Annie Oakley pointing a handgun in the air

National Left-Handers Day, Horse Tales P. 3 (late post)

At Tumbling River Ranch, there was the option to trap shoot–they taught you what you needed to know. I’ve never shot, before. I’m not sure I’ve ever really held a gun–not even my brother’s old BB gun. 🤔 Nope. Never held a gun (squirt and Nerf guns don’t count). I’ve heard about skeet shooting, but not trap. I had to look up the difference. I also personally experienced the serious nature of eye dominance. A couple of the guests were talking about eye dominance as we were loading into the van to go shooting (a different person each time). I’m talking six inch difference in my case (boy, I really wanted to say something crass there 😮). What do I mean? Well, I held the rifle in my right hand and closed my left eye. The instructor said I missed the target by about six inches. Leave both eyes open. Okay…I felt a little off and everything was moving around. Yup. Missed that one, too. Okay, shoot with your left hand and eye. What?! Noooo. Okay. I switched it up and hit it multiple times in a row. Dead on. Why do I bring this up? Glad you asked. There are a few reasons.

First, it’s national left-handers day–found that out by total accident, hence the post to celebrate and make connections. Being more left-handed than I realize is connected to my long ol’ story. Second, shooting was part of my mental list of “things I’d really like to try.” Shooting at objects, not living things. Plus, I wanted to do something different. I’ve always been curious about skeet shooting and I didn’t really know the difference between that and trap shooting. Short answer: direction and angle of the clay pigeons (correct me if I’m wrong). If someone would like to post a longer answer in the comments, that would be great! Third, my alter-ego comes into play–someone called me Annie Oakley after our first round of shooting 😂. I can’t tell you how much that made my day. Because that moniker has connections with my last job.

I created an alter-ego (Norma) as a joke–I really like to poke fun at myself, if you haven’t already realized. A friend told me that I was the most paranoid person she knew. ParaNorman was an animated movie that was out around that time, so I took her “paranoid” and mixed it with the feminine version of “Norman” and came up with ParaNorma, Norma for short. I realize the base words (paranormal/paranoid) are different, but I was being cheeky. When my paranoia or worry was high my coworkers used to joke and ask if they were talking to Ami or Norma. Eli used to ask just because. Later, we began to joke about my alter-egos based on “moods” or what was going on. One “persona” was Annie Oakley because I always wore tall boots, primarily with long skirts and a denim jacket. One day I wore a skirt with a shorter flouncy hem (don’t go crazy–all of them were “long” 🙄) and cowboy boots–kind of Annie Oakley-ish. I have a vast collection of boots–I love them. Remember my newsletter about the boots driving around with UPS? 🤨 Mind you, summers get up in the triple digits here, so that persona was a fav of a couple of my colleagues because I was always over-dressed with my ass-kicking boots. There’s also a boot and butt-kicking story as well as some sharp-shooting language coupled with it. I’ll just leave you with that. Additionally, years prior to that, I worked with a couple of self-absorbed women who couldn’t bother to learn my name. They kept calling me “Annie.” Ugh. Or Ann. 😶 I can’t remember how long that went on–I’m thinking about a month. I stopped hearing it or maybe I was too busy being snide, mentally of course. Point being? Annie Oakley is a moniker I’m fond of, and it’s a layered and textured kind of fondness.

Trap shooting was available to the adults twice–I went both times. No surprise there. A sweet couple (Claire and Bob) celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this month (!!!) who came with their daughter, Liza, and her family as well as with couple friends (Jane and John) went twice as well. (Phew–that was quite the sentence) I really enjoyed this family. They were fun and sweet and funny. Claire is a hoot. She’s the one who kept calling me Annie Oakley. She’s also from the South which adds flavor to it. She also had me “on guard” for the property and had a job all lined up for me as a greeter at Walmart. I had to ask about that one because all I caught was being a Walmart greeter and all I could think of was “we don’t have Walmart greeters like that in Arizona.” I missed the mark on that one.😬

When we got to point where they were throwing pigeons going in different directions, I shot four in a row. Won’t lie–it felt good. I could hear Claire’s voice saying something to Chief, followed by Chief saying, “I don’t want to make her angry.” Apparently, one of the things she said was “tell the burglars to wait until your wife gets her gun.” There was also a warning to not upset me to Chief–although he can’t remember what he said in response. Remember, I’m trying to shoot and they’re having a running commentary behind me. At least I didn’t do the rookie thing and turn around with the gun pointed at all of them. Joking aside, I took this very seriously. What I didn’t take seriously was my ability to hit a target dead on. I didn’t think I’d hit anything and I proved myself correct until I switched my hold from right to left. Every morning after the first shooting trip Claire teased me. 😂🤠 The second trip didn’t start off as well as the first, but ended well. Doesn’t matter, I enjoyed myself all the same. Maybe it was beginners luck, maybe not. It’s the switching to something initially awkward (my left hand) that came to feel “natural” that’s interesting. I let go of “should”–how do I know how it “should” feel, let it be and just see. It’s also the power of naming. Chief Sitting Bull was so impressed with Annie Oakley that he called her Watanya Cicilla, the Lakota name for Little Sure Shot. Quite the honor to receive a “name,” bringing you into someone else’s culture–language is powerful like that. There’s something so intertwined with your native tongue and your very essence. Japanese is my native tongue and I’ve lost it–at times I keenly feel that loss. On a positive note, having an awesome aim isn’t too shabby, either.

As I mentioned in the newsletter, I postponed posting this because of the release of The Reluctant Bandit. I didn’t want to put up a bunch of posts all at once. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a tremendous amount of stuff posted on Instagram about Left-handers day. I will say that over the years I noticed that I do use my hands equally with some things and my left primarily on others, despite being right-handed. Claire mentioned that I may have been left-handed and was forced to switch as a kid. I have a coloring crayon memory of being told to switch, but other than that I can’t remember. I do remember my dad being forced to switch. That was back in the days of getting rapped with a ruler as correction. No thank you.

So for the record, I really enjoyed shooting at the clay pigeons and would do it again in a heart beat. If we were invaded and I had to defend myself and others, then yes, I suppose I better do what I can. With that said, I don’t want to shoot any living creature so I won’t be taking Claire’s imaginary Walmart greeter position, but thanks for joking with me Claire! I enjoy a good ribbing, especially since I know you don’t mean it. 🤠

Give me a shoutout! 🤠


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