Sunday, September 4, 2016

One of the things about Camp Perry is that even though I am

generally a First Class BS artist, I ALWAYS have time to listen to the younger people.

I had a chat with a youngster from Texas a few years back. He told me that he had more interest in playing the trumpet than shooting.

What is interesting is that his music teacher had told him that if he ever loses interest in playing his trumpet to simply sell it and not look back. Sounds like interesting advice to me. There is nothing worse than doing something you don’t enjoy because other people expect it.

He wanted to drop out of the shooting program and devote the time to playing the trumpet. I asked him if he was going to sell his service rifle.
 “Not hardly,” He said. “I’ll just put it away, keep it and practice with it every so often so in case I need it I’ll have it.”

Smart kid. 

I like most of the kids I have met at Perry. It’s probably because the parents are conservative and raise their kids to be fairly independent. It’s sometimes fun to throw a curve or two at them because most of them are pretty sharp and confident.

I see that a lot of the parents know that their job is to protect them from the things they can’t handle and they let them handle the things they can.

One time at a meal a father sat down diagonally from me. His daughter sat down across from me. She was about 20. When she was seated I looked at her. My greeting to her was simple. “In all of the gin joints in all of the towns in all of the world and she walks into mine.” It is a Bogart line from ‘Casablanca’.

Her face lit up and she turned to her father. “Hey, Dad,” she said. “Here’s one of those guys you warned me about.”

It turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship as the pair of us bantered our way through the meal. He father was smart enough to stay out of it and didn’t say a word. It was plain that he was pretty proud of her. She was sharp, quick-witted and I had my hands full with her. We parried back and forth about what is really stupid stuff and trivia and we both had fun. What impressed me was her confidence. She was obviously going places.

I later met them both at separate times. I had brief conversations with both of them. Her dad was interesting and I told him he had done well raising her. He beamed with pride.

Later that week I chatted with a somewhat concerned father. His son, while doing fairly well in school didn’t seem to want to go the college route. He wanted to work in the trades.

“Ever hire a plumber? An electrician?” I asked.

He had hired an electrician a while ago. I asked him if the electrician was a worker for a big electrical outfit or a small time contractor.

“I think he said he had two other guys working for him,” he said.

“So you hired an entrepreneur that happened to be in the electrical business.” I said. “You hired a businessman that has never seen the inside of a college classroom, right? What’s the matter with becoming something like that? I bet that guy makes more than you or I do.”

“I never looked at it that way,” he confessed. “Maybe you’re right.”

“Yeah,” I said. “He’ll find his own way if he doesn’t fall into one of the three big traps. That’s what you have to watch out for.”

“What are they?” he asked.

“Drugs, alcohol and knocking that foxy little cheerleader up,” I replied.

He looked at me sharply. “I don’t see drugs,” he said. “He doesn’t know it, but I do know he has a beer or two but that’s about it. He got sick on it a while ago and seems to have learned his lesson. As for pregnancy, he’s got a regular girlfriend and I really don’t know a hell of a lot about what goes on when I’m not there. I’m going to have to have a long talk with that boy.”

“Young man,” I corrected. “He’s not a boy anymore. Incidentally of the Big Three, pregnancy is the easiest one to deal with. You help him out with raising your grandchild. It’s the other two you can’t help out with. Drugs and alcohol involve demons that have to be exorcised by the individual. You can’t really do much but stand by.”

He nodded.

“He’ll be OK. He’ll find his own way and make out just fine,” I said.

It was pretty clear he was looking at his son in a better light.

A few years later I heard the son was in an apprenticeship program and was well on his way to becoming a journeyman electrician. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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