Monday, March 24, 2014

Part Ten: Shootout At The OK Canal

As I stated in his first post, once weekly I plan to feature a guest writer, my husband. Since we have no children, he has been painstakingly writing down the stories of his childhood to share them with his then 9 year old niece. I wanted her to know what kind of childhood her beloved Uncle was able to enjoy. While enjoying them myself I thought these are so much fun to read, why not share them? So here are the short missives of his memories of growing up in wilds of Florida during the 1950's and 1960's. They're packed with misadventures, romance, and all the confusing things that can happen in our youth. Even though his hometown of Jacksonville is a big city with over a million residents now, during his childhood it was several small communities surrounded by countryside.

This is his story.

(Please note: None of the photos in this post are from our files. They are all from the internet.)

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Shootout At The OK Canal
by Steven R. Hudson

There were certain items in Grandma Cootie's house that were off limits to me and my cousins, Uncle Bill's guns. They were everywhere about the house. There was a revolver atop the dresser in Grandma's bedroom. A Winchester rifle was leaned in the corner of the living room and Uncle Bill's Walther pistol, a war souvenir, was often lying on a desk top. We youngsters were warned that these guns were always loaded and we were not to touch them. We never did for we feared the consequences. In order to satisfy our youthful curiosity, Uncle Bill took me and cousins Billy and Johnny down an old dirt road that followed one of the many local drainage canals. We were going shooting and were agog with excitement. We had never shot anything other than BB guns but now we would be handling and shooting real firearms. Uncle Bill stopped the car in a wooded place on the canal bank and went about setting up some old cans as targets.
 His old Winchester .22 rifle was taken out and it's safe operation explained to us. Soon we were taking turns enjoying the crack of the rifle and watching the cans topple.We shot the little rifle until our ears rang and, all too soon, it was time to leave. Before we left though, Uncle bill got out his .30-30 lever action Winchester to demonstrate the difference between this rifle and the little .22 we had been shooting. He told us to cover our ears and then fired at a small pine tree growing on the canal bank. CRACK-BOOM went the rifle and the tree seemed to explode at it's base and then topple over. We were dumbstruck. I now dreamed of having my own rifle and the fulfillment of that dream was not far off.

Grandma and Uncle Bill did not live in St. Lucie long when they decided to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Uncle Bill had been a plastering contractor for years but now dry wall was replacing plaster as the favored way to finish interior walls. Adobe style houses, common in New Mexico, required skilled plaster work. We would not see my Grandma or Uncle Bill for the next few years. They would hit on hard times in New Mexico and never recover the prosperity they had enjoyed in previous years. When they returned to Florida, they moved in with Gramoddy. Years later, they would homestead an island on the Indian River where many more great adventures awaited.


linda said...

Fun times growing up for sure!

Carol B. said...

Your husband's stories are so much fun to read. My hubby could almost tell the same one about the rifles, except it was his father that took him out to the woods to shoot. He has both rifles still and takes very good care of them. He's ex-military and owns several firearms. He's taught our 3 daughters how to safely handle all of them, out at the range.

Simply Linda said...

I can't wait to hear more. Smiles & Blessings

Monkeywrangler said...

So, will we get the story of Hubby's first rifle?

White Lace and Promises said...

Sounds like a man with a family history of adventure.

Wiregrass Steve said...

Story of the first rifle will follow soon.