Friday, June 25, 2010

A Memory

The other day my oldest son, Devon reminded me of the time I shot an oppossum. I had totally forgotten about it. But he was little then, maybe 4 or 5 years old and it stands out in his memory.

I was living with 3 other men (it was shortly after I divorced my 1st wife) in a big ranch house in Cupertino. I didn't care much for the house or the City of Cupertino (They wouldn't let me replace the lawn with a vegetable garden nor build a shooting range in the back yard) about the only things about the house I liked were the apricot tree in front yard and the fig tree in the backyard. And behind the back yard was open space: Hills coverd in grasses, scrub oaks, and bays. On Independence Day we would climb the hill behind the house and watch fireworks all over Silicon Valley.

Every morning I would walk out to the back yard and check on the figs. I would say to my self, "oooo that one is almost ripe. I'll pick it tomorrow." But when I would go back the next morning it would be gone. This happened several times. My boys, Billy and Devon said they weren't eating the figs so I knew it must be an animal. One morning I went outside with my SKS (I sold it to a guy in Texas when California outlwed my particular configuration.) before dawn and waited. It wasn't long before the varmint made his appearance. It was an opossum.

I had only owned that particular rifle for a few weeks and had not fired it before. I knew the ammunition it fired, the 7.62 X 39mm Warsaw Pact cartridge was a little more power than I needed to kill an oppossum. I could have used my little .380 calibre Spansih Foreign Legion pistol, but I am a very bad shot with a handgun. You know the saying about the broad side of a barn? That applies to all cases of me shooting a pistol. So I shot the oppossum with my rifle.

The result was more than I expected. When I hunted squirrels and rabbits with a .22 LR there was always a squirrel or rabbit body to recover. When I hunted wild pigs with a 12 gauge shotgun the pig didn't go to pieces when hit by the buck shot. But the opossum was torn in twain by the projectile from my rifle. It was shocking and untidy but after that I did get to enjoy the figs from the tree.

I had not remembered this event for years. Not until Devon reminded me had I given it any thought. But it was, at the time, kind of a big deal. (Angry housemates.) It makes me wonder what else I have forgotten.

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