I grew up in rural Arkansas, just one generation away from folks who lived through the great depression, back when many isolated people survived, literally, on their ability to grow and hunt food. My stepdad was one of those guys (a really great guy). He introduced me to hunting at an early age.
So yesterday was like a trip back in time for me. Our friends Larry and Gabrielle put on a successful event, a sporting clays shooting competition (something I've always called skeet shooting), with the proceeds going to Southeastern Guide Dogs. Men and women wandered around the event dressed in hunting clothes and carrying shotguns--I haven't seen that in quite a while.
Cheryl is still sick in bed, so she didn't get to go. When I saw Berkeley's ultra-waggy tail, I realized how much I missed her this week. And I could see that John was clearly happy to get Dodger back.
Quite a few guide dogs puppies were there, and none seemed to mind the pop, pop of the guns. Maybe it's in their genes; those generations of Labs trained to sit quietly while their owners miss one duck after another. Of course, these Labs have taken on the coat, a higher calling.
After the shooting came lunch on rows of picnic tables, then a raffle run by Larry, who is really a funny guy. There was a serious message, too: many service people are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with injuries, many have lost their sight, and SEGD provides a way to help them get back on their feet.
Like at all of these fund-raisers, I felt surrounded by some of the nicest human beings on earth. Don't get me wrong--I'm no more likely to take up shooting than many of these shooters are likely to take up yoga. But I appreciate the sport and the history behind it.
Too bad my stepdad is gone--he really would have enjoyed yesterday.