SD04134 Old Timers Rules

The main town near the area I’m turkey hunting is like a blast from the old west past.  Guaranteed the kids in this town are not only playing “good guy-bad guy” at recess, but they are likely playing Lone Ranger and Tonto, Cops and Robbers, and Cowboys and Indians.  I bet they all have their own personal arsenals of toy guns. At home, they likely have a couple real .22’s thrown in there too for some target practice.

What in the world is wrong with that?  Absolutely nothing.   

As I get out of my truck and head to the supper club, the fairly rhythmic sound of gunfire can be heard in the distance.  The sound of perhaps a round of trap or skeet.  While I perk up to the sound, it goes unnoticed by everyone around me.

 What in the world is wrong with that?  Absolutely nothing!

I, for one, am not afraid to stand up and say I’m disappointed and concerned at the direction our culture is shifting.  The American culture has gotten so out of hand.  In the midst of our ever present demand for freedom, equality, and fairness, rules and laws are being drafted that in effect, take away our rights, more than protect them.  Self appointed know-it- alls, opinionated, emotional and extreme in their views seem to have pushed our culture over a ledge that is creating a free fall of ridiculousness we may never come out of.

It’s not politically correct to call a sports team the Indians.  It’s not politically correct to call a nut case a nut case.  It’s not politically correct to exercise ones freedom of speech for fear of being accused of being racist, alienating someone or something….. It’s not politically correct to discipline your kids.  It’s not politically correct to stand up for simple common sense reprieves from the sensationalized media and bleeding heart mentalities and say “bull crap, MY kids are going to own and play with squirt guns—so get over it!”

Admittedly, the sound of the gunfire off in the distance would really make me nervous at home in the city.  I’d be locking the doors and getting out the Smith and Wesson. The sound doesn’t frighten me out here.  It feels natural.  The “Pop! Pop! Pop, pop pop!”  makes me wish I was with those people instead of sitting here ordering food.

As I sit eating lunch in the local supper club I overhear some old timer rancher-farmers talking behind me.  It sounds something like this:

Ed: Damn liberals.  Did you see the news?

Earl: Ya, what er they thinking, all this fuss about the guns?

Ed: Those schools are going crazy.  Closing schools because of a piece of paper?

Steve:  (chuckling)He, he he…remember back in school Earl?  Hell the school parking lot was full of guns.  Hell all us kids had guns in our cars or on us.  Teachers, too.  It was faster to count who DIDN’T have a gun.

They all laugh.

Ed: Yeah, how the hell would we manage the coyotes otherwise?

Steve:  Shoot, Ed, you couldn’t hit one if it stood and posed for you.

Earl: But no one ever shot no one neither. 

Steve: Nope they didn’t.

Ed: My pop would have tanned my ass if I mishandled a gun.  So would that Mrs. Gardner in 7th grade. Steve knows all about that, dontcha Steve?

Steve: (chuckling) that woman!  Boy if you did any misbehavin or disrespect, that woman would smack ya with the ruler and chap yer ass! 

Earl: Yeah I remember that old battle axe too.  She got me a few times for not minding my manners.

Steve: And now everyone goes to jail for disciplinin’ a kid.  There’s no rules; there’s no respect!

Ed: Yeah, the damn kids have more rights than the parents.

Steve: Yeah.  The whole problem starts at home.  The family unit is gone.  There’s no more family unit. We may not a had a pot to piss in, but we had family….rules….respect…and no one ever even thought about blowin stuff up or shootin people.

Earl: Yeah, boy you didn’t talk back to your folks.  Always did what they said.

Steve:  Yup.  Sure did.  So, did ya get them lambs sheared then?

Ed: Yes we did.  Golly that was a day. Still need to do a head count.  May have lost a couple to the coyotes. 

Earl:  Better get out there on the ridge and shoot some b’fore we’re down to chasing ‘em off with sticks.

Steve:  Oh them damn liberals will find a reason to outlaw sticks, too….

Ed: Yeah they should get their sorry asses out here’n do some of this work.  See what they think then.

The men break into laughter and drink their beers.

Out of the mouths of babes…..or senior citizen ranchers, actually.

I’ve always been a firm believer that there is much to learn from our elders.  These guys, are a classic example. Tucked away in the remote reaches of South Dakota, a few good men have their heads on straight and speak the truth most of our culture will never hear, and certainly never comprehend.  The idea that this wise generation is fading away scares me to pieces.

And it should scare you too. 

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