Friday, October 28, 2011

Mama's Got a Gun

Jacqueline Sharon Reed, was born in Michigan many a moon ago. She grew up in the rural southeastern section of the state amid a beyond large family. Plenty of brothers, sisters, cousins and such. She spent all of her younger life there before moving south to start a family of her own. While growing up she was at the head of her class during her school years and being of a pre computer, TV in every room world she made her entertainment outdoors. Part of her fun outside was learning to shoot a BB gun which back then probably amounted to an old Red Ryder by Daisy.


Not having much money to spend they devised a way to save bbs to reuse that only a poor kid would think of. Even back then you could buy bbs in a tube that was about the diameter of a quarter, she would take the bbs out of the tube, place the tube on the ground as a target then shoot the bbs back into the tube. She said she could go a couple of days on one tube which was about all she could afford but it made her a great shot with a cheap bb gun. Even though she went years without shooting after she was grown her skills with that trick never left her, she was just a good shot. She was a good storyteller. She was a person who never met a kid she didn’t help take care of including taking some in that needed a home. She was a good cook, kept an inquiring mind, had a sweet singing voice and left us far too soon. She was also my Mom.
In many ways I think I followed in her footsteps, I did well in school, love the outdoors even though I grew up in a city and learned to shoot starting with a Daisy. I was lucky to have her as my teacher when it came to guns, she taught me safety as well as marksmanship. She had the patience of a stone most of the time and would sit with me on the porch steps teaching me the shoot them into the tube trick while telling me stories of her growing up. I would buy bbs for a quarter in the same type of cardboard tube that she did and we would sit for hours shooting in the backyard.
As I grew a little older I bought a Crosman 760 which was a big step up in power and the lessons I had been taught let me have a great time for several years before I graduated to my first 410 shotgun. By then I had become a really good shot with Mom giving me advice when I needed it and always words of encouragement. Finally I put aside the bb guns for things that went boom and never looked at them again for many years.

  After at least a quarter century of not shooting airguns I bought an adult version which I still shoot today. While I hope to upgrade it in the future I still have fun sitting out back punching paper. There is many a time while shooting I will think back to those wonderful summer afternoons with my Mom plinking away, listening intently as a good son should, hearing stories of family I never met. I learned some family history, stories of things she did in school, tales of her watching tornadoes cut across flat fields and all manner of things that I wish I could remember word for word.

She has been gone a few years now and to be honest this post was not fun to write, I really miss her but I wanted all of you to share in one of my best memories. Strange to me how many folks tell of how much a Dad or Uncle influenced them or taught them skills but rarely is Mom mentioned but I know they helped. My Mom didn’t just help but did it all for me and I hope I told her enough how much it meant.

Everyone be safe if you are getting out to the woods, lakes or streams and if your folks are still around tell them how much their lessons mean to you.

Photo credits: Used shamelessly off the interweb.


larryb said...

A fine and very inspiring post Tommy. In fact I think I just may get back into blogging again, with a tribute post to a wonderful woman from my past, that I wish now I would have Thanked even more than I did. Thanx for sharing those tender feelings with us all brother. lb

Anonymous said...

Someday I hope I can be "that" Mom to my Son.

Thanks so much Tommy for sharing this!

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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