Monday, August 25, 2008

A rifleman persists - Appleseed pt. 2

I pushed myself up from my prone position on the shooting mat and slowly got my feet under me. "Uh-oh, " I thought again, realizing what was happening. I had heatstroke on our honeymoon in Cancun. I walked under the canopy, seeking shade.

I called to my husband, who was preparing to shoot again. He had already attached his sling. "Mike! We have a problem."

I was starting to feel a little woozy - and panicky. "I'm not feeling very good - a little Mexico-y. I need a Gatorade. Could you get me one? Please?" I had been drinking water all day, honestly, but I am just not good in the heat. I am a librarian - we put on sweaters in July because it gets so chilly in our hermetically sealed, hyper air conditioned buildings. I am not used to spending hours under the sun on a 93°F day. And oh, dammit, I could feel tears starting to well up - Breda the delicate flower was wilting, and fast. The Gatorade appeared and I chugged it. Prep time was almost over and I still wasn't slung up. I wiped down my arms and neck with a wet cloth and just as I was about to get back on the firing line, the very kind, very patient, former Marine instructor asked, "Do you want to sit out this round?"

"No. I'm going to shoot." And I didn't do too badly, all things considered, but I was happy to learn that we were taking a break. I went back under the canopy for shade, still feeling the effects of the heat. I was sweating, clammy, a little shaky and about to learn that the sweetest, most humbling thing in the world is to receive the kindness of strangers. The two men next to me on the firing line decided to rescue me.

My heroes, Mike and Frank.
Mike kept bringing me cold drinks and Frank held ice on my head and neck. They got me cooled down and rehydrated enough to finish the Appleseed shoot and continued to check on me for the rest of the day, even helping me load magazines when they saw I was behind during prep time. I can't ever thank them enough.

(I later learned that along with being perhaps the nicest men in the world, Mike and Frank are both cowboy shooters and members of the Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club. We're planning on keeping in touch and visiting - and shooting!- again soon.)

I moved my mat over into the shade and from the prone position, I looked over at my new friend. "I guess it's just you and me now, Frank."

"Okay, kid," he answered, smiling. Rest period over, we got back to the business of learning to be riflemen.

Ready on the firing line!

(...to be continued and concluded in pt.3)

11 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

You might the nicest people at gun ranges

TJH said...

Yeah, funny how that is--when everyone is armed.

Perhaps it's just the fact that society's most trustworthy members are generally found on a firing range.

Willorith said...

Gun people are truly the salt of the American earth. I suppose that there are some undesirables but I haven't found any.

kaveman said...

You met nice people at a, uh, a gun range?!

I thought they were all just slobbering neanderthals that would kill you in an instant if only they wern't so distracted by wiping the imaginary spiders out of their unkempt hair.

I guess you just got lucky.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Oh, I didn't say they didn't try to shake imaginary spiders out of unkempt hair...

Earl said...

Glad you met nice people that recognized the cool down you needed, and I understand the library doesn't prepare one for real life adventures in WEATHER - I have to check the computer to figure out if the Sun is shining.

Yeah, one day on the Sunny Range in Summer takes away a couple of years, acclimatize and conquer.

mad saint jack said...

Bitter Clingy Nice People.

I've spent lots of time in a hot kitchen and my favorite trick was Freezing a wet towel and wearing it on the back of my neck.
Beware this may cause a wet T-shirt issue (and I’m trying to write that in the most neutral tone possible). In the DishTank I was already wet.

WV:qhqdmfqh (they really hate me.)

Cowboy Blob said...

Congrats on stepping outside your comfort zone... you didn't have to overdo it! :)

I've pretty much retired from summertime (Phoenix) matches... I can take the 100+ heat but not the high heat and humidity in July and August.

Stay hydrated!

phlegmfatale said...

Poor lamb! I'm glad some good folks were around to give you backup. It sounds like a grand day, just the same!

Stephen said...

I can understand...at my first Appleseed, after two days of shooting I walked away with two bloody elbows (remember those pads) and ten pounds lighter. Yet, I'll do it again. Good for you.

Billy Oblivion said...

Hey yo, first time visiter here with a paragraph of advise:

Next time you need to spend all day in the hot hot sun you may want to consider wearing a looser t-shirt and a loose light (both weight and color) long sleeve shirt (I have 2 by Columbia that are mostly nylon and GREAT for a day at the range except they've gotten a bit tight across the shoulders).

Also you may wish to consider getting a pair of thinner, looser trousers to wear. If you need the elbow/knee protection get pads.