Easter Sunday we went to my parent’s farm for dinner. After the normal amount of bickering between my Mom and Dad, good-heartedly refereed by my brother, sister and myself, we started to get ready to head back home.
My Dad and brother went outside to do "chores" (sit in the shop and bullshit), Mr. DD woke up from his hour-long nap on the sofa and XBoy was getting bored and antsy. As we sat around the table, chatting about nothing, my husband wandered into what we call the den. It’s just a very small room that doubles as an entry-way that has space for nothing more than some hanging plants, a few items of taxidermy, an antique writing desk, phone and the gun cabinet.
Mr. DD is quite the gun fancier, unfortunately. He gets the "hobby" from his dad who has enough rifles, guns and ammunition collected that when he showed a small group of Japanese business men his safes, I’m sure they thought he was his own personal militia as firearms are a no-no in Japan.
On the other hand, my own father’s collection is just a handful of old rifles, most probably not in working condition. My husband pulled out an old .22 rifle from the cabinet. He discovered it was loaded and proceeded to unload it (safety first). He took out two rounds and then found one jammed. I can’t describe exactly what he saw or what happened since I was in the next room. All I can say is suddenly a loud BANG came from the room.
I jerked around in my chair at the table to peer around the corner. There stood my husband, dumb-founded. Without even touching the trigger, the rifle had gone off. He was holding the rifle, barrel up at the time so we looked to see if it had actually discharged a round, or if somehow a blank, like a "bird-banger", had gone off. We didn’t see a hole in the ceiling, so we figured it was a blank.
However, on the wall, up high there was a display of pheasant feathers and upon closer inspection, we saw the hole hidden behind the feathers, which was about 10" from the ceiling.
At the same time, XBoy called me from the bathroom, which was on the other side of the wall. He was doing his thing when he heard the bang and wanted to know what was going on. There he was, still sitting on the toilet and I saw something in his hair: white flecks of plaster.
I looked up at the wall adjoining the den and bathroom and saw the exit hole of the .22 and another entry hole into the ceiling, which leads to the attic (luckily).
I have to admit that we all initially found the whole situation rather funny. My husband just shot up my parent’s house. I reminded him that this was much worse than the time I shot the bat in our old house with a pellet gun. But as the shock and surprise wore off, we all started to realize how badly this could have gone.
Mr. DD could have been holding the rifle differently and hit himself; hit my sister sitting in the doorway; or what if XBoy had been in the room and Mr. DD had held the rifle at another angle, say looking down the barrel? Or the angle of the shot could have gone a little lower and shattered the wall-width mirror in the bathroom instead of shooting over it with XBoy opposite? The what ifs when it comes to the bad things that could have happened…
I find myself asking "what if I hadn’t lost Vivienne in 2004", trying to imagine how better things might have been. To have to wonder what could have happened Sunday has given me nightmares. A million other scenarios could have happened. We were lucky it ended with this one. Very, very lucky.