For several summers, grandmother would take us to visit relatives in Georgia. One family member, a cousin I think, named Cranford Dollar (no relation to Dollar Tree), who lived in Bainbridge or Valdosta, Georgia, had a watermelon farm and a pigpen, along with various other farm animals. One morning he came in and asked my cousin if he and I would take the tractor out to the watermelon field and gather about 50 BIG watermelons, then bring them back, crack them open on the side of the wagon, and feed the hogs. Sounded good!
Did I mention it was about 95*? No worries. We gathered up the melons, drove the tractor and wagon back to the pigpen, and proceeded to crack open the melons and eat the hearts (best part) out of most of the watermelons.
Brother, was that a life lesson. Don’t try that at home. I had the worst stomachache I had ever had in my life. Florence Nightingale to the rescue. Grandmother knew just what to do. 7 Milk of Magnesium tablets later, I had the runs so bad I had to watch my step. Oh! That’s because they had an OUTHOUSE! It was 50 feet from the main house. Why didn’t I see this coming? So, after 8 trips back and forth I felt clean as a whistle. Grandma had a cure for everything!
Another time we visited another Aunt (Glenda, I believe) in another Georgia town. She made the (bar none) BEST iced tea I ever drank! SWEET! She grew peas and had an electric fence around here pea patch. My sister found out the hard way what that was all about! She grabbed that fence and peed in her pants.
I decided to go rambling elsewhere. They had a lane about 200 long, with tall trees on either side. I was a pretty good shot with a slingshot and spent most of my days shooting at squirrels (never killing one).
Thanksgiving came around. Hmmm. Guess we were on Thanksgiving break from school! My aunt told me about a Turkey Shoot down the road. All you had to do was shoot a shotgun at a 12” x 12” piece of cardboard nailed to a post and the one whose shotgun pellet came closest to the X on the card won a 20 lb turkey. $1 a shot. Mind you, I had NEVER shot a shotgun in my life.
It was all I could do to pick the darn thing up. It turned out to be a double barrel, 12 gauge shotgun. She gave me half dozen shells and sent me to the store. I got there and there were about a 100 people gathered round in a horseshoe shaped ring, watching the action.
When it was my turn, remember, I had never shot one of these cannons in my life, I step up to the line…remember, the audience was formed in a horseshoe ring around the targets so they could get a close view. I opened the chambers, dropped the 2 shells in the gun. When I closed the breach, BOOM! The gun misfired. You never saw so many people make a straight line after that! My shoulder was killing me. The recoil on that weapon was insane!
Not to be a quitter, I got 2 more shells and placed them in the chamber. Let’s see. This had cost $1. Did I really want to do it AGAIN? An older gentleman came to my aide and showed me how to close the gun without it going off. That was very nice of him. I’m sure the crowd was relieved as well.
Ok. I picked it up again. Picture if you would. I weighed about 70 lbs dripping wet. I placed that gun hard on my shoulder, and once again helped by the kind stranger. BOOM! I got up and noticed I was about 12 feet back from where I shot! Even better, not one of those pellets even hit the cardboard! Oh, my gosh! Did my shoulder hurt?
It turned black, blue, green and yellow in the following week. The good news is they GAVE me a turkey just so I wouldn’t take a third shot, lol!
We got back home and I was a hero, lol. They fixed the best Thanksgiving feast you can imagine! Someone broke down and told what happened. We all had a good laugh while I iced my shoulder. I never shot a shotgun again or any kind of gun for that matter.
Author Notes: Brace yourself when shooting a shotgun!