KTKC: Best New Shooter Report – 80 Year Old Grandmother

I’d like you to meet Nana.

She’s 80 years young and awesome.  As a kid, my cousin and I would spend a month with Nana and Granddad every summer.  We’d take over the basement and refer to it as our apartment.  She taught me the value of proper grammar, much to my childhood frustration.

Me: Me and Mandy…

Nana: Mandy is not mean

Me: *grumble* Mandy and I…

She sat through countless hairbrush concerts with me using a coffee table as a stage.  Sure, she’d applaud but only if I had earned it.  She introduced me to fireworks and made me face my fears.

It was a great honor when she asked if I would show her how to shoot.  She lives alone now. She has already scared off a home invader using nothing more than a stern voice, but she is wise enough to realize she might need something more persuasive if there is a next time.  Although, I can tell you that her stern voice is pretty darn persuasive.

We hung a milk carton and started slow.  A nice heavy revolver in .22lr. The double action trigger pull on the 617 was heavy, but she did great in single action.

Soon we moved on to her gun.  When she decided that she needed a gun, she decided that she needed a small revolver.  We did all we could to convince her otherwise, but she would have none of it.  Stubbornness does run in the family, I suppose.

Word got around to her nephew that she wanted one, so he bought her a brand new Ruger LCR in .357 magnum with Crimson Trace laser grips. He’s cool like that. Although, he’s never bought me a gun (insert spoiled pout here).

And she handled it like a champ.  That milk carton won’t be bothering anyone anymore. She had a great time too.

And while we’re having fun…

Come on, who wouldn’t let the sweet 80 year old woman try out the AK?

All she’d ever shot previously was a rifle in .22lr and 410 shotgun. She totally rocked everything that she got her hands on that day. She is my grandmother, after all ;)

Quote of the day:

If I ever get too old to learn something new, just bury me-Nana

I want to be her when I grow up.

Now you’re wondering how this all ties into Kilted to Kick Cancer, aren’t you? Well, Nana is a widow. Granddad passed away October 11, 2007, shortly after I started blogging. He survived prostate cancer but not without several undignified side effects.  He was the 1 out of 6, and his life was never the same.  You don’t have to ask why I’m just as committed as Michael to this cause.

Please, for the men you love, spread the word.  If you can, give to fund the research to kill this terrible disease. Get checked, or encourage your loved ones to get checked.  While everyone jokes and embarrasses themselves, don’t forget that the cause really is a serious one.

It’s just a few more days until the whole world turns pink. Give Kilted to Kick Cancer the boost it needs now.

 

 

Blogiversary!

I missed it.  The one year mark for this little blog came and went last month. Or so.  I may have lost some old posts when I moved from blogger to my current home.

Apparently, it started with a post about shoes.  Quite appropriate.  In fact, I’m wearing those fantastic orange boots today.  So I suppose I am celebrating by belated blogiversary in some way.  Apparently I was bitching about Obama and his Robin Hood schemes back then too.  I guess not much has changed.

That’s not so true.  Life really is better now than it was a year ago.  I started the blog for no reason other than to share the randomness that goes on inside my brain.  Due to events beyond my perception, it quickly became a place for me to dump some rather raw emotions.  And you people stayed.  You commented.  You prayed for me and my family.  I have to say that is really amazing.  I had no idea that a virtual support system could mean so much.

On Saturday, October 11th, Granddad will have been gone for a year.  I can’t believe it has been so long.  Thank you friends, in both the real and digital world, for seeing me through it.

Love and loss and stupid emotions

Damn you Rachel Lucas!
I sat on my front porch with my blackberry (yeah, I’m that much of a nerd) and cried today because of Rachel Lucas’s dog. A dog I have never met owed by a person that I don’t really know. I’ve read her blog and often feel like I know her, but I don’t. And dammit I am still crying and running snot like a faucet. I’m gross and red and puffy because she had to put down this dog that she loved so much. It doesn’t help that Digger looked an awful lot like my sweet Pepper that I lost a few years ago, but that’s really not it. Pepper never got so bad. When she knew that it was her time, she left on her own. Other things in life at the time were unfortunately more pressing and I think on some level she knew that I couldn’t deal with her dying at that moment. She climbed the fence with her worn out hips and left to die alone. I looked for her, but I never found her. Not really knowing what happened to her was horrible. She had been my dog since I was 16. She had been the litmus test of boyfriends. If she didn’t like them, I didn’t need them around. I should have paid more attention to her in that regard. But she loved my husband from the first time she met him. She would actually obey him. I was the only one she had ever obeyed previously. But because life truly sucked at the time of her departure, I never got to really mourn her loss. Sorry for anyone reading this, but that still feels a little too personal to share on the internet. But her blog didn’t really make me think about my dog.
I am sitting here bawling in my home office because dammit if Rachel’s feelings about the whole thing didn’t make me think of Granddad. And yeah, I know that sounds really stupid. But when she talked about how hard it was to leave Digger alone in that room at the vet’s office, I saw Granddad. All alone in his hospice room. We had packed up all of our things, and everyone was ready to go to my aunt’s house to just be there with each other. I felt awful just leaving him there alone with these strangers. He was dead. It was just his empty shell. But I still wanted to be with him so that he wouldn’t be alone. I know that was just me. I wasn’t really ready to let him go. I’m still not. He wasn’t alone at all. He was finally and completely free of pain. It was wonderful for him, and it still is. He isn’t alone. It’s me that lost him. I’m the one that still wants to hear the stories he had to tell even though most I had heard a thousand times. I’ll probably always want just one more. He looked so small, and that’s not who he is in my memories. Only his hands looked the same. Taking him to hospice care was the right decision, but I am so glad I didn’t have to be the one to make it. His first day there, he told me that he was still going to fight, but the truth of the matter was that the battle had already been lost. He was in hospice so they could keep him comfortable while he died. He made the decision to go himself. But while he was there he begged for all of us to get him out of that bed and give him a chance to live. He couldn’t get out of the bed. If we had ignored everything and gotten him up, he would have collapsed in agony. His back was broken. He was riddled with cancer. There really was no more that could be done. We buried him not long ago. The box was far too small to hold the man that he had been. His body was cremated and buried just 2 feet below the ground.
It’s amazing to me that love is so boundless. The grief for a lost pet is no less real than the loss of a person. It seems that it should be. But the pain really is the same. While Granddad was dying, I lost my pet betta. I made the comment to my friends on the daily kitten that it just seemed so small. It really felt like the least of my worries considering everything else going on. But Lynn said to me, “Nothing you love in whatever capacity, is small. So sorry for your loss MM. Love Lynn.” I’m not sure I really loved that fish. I’ve loved fish before, but I didn’t really form a true attachement to that one. But the sentiment is so very, very true.
I’m so blessed to know God. As a Christian, I know that God is love. I know from experience that love is boundless even in my limited capacity. I can really love the dog and the owner of said dog when in reality, I don’t know them. I can be loved by the amazing community on the daily kitten when I don’t know them in the real world. I’m not sure they know how much their comments and prayers have meant to me. And I have these amazing people that I have met in the blogosphere. Like Megan from CastoCreations. I got the opportunity to reach out to her and share some pretty raw emotions. Love isn’t limited to our households or our families or even to our species.
Rachel, I don’t know if you will ever read this. I hope you do, and I also hope that you understand that although I would love for you to find God, I am not attempting to convert you. You have asked before why Christians choose to be Christian and not something else, and that is a really good question. I’m a Christian because God is love. The love that is being poured out from your commenters; I believe that is God. The undefinable, unexplanable arms that embrace you at that moment when you are at your lowest; that’s God. God understands when no one else does. At least, the God I believe in does. He understands because he created all of it. And He understands my doubts when I am in the dark places. The muslim god doesn’t. Budda doesn’t. Only my Christian God does. No one else’s god is love. I cannot fathom a world that just created itself by chance. And because we as His creation have such an amazing capacity to love, our creator must have even more. I will continue to pray for you. This loss is great because you have loved. Thank you for the opportunity to love you too. (In a completely non-gay sort of way)

Veteran’s Day

I’m going to re-pot my giant peace lily today. Bought a brand spankin’ new pot this weekend. I still wish I didn’t have it though. It was a bereavement gift from my office from when Granddad passed away.

Granddad wasn’t going to join the army, but when WWII started felt it was his duty. He signed up over his mother’s objections so that he could be a man. Granddad fought under General Patton. He traveled in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and finally France. When the doctor asked him what he’d done in the military, Granddad’s answer was that he walked. He was infantry, so I am sure that was pretty accurate. Here is a letter written May 24th, 1945 to his parents while he was in Neumark, Germany.

“Dear Parents;We have been having April Showers the last few days. They just lifted censorship today, so will try and tell you a little about what I have been doing the past few weeks.

I joined the company west of the Rhine River a little bit around the 25th of March and we saw the other outfits getting ready to cross and we were ready. We didn’t know when we were going to cross but we knew it was going to be soon and one night we heard all hell break loose and it was another outfit crossing. Then we began to feel better right quick because we knew we weren’t going to have to make the river crossing. Then in a day or two they put us on the alert and the trucks came that night and we crossed the river and bridge that the engineers had built and rode all that night and until about noon the next day. Hen we started walking and we walked until late that night and settled down in foxholes for about two hours, but that was our only night in a foxhole.

The next day we were starting through a town which had out several white flags and hell broke loose. I was in the rear. I stayed there. Company headquarters always stayed back. Then when we finally got into the town I saw a lot of good Germans on the ground. We kept walking for several days, then one evening we started across an open field in order to come into a town on the backside by the woods and hell broke loose again and we had left one platoon back to guard another town. Several men were gone for several reasons. At least we had only 59 men at the time and there wasn’t supposed to be many Germans in the town, but we took 145 prisoners and there were a lot of good ones there and the medics were busy all night taking care of the wounded Germans. The whole company went in together because we had to have all the men we could get. In just a few days we got the tanks with us and after that we did pretty good for a day or two. Then, the airplanes started one day. We were arguing whether they were theirs or ours. They were up in the air quite a ways and we couldn’t tell for sure, and in a minute we found out they were strafing, bombing, too. But every truck had a machine gun on it that got rid of them in just a little bit. Then they came along every evening for about a week, but we had the A.A. (Army Air Force) with us by then and they did not bother us much that way.

I have had a lot of other experiences too, but will tell them when I get home, which I hope isn’t far off, I don’t know.

Right now I am just a short ways from Leipzig in a small town named Neumark. We have two prison camps now and are discharging them right and left.

Well, I have told about enough for once, so had better close for now.

Love, Gerald

Gerald had been selected as assistant orderly by his captain.

Copied from THE GRENOLA GAZETTE Thursday, June 21, 1945 #25

Once the war was over, he went on to be a guard for a POW camp in Paris. He treated the POWs as equals. He knew they had been drafted into the war and were just doing their jobs. They loved him too. I’ve mentioned before about them making him gifts and rebuilding his tent. He used to say that he probably had the warmest tent in all of Paris that winter. In all the years I knew him, he never had a single negative thing to say about the German troops. Mostly he just said that they were good people.

That’s just who Granddad was. Shortly after the Berlin wall came down and it was announced that the Cold War was over, we all went to an air show. It was a huge event because for the first time, there were Russian planes and pilots at the show. Everyone was nervous about meeting them….well that’s not entirely accurate. Everyone except Granddad. He walked right up and shook his hand. Treated him like an old friend that had been away for too long.

This Veteran’s Day, I remember Granddad and those like him. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be sitting in this office, my desk covered in pizza. I wouldn’t be able to write a blog about whatever I wanted. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to gripe about the idiots in and running for public office.

And let us not forget those veterans who have not yet claimed their final reward. There are guys like my dad. He was in the air force during Vietnam. He worked in Thailand as a fuel systems specialist. And there are many young men and women putting their lives on the line for us right now. They don’t have the luxury to sit at their computers and peruse the blogosphere. They are far too busy making sure that we can.

While you are reading, here are a couple of lovely Veteran’s Day entries made by some blogging friends of mine that I have run across today and think deserve your attention.
Happy Veteran’s Day by Instinct at Life in 3D
All Gave Some at Casto Creations
And of course, Michael Yon always deserves a read. The Old New Way tells you what our modern day veterans are doing every day. Today is no exception.

Love and Laughter

As my regular readers are aware, it’s been a rough time for my family lately. Granddad passed away around 3 o’clock on Thursday October 11th. He will be greatly missed by us all. I’ve been told by a few people that reading my entries through this whole thing has been comforting to them. I’m so glad. I’ve drawn a lot of comfort from the support offered to me by so many of you.

Since Thursday, my aunt and uncle opened up their home to all of us. It’s served as the base where food is delivered and serves as some insulation from the outside world. As much as I appreciate the concern, there are only so many times I want to answer the question, “How are you doing?” and “Are you okay?” Not to mention, “Is there anything I can do?” I am doing as well as can be expected. Honestly, even though I had been preparing for this, it has still been a lot harder than I thought. There is something you can do, keep us in prayer. If you want to do something in addition to that, the family has asked that donations be made to Odyssey House or the American Cancer Society. By no means do I want anyone to refrain from showing their concern, but it is nice to have a haven from it.

I don’t know how it is with other families, but there haven’t been a lot of tears when we are all together. We’ve brought in everyone’s photo albums which have been strewn about my aunt’s living room and den. She and my mother are scanning select pictures to be made into a slideshow for the memorial service. The rest of us have been sitting around looking through the albums and reminiscing about wonderful stories. There are several pictures that I had never seen and stories that I had never heard. There’s lots of laughter and the love is tangible.

In one album were sketches that I had heard about, but never previously seen. I will be getting copies. These are beautiful pencil sketches done by POWs after WWII. Two of Granddad and 2 of the office they built for him. Granddad was over a POW camp in France. Granddad always treated these men as equals. He knew they had been drafted into the war just like he was and never treated them as enemies. The men loved him for it. They built him his own office, made him a clock, and crafted an ashtray out of artillery shells that is in my mother’s living room today. The clock was stolen by a GI that was charged with making sure it got home. The POWs shipped the ashtray and that actually made it back. He treated those men with dignity which they returned to him. I don’t believe Granddad ever met an enemy, just peers that happened to be on the opposing side.

Yesterday my cousin, who has an inborn gift for children, brought sugar cookie supplies. Her 2 year old son and my 8 year old son made cookies. When it came time for sprinkles, he said to my son, “open your mouth” and proceeded to sprinkle directly into my son’s mouth. Everyone cracked up. I’m so proud of my son for doing so well with his younger cousins. Actually I am very proud of the way he has handled all of this. Explaining Granddad’s death to him was one of the hardest things to do. As he said his prayers the other night he asked that God show Granddad around in heaven so Granddad could show it to us someday. Kids say it so well sometimes.

Tonight, the church is feeding the family. I am looking forward to some more family time. The memorial service is tomorrow afternoon. It’s going to be hard. As will the upcoming holidays. But I am really lucky to have my family and my wonderful spouse with me. I think it is better for us to have each other to lean on.

Granddad

I want to give an update, but there really isn’t much to give. They were unable to get a blood pressure reading this morning. It will probably be today. I’ll go up there tonight.

It’s 3:25 pm. I just got the call. He’s gone

Beautiful Moment

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
The sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

Old Irish Blessing. I sang it, through tears, to Granddad last night. That’s where I stopped singing. He’d spent the day completely unresponsive, but shed a tear when I finished. The nurse said it was a special gift for me. I think she was right. Prior to that, I wanted to believe that he knew I was there, but I just wasn’t sure. I’m so glad I could give that gift to him.

I’m kind of just waiting for the call today. The call telling me that he has gone home. I think his spiritual body and his physical body are separating. That’s why the only reaction we got from him was the single tear. It was tearful but beautiful.

Someone brought a kitten for her grandmother to see. Cute little tuxedo guy. Nana snuggled him into her sweater where he purred. It was the most she’d smiled in a while.

It might be today

Mom called, it might be today. Of course, it might have been Friday, or a week ago at the hospital. Yesterday, the doctor said he would be surprised if Granddad lasted another 2 days. But of course it’s not an exact science. Granddad will go when he is good and ready. I won’t ever be ready, but I’m as close to ready as I am going to get. Today, he is not responding. Not to Nana or anyone else. They are just giving him regular infusions of pain meds and playing soft music.

I’m not dropping everything and running over there. I kind of want to, but I’ve done that so much lately. And there’s not really anything I could do. For now, I’m staying at work and have apparently forgotten how to eat a sandwich. I seem to have decided to eat it from both ends and work towards the middle. I took a picture, I’ll add it later. Sorry about the tangent, I just looked down at my lunch and realized I’ve suddenly become retarded. Laugh, it’s allowed. Healthy actually.

In my heart, I hope it’s today. I really hate to say that, but I’ve set up a pattern of being brutally honest here and don’t really plan to change it. I know that the only way for Granddad to stop suffering is to let the angels take him. He told Nana yesterday that he was going with them. Then the rest of us can really mourn his loss as we haven’t been able to do yet. And we can refocus and be able to celebrate his life. Can’t really do that right now, no clarity.

I’m going tonight. Even though he probably will not know that I am there. That just means he is closer to home.

UPDATE: You guys are really awesome. Extra cool points for all of you. We are picking up pizza and heading down to hospice shortly. With all of us together, may as well make it a party (of sorts). In case anyone is curious, this is the hospice group we are working with. We’ve dealt with them 3 times in as many years. You can visit their website at www.odsyhealth.com.