Franklin: Charlie Haffner Memorial Shooting Range aka Where I shot my first gun
"Shotgun" isn't just a name for calling the front-seat anymore.
In Franklin, TN, at the Charlie Haffner Memorial Shooting Range, I joined a group of my friends for some "skeet shooting". As in, some bright orange clay discs aka "clay pigeons" that fly into the air and you have to point and aim and hope that something went right and you shoot one to pieces.
The range itself is located in this beautiful scenic countryside. Matt was still in recovery from knee surgery, so after walking to the wrong spot, some friendly worker with a golf cart let us hop on and he took us to our group.
There were eleven of us, including me and Uncle Charlie. Not actually my uncle, but he makes you feel like family anyways. He owns the range, and is the legitimate uncle of Anne Parkes who organized the outing.
I seriously have never shot a gun before — excluding a water-gun, and those guns from Lazer Tag. Not even a bb gun (at least not to my recollection). All I have in my memory and interest of guns is "A Christmas Story" where he wanted that Red Ryder BB Gun and all people would tell him is "You'll poke your eye out!" Honestly, I felt some sympathy for the kid, but I was sort of with the adults. I was sure it was dangerous.
In general, I never had the opportunity or interest. Fishing was a more practical endeavor for where I grew up, but I wasn't interested in that either.
Anyhow, this one fine day, I had the opportunity. And a fantastic and trusted instructor. He set me up with a shotgun. Told me to put the gun firmly into my shoulder, showed me how to load it and reload it, showed me the safety, how to look into the thing that you can target with, and take aim.
It was actually pretty relaxed. Pretty difficult. You can't wait too long or else you won't be able to hit the target, but pull the trigger too soon and you're also out of luck. So, when you do hit the flying target, it's a celebration.
I think I was maybe 50/50 by the end? Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit... but I did hit at least one target each round!
I couldn't imagine using it to hit any living thing. Hunting is not on my to-do list. This kind of shooting at the range was more like archery in terms of target and shoot (not to like toot my own horn, but I got an archery badge when my Girl Scout troop went to camp circa 4th grade. I'm qualified.)
We all took turns. Had about three chances each and passed it around until we had limited ammo left. Then we had some shoot-offs to see who could hit the target first.
Matt was my opponent. I think we tied? #maybeinmymind
It was one of those lazy afternoons of being able to hang out with your friends, relaxing under the shade in the hot summer heat (don't know why Matt or I chose to wear sweaters/jackets #laterregrets), and then finishing it off with a jam session.
Uncle Charlie seriously was so sweet, and to top it off, he has some good vocal chords/musical talent. After migrating to the front porch, we were now passing around the guitar (I just took the photos — maybe one day I'll be on that level) and sang a variety of songs. It was one of those Tennessee days that I'll treasure.