Monday, August 14, 2006

By the book – part 4

By the book - part 1
By the book - part 2
By the book - part 3

by Tom Gaylord

Inside, I found a bow and four colorful arrows. It looked like a serious weapon, and Grandma said it had a 40 pound pull, but I could see that—it was written on the inside of the wood, just above the leather handle. She said, "Let's take it outside and see how you do."

We got a large cardboard box and filled it with newspapers, then leaned it against the base of a large tree in her back yard. She told me how to put the string on the bow, but she said I had to do it myself. She said that was the way to tell if I was big enough to use that bow. Well, don't you know I would have been able to string that bow if it had belonged to Hercules, himself, after a remark like that!

Then she talked me through the shooting routine. I was standing about 20 feet away from the box, and I hit it on the first try. Several more gave the same results. It seemed as though I was born to shoot a bow. Finally, she suggested we back up to about 40 feet, and I was still able to hit the box on every try. Somehow, I knew where the arrow was going before I let go of the bowstring. I can't explain it; I just knew.

Then I asked Grandma to try, and to my surprise, she welcomed the chance. Her first shot went through the box at the point in the center where all four flaps were folded over each other! Dead center!

When I asked her how she did it, she seemed embarrassed and muttered something I couldn't hear about practice. I later learned that most people practiced archery during the Victorian era when my Grandmother was younger, and that she had been something of a local champion.

We continued to shoot that afternoon, and I suppose she snapped that picture of me while we were at it. When the day was over she told me I could leave my BB gun and bow at her house and could use them whenever I came over. I was overjoyed because now I not only had the chance to shoot as much as I wanted, I even had a shooting partner in my Grandmother, who, as far as I was concerned, was my new best friend.

I went home that day refreshed, knowing that, from then on, my life was going to be much better, now that I had a safe haven to visit. I didn’t know until then that there was even such a thing as pressure, but it was sure obvious when it went away! Life got better by a large amount.


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