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Call Me Big Gram
by Marian Brooks

I am certain that it’s rare to see a 70 year old grandmother at a gun show. Yet, there I was with my friend Elaine. We looked like Thelma and Louise planning a bank robbery. The ratio of men to women at the Oaks Gun Show on Sunday was about three hundred to one although we hadn’t thought of this as a venue to meet guys. Most of them had huge stomachs, scruffy beards, no hair and lots of missing teeth. On display were gutting knives (also good for slicing brisket), swords, assault weapons, gas masks, thousands of hand guns and strawberry smoothies. If you wanted to know how to murder someone or how to preserve wild berries, there were detailed instruction manuals available for both. 

I was distressed to see one booth with swastikas, SS insignia and German WW II helmets. I resisted the impulse to strike the vendor with one of the eagle’s head canes nearby. My decision to purchase a gun moved into sharper focus.   

With a mixture of fascination, revulsion and fear, excitement and awe we walked up and down aisles of ammunition and rifles until we met Bill.

Bill was short, clean-cut and pleasant and he didn’t laugh at us. He owned a gun shop about 20 miles away. We were checking out small handguns for self protection if necessary but had no idea what we needed. Bill was very patient. He explained that pistols have magazines which you load into the bottom, making a reassuring snap. Think Law and Order and Glocks. Revolvers, on the other hand, have cylinders which click and spin. You just open the gun and load the ammo. Think Clint Eastwood and Westerns. I suppose we were the only two people for whom this was news. One of our main challenges though would be how to remember where we’d stashed the guns and ammo once we had them. Elaine wanted to be able to carry her gun with her. Given the news recently, I could see her point. We found the 357 Magnum too heavy and the trigger, difficult to pull. The Smith & Wesson 38 was lighter, made of Titanium and featured a laser beam so that the bullet would have a reasonable shot at reaching the target. The guns did not come in colors. No senior discount on weekends. We told Bill that we would visit his shop in the near future.

Somewhere along the way, Elaine purchased jewelry cleaner and beef Jerky for her son. We both bought pepper spray.

After two hours, Elaine’s feet were hurting and my back ached.

Once at home, I opened the freezer and filled a bowl with Death by Chocolate ice cream. That’s how I want to go.