Well, December the 28th has come and gone, and I'm still here in the house with the same lady I married 45 years ago! 'Twas not an auspicious beginning, and all the nay sayers were predicting a very short run from the gate. HAH! Just shows, just how wrong some people can be. Of course the fact that she tried to "off" me twelve hours after the marriage might have been a contributing factor to their observations! Well, that's the story the way "I" tell it. Hers is a slightly different version. But as I am in control of the keyboard, you get my version.
We tied that knot about about 2100 on the 28th and in just about 12 hours later, I had my new bride out in the back yard and was instructing her on the proper way to load, aim, and fire a very nice Hi Standard single action, nine shot revolver. After standing beside her and getting the stance just right, and the noisy end of the gun pointed in the general direction of some old light bulbs placed on the side of a hill about twenty yards away, I said to her,"cock the hammer back till it locks, aim, finger on the trigger and gentle pull till it goes off". All was going according to plan till it got to the "pull the trigger" phase. At that point she turns to me and says, "I can't do this"! Finger is still on the trigger and loud end is now pointed at me when the sear released and a .22 cal slug was on it's way to meet me! Entered right thigh, exited through the knee. I went down just like I had been shot with a cannon! She hollers at me, "Stop doing that, it is not funny"! Well I finally convinced her I wasn't "funnin'" and we called the Local Rescue Squad. Off to the Doctors office for temporary repair and then off in a Navy helo dispatched from NAS Quonset Point to haul my still young Sailor ass off too the Newport Naval Hospital. While there for two weeks I was the center of attention as every single person in the whole place, doctors, nurses, corpsmen, and even patients, and the kitchen workers wanted a look at that guy whose wife initiated divorce proceeding with a gun! Most comments revolved around the theme of "disappointment" after the wedding night!
Okay, that's the story we told everybody, even all four of our kids for years till I finally had to 'fess up and tell what really happened. It's like this. We were out in the back but I was demonstrating my prowess with the aforementioned piece, in the art of "quick draw" and fire at those light bulbs that she was launching into the air for me to hit. As all of you gun nuts might surmise, my actions consisted of grabbing the butt of the gun, ahem---, holding the trigger back as the thumb pulled the hammer back and when the muzzle was aligned with the target, let the hammer slide out from under your thumb. Bang!! Bulb explodes! Hooray, I'm a Wyatt Earp!
Next try, procedure was going along fine till front sight, which I had forgotten to remove, snags on the holster, jerking thumb off hammer with the predictable result. Bullet went in right where I said it did and came out as also described previously, and with the same results. So, after recovery and release from the hospital, I was off too my new duty station up in Maine as a SERE instructor. For some reason they didn't want me any where near a rifle or a machine gun unless it had a BFA attached to the business end!
It has been an absolutely wonderful, loving, on both our parts, and satisfying relationship that produced four of the very best kids anyone could hope for. It had it's trying times, as in me going on various extended "cruises" for 9-12 months at a time, and leaving her in places where she knew no one, on her own, to raise those kids as best she could. As a young "Navy wife" she did it very well, and with outstanding results as far as I can see, for all the twenty years I was in! Living off the base and, "on the local economy" as it was called back then, she became adept at stretching our meager funds to the very limit. She has kept us out of the poor house for all this time together. Now, some of you who know her might understand why it is her vociferously voiced desire for the people who spend our tax dollars to be totally accountable for their actions!!
So Sweetheart, Happy 45th Anniversary and hope to see you for #46!! TIFN
The Book of Barkley - Chapter 6
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