“How are you going to explain that, Uncle Bink?”
It was early in the Quail season in 1958. I was eleven years old and my dad was visiting us in California where mom and I moved after the divorce. His brother Frank, my uncle Bink and his family lived in California as well.
Dad, Frank and his son Larry and I were out hunting Quail. Well, not me exactly, I was too young but my cousin Larry was sixteen and quite old enough. Just so I wouldn’t feel left out, my dad, who has been teaching me to shoot ever since I was five or six, bought me a new Remington semi-automatic .22 cal. rifle and some targets. The grown-ups would hunt for Quail and I would shoot targets. It sounded fair to me.
Well, we got to ‘the spot’ and the big guns went on their way. I set up my targets and started to plink away. A couple of hours went by and I was getting hot and bored. You can only shoot so many targets until you’re thoroughly shot out yourself, you know?
I saw the men coming back in the distance and figured if I wanted to get any more shooting in it had better be now or never. Once they got back to the car it would be throw everything in the trunk and where’s the closest tavern with a motel attached.
I was laying on my stomach carefully aiming at the small target. I was trying to impress the guys with my accuracy when all of a sudden there was this thunderous roar and the sand and my target erupted then disappeared. There was little left except little pieces of target blowing away with the wind. Yup, my shooting was done for that day all right.
Standing behind me was my Uncle Bink with his 12 ga. shotgun and this mischievous smile on his face. He said, “Oh come on Eddie, I’ll buy you a new target only better.” At the time I didn’t think it was very funny, like everyone else did. I later found out they hadn’t gotten any Quail.
As we were packing up to leave, I was clearing my rifle to make sure there were no unspent rounds in the chamber when my Uncle Bink took the rifle and checked it himself. My dad said to let me check it for myself and my uncle just said, “Oh hell, let’s get outta’ here and get a drink.”
He opened the back door of his wife’s car, threw my rifle on the back seat and promptly blew a .22 cal. hole in the right rear passenger door. I guess Uncle Bink didn’t check it very good, huh? That’s when everything got just a little bit funnier from my perspective. He killed my target then he killed Aunt Marys car door. All in all, not exactly the hunting trip they were counting on.
Everyone but Uncle Bink got a big kick out of the misfire and that’s when I asked him, “How are you going to explain that, Uncle Bink?”
He was not amused.