**Quick disclaimer: This part of my story contains sport shooting guns. Especially with the recent tragedies, I know this is a highly volatile subject for some. PLEASE KNOW that while we are gun owners, ours are secured and extreme caution is used with and around them.
When he arrived home, he smiled, kissed her and informed her that he had to get a few quick things and they would be leaving. She grabbed her jacket and purse and went to wait for him by his truck. She peeked in the back, and from what she could see, was pretty sure she knew where they were going. He had his guns and targets in the backseat, so they had to be going to The Pit. She was excited and a little apprehensive too. She had shot guns with Sir before, but they still scared her. He threw the last few items in the back and they were off. Just as she suspected, they were indeed headed to The Pit.
The Pit is an old gravel quarry way out in the woods that people use as a backstop for target practice. Usually during this time of the year it is inaccessible due to heavy snow, but this year the roads were manageable in 4 wheel drive. They arrived and she instantly saw that he had been out there earlier in the day, preparing for their arrival. There were targets already set up, and a large pile of cribbed wood in the middle of the pit. It was a very nice day somewhat warmer than typical for January, with the sun setting on the tall pines and snow all around.
Sir turned off the truck and came around to her door to help her out. He took her hand and led her to the back where he opened the tailgate. He quickly set up the propane heater and started it blasting nice hot air to keep her warm. The first weapon he pulled out was a small .32 Smith and Wesson handgun with fixed iron sites. It had belonged to his Great-Grandfather. He had given it to Sir’s Grandfather one day, telling him “I need you to take this so I won’t kill my wife with it.” You see, Sir’s Great-Grandfather was a very strong Roman-Catholic from Italy, and even though he HATED his second wife, he could never divorce her because the church wouldn’t allow it. So, via his Grandfather, Sir now owned this gun. Sir told her all about the gun, how to load it, how to empty it and how the iron sites were used. They put on ear protection and she emptied 24 rounds into the clay targets and paper box. She found the iron sites to be a bit of a challenge, but really enjoyed the power she felt with her finger on the trigger. She may not have hit the bulls-eye every time, but guaranteed, if any of the targets had been an intruder, that intruder was toast. 🙂 Sir told her this would now be her gun, to keep her safe when he was away.
The next weapon to come out of the back was a .17 HMR rifle. It was big, shiny and jet black with a large mounted scope. Sir had won it at a Ducks Unlimited Banquet 2 years prior. Again, he showed her how to work the safety, load, unload, and aim the gun at targets that were MUCH further away this time. He eased her fears, telling her the gun had no recoil, and she rested it across the hood of the truck and took aim. She actually squealed when the first target was hit in the bulls-eye on the very first shot. All subsequent 6 shots hit their target and Sir put the gun away, a big smile on both of their faces.
By now, the sun was almost completely gone and dark was heavy on the trees. She had to wait a few minutes while he fussed around behind the truck. Soon he was trotting away from the truck, toward the nice pile of cribbed wood carrying a gallon jug with him. He placed it on a piece of concrete that sat about 5 feet in front of the crib, and started a small fire in between the jug and the crib. Sir ran back to where she was waiting. He pulled out an extremely large rifle, a .220 Swift, which he said shot at extremely high velocity. With the biggest grin on his face he said, “This is about to be what is known as a ‘Redneck Bonfire’. Fire in the Hole!”, and shot that gallon jug. Well, that jug was full of gasoline, and when it exploded onto that little fire, the erupting fireball shot about 40 feet into the air and rained down onto the snow, setting the cribbed wood ablaze. It was truly spectacular.
They packed up the few remaining items from shooting, and moved the truck closer to the fire. Sir backed it up so the tailgate was the perfect distance from the fire to sit and enjoy the warmth. To make sure she was completely comfortable, he also moved the hot propane heater so she was surrounded by a curtain of heat. He retrieved a small cooler from the back. “Would you eat a picnic dinner with me, my love?”
Her face nearly hurt from the grin that formed on her face, and she quickly informed him “That would be wonderful, Sir.” He used that brilliant fire to slowly roast hot dogs. While he squatted and roasted, she fed them both the delicious Greek salad that he had brought. For dessert, they feasted on carefully prepared, decadent S’mores. It was the perfect end to a perfect date with her Sir.
As she finished packing up the very last of the dinner, she noticed him putting more wood on the almost dead fire. “We don’t want to stoke that and leave it do we?” she quietly asked.