If you can’t say anything good…

“That’s WONDERFUL!” The owner of the gun shop jumped up and reached for my hand to shake it. I’d just walked in and introduced myself, telling him that I write a column called “Wimmen and Guns” Several men in camo gear and gimme caps were standing nearby admiring the goods; they turned to look at me, nodding in approval as the owner continued.

“Now is when it’s needed MOST!” he looked around for affirmation. “Women need to know about guns!” The men in the shop nodded and grunted in agreement. The owner came out from behind the counter to talk to me face-to-face. His enthusiasm was invigorating, and that was what I’d come to try to get, and I told him so.

News worn“All the negative stuff, isn’t it? Gettin’ you down? Everything you hear on radio and TV, read in the papers?” I grinned wryly – he was right. I’d been so beat down by exposure to the chest-thumpers and angry soccermoms that I’d been avoiding trying to write anything for weeks. “If you can’t say something good…” and all that. But his enthusiasm for the subject was changing my mood.

“Right now – with all the craziness going on in the world – now is when women need to know they can defend themselves – they can protect their families. They don’t have to live in fear just because of what they see and hear from the media. Women like you can make a difference.”

I think he was right. We were entertaining a visitor at our ranch. A woman who’d spent her life in southern California, she’d never touched a gun in her life. Our sons took her one morning down to our stock pond, where the big earthen dam made a perfect backdrop for some target shooting. The ‘boys’ had taken care to pick out a good gun for her to shoot – a nice little breech-loading .410 shotgun that had passed to them from their great-grandfather. Lightweight and well-balanced, it was a good choice for a tiny woman’s first shooting experience.



I’d been a little concerned, but let them go without me. This was their ‘project’ – to give her a thorough introduction with careful training and the right equipment. She came back smitten.

So smitten, that she demanded to be taken to the gun store, the very one I was standing in. The owner overwhelmed her with typical Texas grace. He answered all her questions thoughtfully and helped her pick out a handgun to consider for a future purchase. She’d come back with her eyes shining – she’d just had no idea what she was in for, coming to Texas for the first time, staying with us in the country, getting her first introduction to life in a small community.

She’d told me about the gun she’d picked out, and I’d come to the store to see it firsthand. The owner remembered her, and was happy to show me what she’d picked out. All I knew was that it was a .22, and laughed out loud when he picked up the G&S .22 modeled after the Colt Model 1911, identical in size to the big .45 in our safe. Such big gun for such tiny hands! Yes, I’d say she was smitten.

The shop owner and I speculated about what had come over this tiny California lady since arriving in Texas. “But, it must be contagious,” he said. He told me about a family in his shop just that week that had brought their 10-and 12-year-old sons in to choose their first rifle. The dad explained that they’d just moved from California and had never had a gun in the house, and he thought it was time to teach the boys right. The shop owner, a dad himself, steered them away from the .22’s, and advised the dad to start them off with BB guns, saying “that’s how we all started out as kids…”

Vintage Red Ryder BB Gun advertisement

“You’ll shoot yer eye out, kid!”

Then we had a good laugh, bringing up memories of our childhoods, and how many times we’d heard – just like in the movie – “You’ll put yer eye out!”

So, I think I’m ready to start writing again…about “Wimmen and Guns” – stay tuned.



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