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)