Sunday, July 1, 2012

It is SUnday and I am beginning to feel semi human again

The shipyard took a lot out of me and I am recovering a little more slowly than I did when I was in my 20s.

The weather is a little cooler today and I think that makes quite a difference. I have things to do and I will get to them as time permits.

Yesterday afternoon I went looking for the ten year-old boy that lives across the street. He's growing like a weed and seems pretty responsible. Ten is a pretty good age for a pet sitter because at ten a kid like this is old enough to be responsible but too young to have a girlfriend. That means he will come over alone and not bring a friend.

I saw him out in the yard yesterday and shouted for him to stay put and grabbed my Garand and headed over. I handed the kid the big battle rifle and said to him, "I have a little job for you. Guard duty. You know what to do and you have been trained. If anyone even looks at that cat cross-eyed, put a fast two in his chest and then draw a good sight picture and put another one in his skull so he doesn't get up."

A Garand is a heavy, 42 inch long battle rifle. It is almost as ong as the kid is tall. The springs are hard on small hands so I had locked the bolt back and the kid checked the chamber to see of it was loaded. He is trained well. His dad has seen to that.

His mother looked at me and simply asked me if I had a rifle that would fit the boy a little better. I said I did, took the Garand and ran home and returned with a carbine which is several inches shorter. I handed it to the boy. This was more managable and he racked the action to see that chamber was empty.

"That's better," said the mother.

It has taken her a while to figure out my sense of humor and she and I get along fine. Most women would have gone off like a skyrocket if I had handed their son a rifle, or even a BB gun.

Of course, her husband and I have gotten along well since Day One.

I explained to the boy that I needed a cat sitter from time to time and he's game.

I also know the boy's father will accompany him the first several times to make sure he knows what to do.

Most people chalk kids up as being too young for things but the truth is that at that age, boys want to become men in the worst way. I know I did. That boy will come over daily and even maybe even twice a day and look after my cat like a mother watches a newborn just to prove he is responsible and get approval from the menfolk.

Putting youngsters in positions of responsibility is nothing new to me. Back when I was occasionally the range officer at CMP matches we would get new shooters and I would assign them a partner, generally the youngest kid there.

There were more than one new shooter in his thirties, forties or fifties that would give me an incredulous look when I would whistle and shout to a 12 year old kid and say to him, "Train this guy. If he screws up, it'll be your ass!"

It was always a win/win situation. The kid got something to do that kept him out of everyone's hair and the older guy learned and generally treated the kid with the respect he deserved. I only had one guy grumble about it and by the time I got through with him he was pretty humbled.

A few of the older new shooters were jazzed to be trained by a kid. They knew what I was doing and it always worked out. One of my favorite things to watch was after I put an old WW2 vet with a 12 year old a few years back. The pair of them got along famously and it was funny to watch a 12 year old kid and an 80 something year old man fooling around and playing grabass.

Anyway I figure I found myself a pretty good cat sitter until he gets old enough to discover girls and then all bets are off.

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