Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Cast Iron Assault Weapon—Armed to the Teeth

My Cast Iron Assault Weapon—Armed to the Teeth

With all the uproar in the news about individual rights and freedoms, I would be remiss if I didn’t chime in, ring a bell or two. Definitions seem to change with shifting political sands. Today’s “individual rights and freedoms” seem to dictate that it be my patriotic pleasure, my civic duty, indeed, my birth right, to own, cherish and caress an assault weapon.

I’m not adverse to guns. Once I owned a sweet little Winchester .30-30 saddle carbine. Those were good times. My husband and I would saddle up, slide our rifles into the scabbards, and head out back of the coulee in search of a fat dry doe to get us through the winter. Now and then I visit pawn shops in nostalgic search for that rifle.

Later years I lived in Cascade and worked in Great Falls. Hap, my boss, talked me into the necessity of owning “protection”. I found a nice little .38 police special that felt balanced in my hand. Hap taught me to shoot it and advised me to keep the gun with me, loaded, when I traveled. I had no illusions what the gun was intended to do, however, I could not imagine a situation in which I would use it. After a month of worrisome lugging that gun with me everywhere I went, I buried it, unloaded, on the top shelf of the closet. I was scared I’d drop it and shoot my foot. A couple years later I traded that pistol to a young man for a vacuum cleaner, a more suitable weapon in my hands.

The other morning at coffee, Richard told the story about his short romance with an automatic weapon. “There was a big sale on this super-dooper-blast-them-all-to-smithereens “varmint” shooter that unloaded a full clip in five seconds. So I bought one and took it out into the hills, set up a target and shot a clip through it. Hey, it was kinda fun. So I loaded the other clip and ratcheted through that one. Then I was out of ammo. I looked at the pile of brass at my feet. It would take me two days of serious reloading before I could go back to the hills for ten minutes of excitement.” Now he owns a couple ancient rifles that were handed down in the family. He’ll pass them on to his son.

What kind of fantasy world do people live in who think that if our country is invaded by “foreign devils”, civilians will instantly man up a la John Wayne, a well-ordered militia crouched behind sagebrush, picking off the enemy. If we were attacked by a modern military force, we’d be toast as fast as Richard ran through two clips of ammo. Get a grip, honey. It’s a different world out there.

If I were to worry, it would be about those deluded souls who think they can turn their brothers and sisters into Swiss cheese and once the show is over, all the players will get up, brush off the dust and get ready for the next episode, heroes. I don’t care if you own guns. I hope you know what you are doing with them. Life is not a game.

My son-in-law keeps a walking stick by the door. If someone were to break into his house he says he wouldn’t have time to go get a gun. He’d just grab the stick. I tell him he wouldn’t have to worry. The bad guy would have to pick his way through every conceivable plastic toy known to girl-child. He’d be on the floor with three ankle-biter dogs licking his face. Out of self-defense, he’d have no choice but to pick up a Polly Pocket and play dolls with Toni, my granddaughter.

Personally, I’d reach for my cast iron frying pan. My friends know that I’m a wicked hand with a skillet. If I didn’t whop him over the head, I’d feed him.

I like to keep it simple. I’d slice well-aged back-strap into half inch dollops and dredge them thoroughly with flour, salt, and pepper. I’d drop each slice into hot bacon grease sizzling in the skillet. For full flavor, I’m careful to not overcook the meat, a couple minutes on each side should do. It doesn’t matter what you serve with the venison, but for me, mashed potatoes with gravy made from the same bacon grease is hard to beat.

If we’d treat one another with the same care we treat our stomachs, there would be little need to arm ourselves, little need to fear our neighbors, whether they be next door, across town or across the oceans. But I keep the skillet handy, just in case folks drop in unexpectedly. “Howdy, neighbor. Come on in and sit a spell and I’ll whip up a bite to eat.” Make dinner, not war.

Sondra Ashton

HDN: Looking out my back door

January 24, 2013

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