Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Target

My poor father. I swear sometimes trouble just seeks him out. He sure has had a rough go of it lately. His truck has taken a beating in the last couple of years. A while back, his boat actually came off of its trailer when he hit his brakes to avoid a collision, and slammed into the tailgate causing quite a bit of damage. The tailgate has been replaced, but the new tailgate has not been painted, so it is still that ugly, primered-grey that doesn't match the rest of the truck. He also left a utility light in the back seat, and somehow it was left on. Well, you know how hot those things get. It actually set the back seat on fire, and when it had burned the upholstery away, it actually melted the foam padding underneath in the shape of a circle about the same size as a utility light. (Imagine that.) The seat has still not been repaired.

Then, either just before or just after Christmas, a neighbor on her way to work lost control of her vehicle on the icy roads. She careened across the next door neighbor's lawn and over a small retaining wall, and plowed into my dad's boat parked in his driveway, which then slammed into his truck, which was parked next to the boat. Amazingly, the boat was not damaged, but the boat trailer was totaled and there was quite a bit of damage to the side of the truck. Unfortunately, the neighbor claimed not to see any of the damage she had caused, either to her car or to my dad's truck. She also stated that she was running really late and "just had to go". So she left a note and tried to continue down the street in her car, though I have no idea with such slippery conditions and the damage to her car how she ever managed to back the car up over the retaining wall (even though it's really only about 4 inches or so tall) and get out of the neighbor's yard. The tracks in the snow-covered street were pretty telling in determining the damage to her car - she had knocked one tire completely off the rim and bent the axle. Obviously the car did not drive straight, and she only got about half way down the block, leaving tracks in the road looking like a drunk monkey had been driving, before pulling over and calling her husband to come and get her. He insisted they call the police. (Did I mention she's a doctor?) I won't even go into what I think about this woman right now. My opinion stems to approximately 14 years ago, when I pulled over on my way to work to help her son, who had wrecked on his bike, broken both his arms, removed most of the skin off of his shins and knees, and was bleeding quite profusely from his head. I never even got a "thank you". This incident has not improved my thoughts.

Anyway, the ensuing troubles with the repair shops and insurance companies has really been a pain for my dad. So, with all these troubles, I was glad to hear that my dad was invited to go bird hunting with his brother (who is a doctor) and several of his doctor friends, free of charge. What I mean is, they actually go hunting on a "bird ranch" of sorts. Some people own a large expanse of land, and raise game birds such as Sage Hen. Hunters pay a certain price per bird to the "ranchers", who will then release the number of birds paid for onto their land. The Hunters then spend the day hunting the birds they've paid for, and take home any birds they kill. Sometimes they get all the birds they paid for, sometimes they don't. And since it's privately owned, a hunting license and a certain hunting season are not necessary. It's really kind of a nice arrangement.

So, Dad was invited, and the doctor types were footing the bill. He of course accepted, and I was glad he was going, since he really needed some fun. Overall it seemed to be a good day, since they got a lot of their birds and were even able to use some of their bird dogs. There was just one little detail that marred the trip: Dad got shot. No, you did not just read that wrong. Dad did, in fact, get shot. Luckily it was a minor injury. Apparently, Dad was walking a little behind and to the side of the man who shot him. It's really a bit of a quandary how this happened. The group stopped as a bird was flushed from the brush, and the man took a shot at it, forward, away from Dad. Dad, who was apparently standing with his mouth open, suddenly felt something very hard fly into his mouth, hit his bottom front teeth, and then cause him great pain on the inside of his bottom lip. It did not lodge in his lip, so he was able to spit it out of his mouth to see what it was. As it turned out, that something was a single, solitary BB from a shotgun shell. Needless to say, he was a little shocked to find he'd just been shot. The BB chipped one of his teeth, then left a good-sized hole in the skin on the inside of his lip, which, of course, developed later into a canker sore, as many inside-mouth injuries do.

It is still unclear how the BB struck my dad. There were no trees in the immediate area, nor vehicles or other large objects for the forward-moving BB to ricochet off of, changing its direction of travel by 180 degrees and thereby hitting Dad. (Is anyone else hearing "You'll shoot your eye out!" echoing in their head right now? No? Maybe it's just me.) Though he supposes a rock may have been the culprit, the physics enigma remains a mystery.

While it was probably initially a lucky thing that the hunt took place in the company of doctors, once they determined that Dad was not seriously injured, that luck promptly ran out. The doctors then reverted back to a bunch of ordinary guys who, of course, never let each other live anything down. My poor dad was referred to for the rest of the day as "The Target".

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