I think between my sisters stories of my dad and Quanah Parker and Gilbert Snead and my stories of his poker parties, it has been firmly established that our dad is quite the character. But he at least HAS character so he is a character full of character. He definitely has lived life to the fullest and made sure all six of us kids had a good foundation.
Daddy has always been a well respected member of his community, even during his hell raising days. People came to my dad for help on a variety of issues. Sometimes when people needed firewood they would come to my dad, or if they needed land cleared, or if they needed “shine”. Sometimes if they needed water found for a well they would come to my dad and since my dad had lots of guns and knew a lot about them if people had “trouble” with their guns, a lot of time they would come to my dad for help or advice.
Sometimes people would bring him their guns because they would be stuck and wouldn’t shoot, sometimes they couldn’t get them cleaned properly, sometimes they couldn’t get the “sights” just right. There were numerous times and reasons that people would come to my dad for help.
I just always remember there being guns in the house. Not just lying around, they were put away in closets or locked away in gun cabinets. I always had a healthy respect for guns along with a fascination with them. There always seemed to be a vast array of pistols, rifles and shotguns around. And seeing my dad sitting at the kitchen table cleaning his guns was not an uncommon occurrence.
He taught all of us the basics and also taught us all how to shoot a gun. I think the first time I remember shooting a gun I was about 4 years old. SuziCate wasn’t even born yet. I remember that the barrel seemed like it was longer than I was tall and my dad had to reach around me and hold it up for me. He squatted behind me and I remember wondering why he didn’t just stand beside me because it would have been easier than reaching around but I soon found out because as soon as I pulled the trigger, it kicked so hard it knocked me backwards, right into his chest. Had he not been there I would have been flat on my back looking up at the sky. So that was my first introduction to guns that I remember. And I did grow up to become an expert marksman (woman, whatever) so his training stuck.
One time, I want to say it was probably the mid 80’s because I think we had all left home by then (I know I had and I’m pretty sure SuziCate had too) which would have put it after like 82 or 83. One of my dad’s friends had given him a gun that they were having trouble with and couldn’t get it to shoot. They said they had tried everything to get it to work and couldn’t so they brought it to my dad. He had worked on it many times and couldn’t get it to shoot either. He had resorted to taking the entire gun apart and putting it back together and still couldn’t make it shoot.
One day he came home from work early (it must have been raining which would have meant he couldn’t work) so he was home before Mama got home from work and he was sitting on the bed which was right across from their half bath in their trailer. That confounded gun that was giving him so much trouble caught his attention so he took it and sat down on the bed with it and was just starting to work on it when B A M!!! The danged thing went off and blew their toilet to smithereens!!!! He was sitting at the head of the bed and it hit the toilet right at the base and blew it clear off the floor. Must have been in a thousand pieces. Scared the crap out of him because it was about ten minutes before Mama got home from work and as he put it “Damn good thing she won’t home yet cause she’d a been sitting there and sure as the world, wouldn’t nobody EVER believe that THAT was a accident!”
I think when Mama got home he was still in shock. At least we got years of laughter out of him “blowing up the toilet” but not in the way that most people mean it!