I went to my very first skeet shooting and wine tasting party at Julie’s farm last week. You never know when your first skeet shooting and wine tasting party is also going to be your last. I wasn’t listening that closely when I was invited and heard something about shot this or shot that, and I thought it involved Alabama slammers, kamikazes, or maybe, sex-on-the-beach with an orgasm chaser. But this thing actually involved a fairly large arsenal of handguns, shotguns, rifles and of course a pink BB gun. It seemed like everybody in the place was packing. Mike had a .357, a police special .38 and what looked like a Kevlar vest just in case someone else had outgunned him. I thought I saw him pull a taser when I was reaching for the last chicken skewer.
I brought an appetizer, my shotgun and a couple of bandolero bullet belts. I was wearing a duster to affect a slightly menacing look, and also in case the place was dusty. It looked like we had barged in on a gun amnesty program. I thought I saw a hand grenade on the buffet table but it turned out to be a pineapple.
Lew and Rob ran the target shooting areas with safety in mind, and no one was killed or seriously hurt. Or even humorously hurt. I shouldn’t say no one, since I tripped up the stairs twice at the barn. Everyone had earplugs to use against the noise, and I noticed several people even wore them later on as I was talking to them, I’m not sure why.
Many guests had never fired a live weapon, and seeing so many women with guns was both exciting and unnerving. I myself had never shot a handgun, so I stepped up to the target area. I waved off the instruction, since I had watched the beginning of every James Bond movie at least 50 times. The target said to me, “So, Mr. Bond, we meet again- and this time, the cards are in MY favor. HA HA HA HA HA!” I wryly responded, “You had better check your hand once more, my friend… perhaps you hadn’t counted on THIS!” I spread my feet, lifted my sidearm using both hands, and emptied the clip. The target did not go down, so I threw the gun at it, momentarily confusing James Bond with Superman. Lew pried the gun out of my hand, saying something about having to re-sod the lawn now.
I fared a little better with the shotgun, since I have shot skeet before. Luckily, most of the clay pigeons broke coming out of the thrower, and if I shot quickly and winked I could create the illusion of success. Most of the birds fell harmlessly into the lake, and when I say harmlessly, I’m not counting all the fish who were beaned in the head. I asked Julie if she could put some of the fish into a barrel so we could shoot them and see if it was as easy as people say.
The estate was spectacular and beautiful. The grounds so big they could only be navigated by Segways with knobby tires. If you have never ridden a Segway, it’s quite a treat: you simply get on, and after you chase it about 20 feet trying to get on, you just lean in one direction or the other to turn or go forward or backward. The property slopes to the west, so several Republicans fell off the thing trying to turn left.
The wine tasting was also lovely, except for a tense moment when somebody popped a champagne cork and everybody hit the deck, still a little gun-shy. The venison was quite tasty, and it turned out that the boys had killed it themselves. No one would actually admit that they ran into it with their car, but I did see an antler-sized dent in the fender. There was a beautiful duck on the table that the menfolk had shot and stuffed. They said it was a hooded merganser, but I couldn’t tell one way or the other with the hood on.
Everyone brought an appetizer, and my wife made a delicious chicken and ginger offering. I kind of wished we had shot the chicken ourselves, but it was already dead so it seemed pointless. I did however empty some lead into the ginger.
I hope Julie doesn’t mind, but on my way to the party I took the liberty of stopping by the neighbor’s house to feign asking directions, and I let them know our two families were having a nasty blood feud and we were still pretty pissed off that the North won the war. When the gunfire started I pictured them shivering under the bed pretending to be dead.
Incidentally, the Puckle gun was unveiled in 1718 by James Puckle. Some say that “necessity is the mother of invention,” but it’s possible that having a name like Puckle is, instead. It fired square bullets, an upgrade over his previous design, which fired bullets in the shape of a parallelogram. Samuel Colt was the first to apply modern machining and mass production to the manufacture of firearms, his patent for the Colt revolver issued in 1836. Muzzle-loaders went out with the Crimean War in 1856, with the exception of my dog.