Commentary By Melanie Patterson

The North Jefferson News




I did something last week that I hadn’t done in years.

My sisters and assorted husbands and kids were all at my dad’s house for a Christmas get-together.

Dad was cooking his famous chicken with home-made white sauce on the grill, with the tailgate of his truck serving as both a seat and a table.

His three sons-in-law were nearby re-enacting a battle between the North and the South.

Well, not really. Actually, they were just shooting at a can out in the yard. But it sounded like a war with all three of them taking turns shooting my dad’s rifles.

Each of them had one and was shooting it in his own style, including one of them who was down on one knee making the empty can dance across the grass.

I walked outside to watch the cooking and the shooting, when of the guys held a rifle out to me and said, “Here, Mel, come shoot this one.”

“The last rifle I shot was an M-16, and that was eight years ago,” I said. That would have been the last time my old Army Reserve unit went to the range. Everybody laughed at that, but it was really the truth.

I honestly don’t know much about guns except for M-16s, which we used to have to take apart, clean and reassemble all the time.

But I got one of them to show me the basics of the .22, and it’s actually very simple.

It made me kind of proud that the guys bragged on my shooting, although I’m pretty sure they were just being nice. But I’m going to take compliments where I can get them.

I finally wandered back inside to see if I could help my sisters in the kitchen. Thankfully they had it all under control, because I can barely boil water.

Then I ended up in the front yard raking big piles of leaves so my niece and nephew could take a running jump into them.

It was inevitable that the whole family ended up outside again. Somehow, the guys smooth-talked my sisters into shooting with them, only by this time they had added three pistols to the mix.

You have to understand that of all five of my dad’s daughters, I’m the only tomboy in the bunch. My four beautiful sisters are as comfortable around guns as I am around a stove.

Even though they were pressured into it, I think they rather enjoyed being tomboys for a few minutes. I know we the rest of us enjoyed it!

What was really wonderful about the day, though, was that it was the first time in many years that my dad and all of his daughters were together.

Burning up a box of shells was fun, even though my right ear was still ringing eight hours later from the loud boom of the .38 that I shot.

As much fun as it was, having family together meant the world to all of us.

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