Sunday, June 22, 2014

There and back again... or another Appleseed bites the dust...

  I signed up to instruct at an Appleseed in Idaho, which is just down the road - I have been to CdA and Lewiston before, I have even been to Boomershoot. But this Appleseed was in Nampa and I hadn't been there and wanted to see the range and the other RWVA folks - it was on a Friday Saturday schedule, so my time for church would be open. Then I left on Thursday morning, and found out my GPS wanted me to cross a lot of Washington State, turn towards Oregon and then cross a lot of Oregon, before I would get to Idaho and Nampa. Long trip, then they throw Mountain time zone at me, too. I would never recover.

  I was glad that I found the range, that Mike was already there and I could park and stop driving. I got out a folding chair and sat down and spent the evening talking to Mike after looking at the way he built a fence for his target backers. He says it is relatively cheap, I would have painted the political signs two different colors, but it was all pretty effective. I slept in my van.

  Up with the moon and the Sun and we went off to breakfast and meet the Shoot Boss Tim and his wife, Pat, another RWVA instructor, they are migrants from California, if they stay they become California ex-patriots. Just kidding, I am always surprised anyone is still living in California. I got my oatmeal and raisins, and coffee. Talk about the day and what they have been doing and are going to do. Then back to the range. Finish setting up and Pat takes in-processing. We have nine shooters, three parent child teams and many camera shy. Still the day is gentle, and slower than I am used to. Since I am there to help and look for other ways to make an Appleseed work, I am watching closely. Only one sighting square target, then lunch, and then two Red Coats side by side, very much like I once did using the Green Coat targets. I had discussed my use of an AQT instead.

  The only AQT target was used to present the sitting and Standing positions, steady hold factors and the transitions - it was not timed nor scored. After that the only Red Coat of the day, and then the Third Strike of the Match and the benediction.  Clean up and pack up and I would spend several more hours thinking I should get my rifles out and shoot - but instead I just talked to Mike. Then I turned in, although the pace and instruction seemed slower and gentle I was beat.

  Woke for second day, washed and shaved, and thought I really should have a load list for my travels. Mike remarked that he had also thought we should have shot some targets last evening - as he sat there and talked the night in. Breakfast again, I got a farmers platter over easy and lots of coffee. Only eight shooters were still there when we opened the range. Review was quick, the shooters still lacked confidence in their answers, to my mind. Their shooting skills hadn't improved, but they showed promise in the Red Coat target and the only sighting square of the day. Shoot an AQT with a walk down to see the target engagement after each stage and talk targets and techniques with each shooter.

  Lunch with Dangerous Old Men stories, shoot the ball and dummy drill, then two AQTs at speed and I was finished. I had jumped upon a shooter that was just walking beyond the firing line with three shooters with rifles and magazines in preparation period on their mats. She was going to post her AQT target thinking of NOT. I used my PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO ME voice, which is startling, to frightening. And had unkindly reminded her that she hadn't been told by me the LINE BOSS to move across the firing line, and I hadn't cleared the line and NO ONE should be talking while I was talking as LINE BOSS (that last was for the few that had kept right on talking while I got her attention and back to the equipment line). I had the shooters in prep safe their rifles and go back to the equipment line, the RSOs to clear the line, then I sent the young woman down to post her AQT target so she could shoot it.

  I called the AQT course of fire for all four stages, told Mike he was now going to be Line Boss and to take over I was on my way home - a long drive to Spanaway, Washington. Said good -bye to Pat, told her I was sorry about shouting at the shooter, and I hoped it would not affect her the remainder of her day. Shook hands and said good-bye to the Shoot Boss and left one rug, one folding chair and a memory of me that will last beyond my name. It is a beautiful range with a wonderful history they proudly share with tourists. I was also sure I had left an M1 Rifle Appleseed cap at the diner during breakfast on day two.

  I made fuel stops and short rest stops and was home by ten in the evening, Pacific Daylight Savings - being the longest day of the year, I used every bit of it. Although I wore two sets of sunglasses and the visor down to keep the setting sun from burning my eye balls blind. Unload, glass of wine, hot shower and sleep, deep sleep of the exhausted. I will always wish I hadn't had to turn tyrant on the shooter with no regard for her own safety. But that was only one of several instances that I thought wouldn't have happened on most Appleseeds done at the normal pace and unfeeling professional instead of personable professional that projected kind and caring... I thought two shooters weren't getting as far as they could have with a different tact. Maybe next time, it will click. Everything except Known Distance and carding the sights was taught and covered, so they have it all. Hope I see them again somewhere on the trail.


  1. You did the right thing for the right reason Earl, and it seems there are different ways that Appleseeds get run...

  2. Although she may resent being yelled at, I am sure her family and friends are glad that she is still alive and well ... even if they do not know how close they came to losing her.

  3. Oh, I know I did the correct thing, but it felt overwhelming - it did work, safety was first then we can work on marksmanship and ruffled feathers. She does enjoy the shooting, she will likely be back but I will be in Washington.