Recently, a friend and I were discussing how much we enjoy time spent in nature on our respective farms when she remarked to me, "It's hard to imagine living anywhere else, huh?" That got me thinking. I do love my life here, and my little backyard farm. But, the truth is that John and I are very adaptable people. We lived in New Orleans when we were first married and dove headfirst into a culture that allowed us to walk to the grocery store and celebrate Mardi Gras. We lost all of our earthly belongings to Hurricane Katrina and decided to start over in small town Arkansas (which is much different from the NWA that I grew up in) and have found our niche here as well. My guess is that we could find ourselves just about anywhere, and as long as we had each other, make a fun go of it.
That said, there are still some parts of our local culture that I haven't come around to. And, I came face to face with one of them last night. Here's the story . . .
I was out for an evening run through town when I passed a house where two middle-school-aged boys were out in the sideyard. One of them had some type of gun in his hands and was aiming at something on or near the ground in front of him. I ran on past them, then wondered whether I'd be able to see what they were aiming at, if I turned to look back. That's when I saw that the gun was now pointed at me. In distress, I kept running, but yelled and pointed at them: "NOT FUNNY!" He didn't lower the gun. I yelled it again, louder, and kept running. "You're funny!" the gunman yelled back as he lowered the gun. At this point, I was more mad than scared, so I stopped running, turned toward them, marching myself up to the front door: "You're not going to think I'm funny for long! Do you have a parent home with you?"
As it turned out, the gunman didn't live there and the boy who did stood sobbing in the background as his mother agreed with me that it was unacceptable behavior and that the guest (who she "didn't really know") would be shooed away. Once I'd stuck around long enough to see that the boys were being adequately reprimanded, I high-tailed it on home, running at a pretty good clip. ;)
Now, of course, one of the first questions John asked me when I relayed the story to him was what type of gun it was. Pellet? BB? Air soft? Actual rifle? I have no knowledge of guns whatsoever, so I had, of course, no idea.
Guns. Ahhh. Guns. They are very much a part of this culture that surrounds me. But, I haven't bought into that part of it. My dad didn't hunt. John doesn't hunt. I am completely uncomfortable around guns. Honestly, they terrify me.
I won't get on my soapbox here. But, as I've replayed what happened last night, I keep asking myself whether I should've done something differently. What if I'd been able to identify the gun?
Let's say I'd been able to tell the gun was a toy of some sort, should I have just kept on running, "boys will be boys" and all that? Or, had I been able to identify that they were shooting actual bullets, should I have notified the police?
Why didn't I get their names? Why didn't I find out what type of gun it was? Should I have followed the gunman home and knocked on his door? If I had a gunsafe full of guns and a deer head mounted in my living room, would I have reacted differently to those boys' antics?
I'm left with lots of questions. But, here's what I know.
1. Guns scare me. I don't like them. I don't want them around my children. I don't want one pointed at me.
2. I will not be running that route again anytime soon!