April 21st, 2003

.22/.410 Over-Under

My grandfather went to the hospital on Thursday, and based on his age (80) and his symptoms (you don't want to know) my mom was positive he had cancer. However, after a common procedure (and a couple of enemas) he was released on Friday. My mom and I went down to Ohio to see him on Saturday.

When we pulled up to the old farmhouse, he was riding around on his John Deere mower, so apparently he was doing pretty well.

Later he was showing us the oldest barn on the property and was pointing out some covered wagon stays/ribs that had been there ever since he bought the place. As he was pointing them out he noticed something furry up in the corner. "Damn 'coons. I'll go get the .22-over-.410. If I miss, it'll just go through the wood."

My mom and I gave him plenty of room. We walked around and heard a sound like a screen-door slamming shut. Then a second time. Then a third time. We approached the barn slowly.

"I couldn't get a head shot," he said. "Now he crawled up on that rafter and I can't shoot him or I'll put a hole in the roof. I hit him, though, you can see the trail of blood. He'll probably die up there and I'll have to get a ladder and pull him down."

He proceeded to point out other interesting features of the barn, swinging the gun around as a pointer. Every time it swung my way I stepped to the side. "Don't be scared, it's not loaded," he said. (Like I said, he's 80. Is he sure it's not loaded?) The barn has hand-hewn beams, he says. They're held together with wooden pegs. The latch on the door and the hinges were all made by a blacksmith, he says.

Meanwhile the raccoon had turned around and was looking at us. "Well, look who come out to see us," my grandpa says. "Ka-Pusch!" he tries to imitate the sound of the .22. The raccoon flinches, realizes he's being teased and tormented, and hisses angrily back at us. After a while he falls to the floor and tries to crawl away.

My grandpa starts to load the .22 and then stops. "Ain't worth spending another round on him, I'll just smack him upside the head with a two-buh-four" He set the gun down and grabbed a piece of wood and whacked the raccoon twice, which left the critter in death throes. "That ought to take care of him!" my grandpa says and laughs.

Like I said, I guess he's doing pretty well.