The Long Shot

20130220-101900.jpgThe last time I went hunting, was on my Dads cattle ranch in Eastern Oklahoma. I only had time for a one day hunt, due to my new job as a truck driver.

I arrived about an hour before legal daylight. There are two large pear trees in the pasture closest to the house. Whitetail are crazy over fruit, so this had to be a sure thing. Up went the pop up blind.

I brought two rifles with me that morning. One for deer and one for pest. My deer rifle is a Remington 700 with a Nikon 3×9, HS Precision stock, 24″ heavy bull barrel in .223. I was shooting Barnes Vortex factory loads. The pest gun has a name “The Pirate”. It’s a Spikes Tactical lower, with a skull and cross sabers engraved on it. I mounted an Oly Arms upper with a 18″ stainless tube in .223 WSSM on top and attached another Nikon 3×9. The hand loads for it were 35 gr. hollow points trotting along at a zippy 4600 fps.

As the day began to awaken across the field. Nothing stirred. An hour passed. Nothing. Two more hours, still nothing. A squirrel played in the field about 200 yards from my blind, and that was it. Around 10am I was about to call it a day, when the Fox squirrel returned. Not about to go home empty handed. It was time for a 200 yard head shot with my new .223 WSSM.

Those not familiar with .223 WSSM, allow me to give you a brief class. IT’S A FAST MUTHA! Gun powder burns at a rate around 4800fps. So at 4600 fps, its at the ragged edge of a rifles ability. They are pushing around 70,000 psi. Thats more pressure than the largest of African dangerous game rifles are capable of producing! And barrels don’t last. Now this part is very, very important. In a short barreled rifle, you get a fireball that looks like its of of the deck of a destroyer.

Back to the squirrel. My Remington’s barrel pokes well out of the blinds window, so it’s not a problem to shoot at all from inside a blind. The WSSM however, does not extend outside the blind. I did not think about this before the reticle settled on my target, nor did this thought enter my feeble mind as I was squeezing the trigger through it second stage. I was made painfully aware of this fact when the pin hit the primer! The following happened. As the bullet left the barrel my target was vaporized. The front of my blind was blown completely away by the muzzle blast from inside of it. I assume that from the outside it looked like a airbag deploying in a car accident. My first thought was I had died. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, and I couldn’t think because of the pain. I thought the gun had exploded. I was a victim of severe over pressure, and my own stupidity. My confusion lasted only a few seconds as my sight returned and my hearing returned to the point where I could now hear ringing! Even my chest hurt. It was time to call it a day.

When I made it back to Dads house some of my hearing had returned. My ears felt like the were stopped up from a bad head cold. I sat on the front porch with dad recounting what had just happened, and showing my Remington to Dad.

My Dad has a rifle rest on the front porch. For the last 30 years he has been shooting at a target he set up 400 yards away. Waiting for a buck to step out near the target to feed, so he can claim a 400 yard shot on a whitetail with his 30.06.

As we are sitting there talking about what happen. His rifle in the house and mine across my lap. I see a deer step out near his target. And at long last it’s a buck! My dads getting old, and his eyesight is failing. He couldn’t see the deer at all! I asked if him if he wanted the shot. But he passed. Most might think a .223 is on the light side for deer, but it’s fine as long as your a competent shooter. I am. I was trained to hit a man sized target that far with open sights in the army. This was cake.

After the shot, dad and I drove over to the buck and loaded him up. Spine shot. We didn’t have to look for him.

I didn’t know this at the time but this was to be my dads last hunt. I am so thankful I was a part of it. Even though it was on his porch, and I took the shot. The look on his face, the moment we shared. The time spent with my hero made all the permanent hearing loss worth it. Dads still with us, he’s in an adult care facility now. I don’t need hearing aids yet. Getting to enjoy one last hunt with my Dad. That was the long shot I’ll never forget.

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Voice

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Noodling

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Giant Shadow Bass invade Arkansas!

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This thing is huge! Not really. I’m holding the fish a foot away and taking the picture. My fishing buddy is about ten feet from me holding his hand like he is holding it.

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Okie Farm pond fishing

From my dads farm pond in Oklahoma. 8 bass, just over 16 lbs.

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whitfieldoutside's Blog

Music and Life Lessons

Not long ago I was newly divorced. Having never been divorced and not wanting the divorce, I tried very hard to keep my family unit together. I had a philosophy. “We don’t have to be husband and wife together, but we have to parent together.” Now this seemed like a solid foundation to protect our kids (woman child was 12, and the man wanna be was 15) from long term emotional damage due to the divorce and the break up of our family. I was Sooo wrong about that! That another story in its self!

My kids, like many others their age, spent their early teens by sitting in front of a television, spending hours playing the mind numbing video games “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band”. Their mother told me one day that the kids wanted to learn how to play real guitars instead of fake…

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Music and Life Lessons

Music and Life Lessons

Not long ago I was newly divorced. Having never been divorced and not wanting the divorce, I tried very hard to keep my family unit together. I had a philosophy. “We don’t have to be husband and wife together, but we have to parent together.” Now this seemed like a solid foundation to protect our kids (woman child was 12, and the man wanna be was 15) from long term emotional damage due to the divorce and the break up of our family. I was Sooo wrong about that! That another story in its self!

My kids, like many others their age, spent their early teens by sitting in front of a television, spending hours playing the mind numbing video games “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band”. Their mother told me one day that the kids wanted to learn how to play real guitars instead of fake ones. She heard about a lady, Selby Minner (everyone should google her and check out her story) who was hosting FREE guitar lessons at a nearby library. One small problem, we didn’t have any guitars. I did however, have a ski boat and none of us could ski. Sold that S.O.B. (sucky old boat) before you could say “Jimi Hendrix died from a rock and roll lifestyle”. We bought the kids their amplified, bone shaking, ear drum splitting, weapons of choice, and set about our journey.

After a few free group lessons at the library, I saw my kids were really into this. It looked like for the first time in their young lives they were driven by a passion for something.

I arranged for private lessons from Selby. Bought two more Guitars, one for me and one for my ex-&$@¡! I meant ex-wife. Sometimes the keyboard get confused.

After a few months of weekly private lessons and free group lessons, Selby pulled my aside.

“Whitfield, you know your private lessons, along with the money I get from the Arts Counsel, fund my free lessons. Well, the Counsel has pulled the funding. The free lessons are over. I may have to start playing gigs again to keep the lights on. If I do, I won’t have time to give your family lessons.”

This was not good…

These lessons were important to me. Not because the local youth would lose out. Not because of the free lessons for my kids. I could just go hire a new teacher. I did have a old high school buddy that was in a band (Free Kennedy) and gave lessons. I couldn’t do that, Selby was my friend now and she needed help, my kids liked the lessons, even B.F.G.P. (a cute little nick name my fiancé has given my ex, leave it at that, you’ll never guess it.) and I were getting along better due to having Selby in our life! I had to act. I didn’t know what to do. In classic me form, I shot my mouth off. I told Selby not to worry, that I would fund the free lessons. WTF!!! What did I just say? Where am I going to come up with the money?…

What if I went around to all the businesses in my home town, which it a booming retirement community of about 900 people, and asked for donations? I asked Selby about this. She told me I would need a 501c3 to make it legitimate. That way we could give donors a receipt for a tax deduction. We turned to a local non-for profit she was familiar with. F.O.R. Blues Inc. is a charity that works to give the gift of music to the masses. They jumped on board, well not really jumped, more like lounged on the deck sipping umbrella topped drinks while Selby and I paddled our Carnival cruiser onward.

After about two days I had raised $1000! Another week, I had raised it up to $1500 and had 3guitars that we could give away! You will notice I said “I” raised the $$. That’s because Selby was trying to pay her light bill by playing gigs. She had a gig at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame one night. It was a shindig for donors and members by invite only. Due to my new found “charity work” I was able to secure a invitation. While there, we presented the check for $1500 dollars to Selby for her free music program, “Plug in, Tune up, and Play”.

Now I know that $1500 doesn’t sound like a lot, but it brought 14 weeks music lessons to a small town in Oklahoma. Three kids got guitars, and 25 people, kids and adults came together to be apart of the gift of music.

My story doesn’t end here. That night at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, there was a lady from a major oil company there and saw what I was trying to do. About a month into our lessons I was contacted by Selby, and told they wanted to give us some money but we needed to write a letter to them for approval. Selby asked if I would do this, I did and, and a month or so later we had a check! $100,000 for Selby’s music program!!!

I no longer have anything to do with “Plug in, Tune up, and Play, it’s still going strong in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Arts Council is helping fund things again. Selby Minner still teaches music lessons. She has been featured on the Oprah. Her and her late husband, blues legend D.C. Minner, have been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis Tennessee for spreading music to our youth.

I learned a lot about selfless service in doing this. During the lessons a young boy approached me and said. “Thank you for doing this! You don’t know what this means to me!” I later found out his uncle was a musician and had passed away from cancer shortly after the boy was born. All of the uncles guitars were left to the boy, as the uncle didn’t have any kids. The young boy’s dad had recently lost his job and to keep the house, they had to sell all of the guitars. All the guitars, except one. That was the guitar the boy was playing for the first time that night at the lessons. I hope those lessons kept his late uncle’s love for music alive in him.

When we do things for others, no matter how small it seems at the time. Our kindness, charity, and love can be contagious beyond what we imagine. It may go silently by most, but it can have an affect on someone in away that might change their life forever. I raised a little bit of money to help out a friend. It helped out so much more than that. It helped me.

Check out http://www.dcminnerblues.com
For the history of Plug in, Tune up, and Play. You can find “Friends of Rentiesville Blues inc. (F.O.R. Blues)” there also.

20130219-100737.jpg Yours truly

20130219-170404.jpg D.C. Minner.

20130219-170415.jpg. Selby Minner

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Top Ten list of unshared advice that should have been shared but wasn’t…

Top ten tidbits of Advice that should have been shared but wasn’t.
1. Do not drink your bath water, or anyone else’s. Nothing good will come of this.
2. Never trust a fart. The odds are stacked against your underwear.
3. Never shout “HEY, WATCH THIS!” when you are 14 beers into your creativity.
4. Never buy a guinnea pig off of Craig’s list. Trust me on this one.
5. Building your own cannon, rocket, trebuchet, or castle moat may result in an unfavorable news story about you and your fugitive status.
6. If it has fangs, claws, or notoriously ill tempered don’t tease it. If you do, the nice ambulance driver will ask if you learned your lesson.
7. Hookers don’t fish. So don’t ask’em where’s a good place to catch sump’n.
8. When your alone in an elevator, don’t fart. As soon as you do, someone else will get on board.
9. Don’t see how many shots you can do in 30 mins. Because the next shots you take will be mug shots.
10. Don’t start a top ten list if you only have 9 things to list

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