011520145 Brocks Birthday Blast

Once upon a time,  two days before a long anticipated camping weekend with friends, complete with bonfires, hot dogs, hay rides, horseback riding and loads of fun was to start, a mom is told this is an “adult only” party, and not appropriate for her son’s 13th birthday.

I get the call.

“What can I do?  He is so disappointed!  I cannot believe this is happening!  We’ve been waiting for this party for months.  There was no information provided anywhere saying adults only, and I mentioned to them more than once this would be my son’s best birthday ever….they never said anything until now!”

Poor communication?  Hard tellin’, not knowin’.  Bottom line, how rude of “them”.  The kid deserves better, not to mention treatment of mom. 

We talk.  She decompresses from the frustration and disappointment of this turn of events.  We brainstorm.  She tells me what kinds of things he likes.   He likes guns.  He would love to go shoot trap with me.  He doesn’t have a “positive role model” in that arena.  They have a tight budget.  But this year is special—after all, he’s becoming a teen ager.

It’s tough to be a single parent.  It’s tough to raise boys without a positive influence from the male perspective.  It’s especially tough to not have an unlimited cash flow.  It’s even more difficult to work through the unique daily challenges of special kids like hers. 

I have an idea. I make a phone call. 

What a small world it is.  My dear friend Howard is familiar with this family, and is right there to help me make a special day for the boy.  I tell him what I’d like to set up.

“Give me a few hours, and I’ll call you back.  Be ready to go when I say so.” He says, and hangs up.  And sure enough, a few hours later, it’s all arranged.  A day this thirteen year old will never forget.

They arrive to my house right on time, and Brock has no idea what he is in store for.   In only a few minutes I hear from Howard.

“Okay, it’s time for us to go, we’ll be walking for a while.” Brock and his mom are confused.  I’m leading them on a walk through my neighborhood, past a shopping mall, and it would appear we are heading to a restaurant…but we walk right by and instead I lead them into the local Gun Shop.  There we meet up with two of the most amazing men I know:  Howard and Pat.

Howard, my longtime friend in the archery world, has dedicated his entire life to Hunter Education.  The “stick and string” traditional bow hunter has built a life around the beauty and joy of the bow, as well as the beauty and joy of educating others about responsible use of one.  His expertise spills over into the world of firearms, black powder in particular.   Howard may look like a jolly Santa, but he is dead serious about safety, respect, rules and responsibility and doesn’t put up with one iota of silliness when it comes to firearms.  As it should be.

Then there’s Howard’s son-in-law, Arthur “Pat” Patterson.  Pat is an active duty military man, highly decorated and an absolute connoisseur on firearms, and training soldiers on marksmanship and tactical.  Pat’s military career began in 1993.  He was immediately transferred to active duty where he completed Basic Combat and Advanced Individual Training, then completed airborne school.  From there he underwent a series of transfers and promotions as a fire director, onto Chief Fire Direction Computer serving overseas repeatedly.  Then he was deployed to Kuwait as Sergeant of the Guard for Force Protection operations, and again as the Chief Fire Director Computer for the 1/125 FA at the Udari range, Kuwait. Staff Sargent Arthur Patterson was awarded Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.

The man is light years beyond an expert marksman.  He has lead and trained scores of combat soldiers and snipers.  He commands his surroundings with strict discipline, honor, ethics and respect.

What a perfect person to coach Brock through his first experience handling firearms.

"Yes Sir!  I will, Sir!  Copy that, Sir!  Understood, Sir, YES SIR!"

“Yes Sir! I will, Sir! Copy that, Sir! Understood, Sir, YES SIR!”


Needless to say, Brock was initiated into the world of guns via the fear of God, Howard, and Pat to never ever EVER do anything inappropriate with a firearm, ever.  This message, of course, was reiterated by Brocks mom and I.  Wide eyed, hands clutched, and “church face” humble, the boy hung on every word the men spoke to him.  He mimicked every movement and procedure shown to him with exact precision.  His mom was stunned at her son’s ability to pay acute attention.  After almost two hours of basic firearms safety training they were ready to enter the range.  Two hours later Brock came out of the range, smiling, eyes glazed, carrying targets shot up in awesome patterns.

It’s not every day a boy has the opportunity to experience the world of firearms in this capacity, from a military firearms expert and not only see, but shoot nine different models of hand guns, from a simple 22 to a 48 special, 9mm and more.

Aspiring Zombie Extermination Expert!

Aspiring Zombie Extermination Expert!

 All that, plus shoot at zombie targets until he can’t hardly hold his arms up any longer. 

Suffice it to say, this turned out to be a pretty darn good birthday, after all.  Especially wrapping up with a birthday pizza, and a special invitation to join Pat and his family and learn how to reload the ammunition they used. 

 Is this the perfect birthday for every kid?  Heck no!  Was it the perfect birthday for this kid?  Absolutely!  Happy Birthday, Brock!UpThroughNJ2013 042

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  1. That was an amazing gift you gave to Brock.
    You’re an extraordinary person and I’m glad we spent many wonderful adventures together also… Be well…Miss you!

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