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Monday, July 6, 2009

HOM: The Andersons

Jerry's wife was an Anderson and since I brought them up in the last entry I guess I might as well tell a few stories about them Les Anderson had the Hook & Bullet, a little gray building that sat just north of where Twin Acres Drive now hits the highway. (In those days that street was known as The Poor Farm Road.) Les sold fishing tackle and guns and reloading supplies and related items and did gun repairing. Dad and most of the neighbors went to him for licenses and and fishing supplies. Les was pretty gruff but a good-hearted guy. My first shotgun broke about a year after I bought it & Les fixed it for me and then sent the bill to Winchester since a defective part was to blame. This was a lifesaver for a penniless 17 year old. On the flip side, he was known to be a little abrupt with customers he didn't like. His Doberman had the same personality. He'd lived in Chicago and had a little gunsmithing shop on the Loop. A customer stopped in to pick up a rifle he'd had Les work on but wanted proof that it worked before he would pay for it. Les didn't argue -- he just grabbed some ammo, chambered a round, walked out on the sidewalk and touched off a shot into the air. A very pale customer was quite happy to pay up and leave -- quickly! Barb's dad died before I knew them, but I did meet her mother. His MIL gave Jerry a few gray hairs. He was talking to her about break-ins in her neighborhood since she lived alone and she told him her only concern was that the floor by her bed had a bad squeak. When she saw Jerry's puzzled look she explained that she kept her trusty old .38 target revolver by her bed, loaded, but she was concerned that a prowler would hear her get up and then run away before she had a clear shot at him. Jerry explained that such an event was a GOOD thing, but she still felt a clear shot was better than a scared prowler. They compromised by agreeing that she'd put the first shot into the floor by her bed before she got up and started hunting. Barb's dad must have been a little on the independent side too. He was a Border Patrolman and was stationed for a while in El Paso. He was off duty and in civvies when a couple of obstreperous young men tried to force his car off of the road. I guess they were a little surprised when he put a .45 bullet into their car. Unfortunately, they had influential fathers so Barb's dad was fairly hastily transferred to the other border. Jerry always puzzled over a comment his FIL made to Les at a family get together: "Les, remember the way that Lieutenant screamed when you threw him off that balcony?" Les replied by totally changing the subject and walking off. Apparently this referenced an event from their National Guard days in Illinois. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)