Enculturation

enculturation

I was 8 years old and we left frozen Minnesota before Christmas to visit my older brother in Eastern Oregon, where he had landed his first teaching job. All of a sudden it was Christmas Eve and I was expecting to “make a good haul”. What was this long, narrow present? Wow! a Daisy BB gun! I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to shoot at bottles and cans. I thanked my brother graciously and he assured me that tomorrow we would go out shooting. After breakfast on Christmas day, my brother said, “Get your BB gun and we’ll go shooting”. I was puzzled why he only took two empty cans along. We drove a ways to the John Day river, got out of the car and hoofed it  down a grassy trail. I set the cans up on a log and shot a few times at them, plink, plink. Then brother blew them off the log with Dad’s 22 and said, “That’s enough. Lets go further down the trail.” I protested. He ignored me, so I followed him, wondering what was next. THEN we came across a porcupine, lumbering down the rut of a trail. Big brother ordered me- SHOOT IT. I did’t want to shoot it, I explained. He threatened to take the BB  gun away if I missed. I fired. Porky flinched and sped up. SHOOT AGAIN. I did. AGAIN. I did. 37 times and the poor creature still kept trying to get away. Then he said FINISH HIM OFF WITH THE 22! I finally did. 3 shots later. I was sick to my stomach. We left the carnage. I never did have much fun shooting the BB gun at cans after that event. Years later Dad passed away and the 22 became mine. I still have it. But the last time I ever shot it was at that poor poor porcupine on Christmas Day 1959.

posted on Craigslist vegan forum, February 15, 2013

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