wisdom of buying a beginner a single shot. In my hast to share my love, I neglected to tell her to hold the gun tight to her shoulder and expect a sharp kick. She swore never to fire that gun again, unless it was at me! Some weeks later we encountered a Sidewinder rattle snake and she insisted on shooting it with the same gun, this time with the light shot shells. She held it right and never even heard the gun go off or feel the kick. She just wanted that snake dead in the worst way. It died for a good cause. She has never been afraid of it again. It stands today in the corner of her closet, loads close at hand for ??? (I make her use the .22 for the snakes on the porch. They only have a range of 20 feet so it is safe around the house...but effective). Here is Jarroods explanation of that Day:

Do you remember the morning,
Our very first Valentine’s Day,
You opened up your gift from me,
Without a word to say?

I looked at you and smiled,
Like I just gave you the moon,
You smiled back uncertainly,
As I waited for you to swoon,

I gave you a brand new shotgun,
With a bow around the stock,
This gift would be the key,
To your heart, I would unlock,

While all your friends got chocolates,
Roses, and diamond rings,
I gave you a gun and a box of shells,
A few of my favorite things,

You may have looked, and seen a fool,
Who didn’t know you at all,
But the truth is that this gift was proof,
That for you, I did fall,

My life has had it’s troubles,
But these moments, precious few,
Allow my soul to catch it’s breath,
And my gift was to share them with you,

Trudging out at four a.m.,
To get a jump on the sun,
Hiking winding desert trails,
To find quail on the run,

The smell of smoke and creosote,
The sound of flapping wings,
The gentle fall, and the chucker call,
What joy these moments bring,

I gave those gifts to let you know,
I never want us to part,
Where I am, there you should be,
The one who holds my heart,

Happy Valentine’s Day

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