Upon arrival I checked in with Celeste Dennison at CeCa on Commercial Row. It's always my first stop. Celeste makes ear plugs and has since Teddy Roosevelt commissioned the National Matches.
We yakked a few minutes and it was time to check in with the match people.
When I arrived young Sp/4 filled out the necessary forms for me.
I cased had the joint out before I entered through the windows and saw it was the same as it usually is and entered with a white cane and sunglasses.
The young Sp/4 was with a PFC sitting behind the desk and she hopped up and she gave me her arm and led me to her spot and went back around, took a form and asked me my name. She started filling out the forms without a second thought. She simply asked me the pertinent questions and filled out the form as I answered.
It is amazing how professional the young soldiers are these days. She didn't bat an eyelash.
She wasn't fooled, though. After we were finished with the paperwork she gave me her arm and took me to the 'moving chair line' and sat me down.
Along the way she proved to me that she was nobody's fool. She whispered to me that it was the best attempt she had seen at trying to 'buck the line' and sat me down. I waited like everyone else.
The shooter next to me saw my charade and grinned that it was the best case of proactive cover your ass in case of a lousy score he had ever seen.
When it was my turn to head up to fill the 'hold harmless' paper the Sp/4 was there like a mother hen and suppressing a smirk led me to the CMP woman. She had a pleasant L.A. (Lower Alabama) accent.
She guided my hand so I could sign on the line but I don't think she was really fooled, either.
After that it was housing time and nothing was open. A couple of quick phone calls fixed that. One of the state teams had a spare bunk in a hutment and it was mine for the asking. It would have been a freebie but I insisted on paying for it, or at least donating 'to the cause'. (Thank you, Gunny.)
Then it was off to the Marine barracks to deliver my annual case of iced beer. The Marine barracks served as my hideaway for a lot of the time I was there. The first evening I was there I watched them coach a few juniors behind the barracks. The Marines are pretty good about that and do a wonderful PR job and make the Corps look pretty good.
I ran around for a couple hours, got in touch with my host for the evening. We visited a team off post, grabbed a quick bite, returned to post and hit the rack. 0400 comes early and we both had an 0545 appointment on Viale Range for the Garand Match.
We woke up in the dark and used cell phones to get ready. As soon as I was geared up I grabbed all my stuff) and crammed it into my pickup and fired it up. I was headed to breakfast but changed course.
Shooters tend to be early and I realized I'd not get a parking place on Viale unless I skipped breakfast. Instead of biscuits and gravy I slammed down a couple of diet shakes to kill the hunger pangs I knew were coming. It proved to be a good decision.
I got a good parking spot and didn't get the 10 AM hunger pangs.
We both opted for the 3rd and 4th relay. He wanted to get the Garand match over with early as he had another match schedules right afterwards. I wanted to get pit duty out of the way when it was still cool out. Another good decision.
We pulled targets for the 1st and 2nd relay and when the pits were cleared we shot. My friend shot first, me second.
He won a silver, much to his disappointment. He's usually a gold medal winner.
A few years back the most recalled comment of the President's match was made by an old man. He was shooting a pretty good knot in the 8-ring at 6 O'clock. The Marine he was squadded with told him if he'd set his rear sight a couple of clicks up he'd be tearing up the ten ring.
The old man looked at the young Marine and said, "Young man, I am 76 years old. That target is 600 yards away and "I'M HITTING IT!"
I felt pretty much the same way.
I had not fired a rifle in several months, a Garand in two or three years and that Garand in particular in well over a decade. It is possible it has been fifteen years since the rifle has been fired.
I got all of my rounds safely into Lake Erie which means a perfect match. As for my lousy score, I was actually somewhat surprised.
As I have often said, my offhand is usually lousy and I jerked two rounds off during the offhand. One landed outside of the scoring rings and was scored as a miss. Go figure, the other one I jerked landed in the X-ring.
Leave it to me to jerk one into the X-ring.
After that my friend and I parted company as he had another match to shoot.
All in all I met a bunch of old friends and made a couple of new ones, had a pretty good time and got to unwind a bit from the same old same old.
My regret is that before I left, Celeste had shut her doors and I didn't get to check in with her before I left.
If anyone reads this and is at Perry now, please tell her the Hyman Skrunkle guy wishes he had the opportunity to check out with her.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this:
http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY