parallax background

Out of Nowhere!

What’s in a Friendship?
October 19, 2021
Winter Comin’!
November 2, 2021
Harry Easton was an old, white-haired cowboy who liked to joke that he could comb his hair with a washcloth. Thanks be to God, when I was a troubled thirteen year old, Harry threw his grandfatherly arm around me and wouldn't let go. His driving inclination to teach kids the 'important stuff' ran deep in his bones. When it came to guns and horses, he was a patient but rigid taskmaster who taught me well. Before long I was respectfully packing a Colt, Single Action Army in a western-style holster around the Desert Moon Ranch or on rides a'horseback out towards the Shadow Mountains. He taught me tremendous reverence for firearms and their devastating potential; sternly enforcing safe handling laws that remain carved into my muscle memory today. On top of that he taught me fundamental marksmanship requirements that eventually honed their way to a championship and a gold and a silver medal. Ultimately, that skill and devotion that Harry initiated, led me into a job as a military marksmanship instructor and, later, into law enforcement.

A person - who is able - needs to have a level of self reliance when it comes to defending and protecting themselves and their family. In my book, that includes comfort, familiarity and skill with firearms.

The accompanying painting, titled "Out Of Nowhere" by the artist, was inspired by a real incident that happened to friends of his. That captivating painting, and my strong feelings about the value and importance of firearms, provoked this poem.

Out of Nowhere!

My son had just turned sixteen
We drew two Wyoming tags that year
Our hunt was still more'n a week off
But we'd already packed our gear

The plan was to trailer our horses
Driving north up highway eighty-nine
I already had our pickup serviced
Ready for this bucket-list dream of mine

Adam started on Dad's Monkey Ward .22
When he was a mere six years old
Some ladies at church said that was way young
Sayin' father's pride was makin' me hasty 'n bold

But I knew the strength of my boy
He had him a real keen mind
Whenever he was given clear instruction
With each detail he quickly aligned

Rifles’d been hangin' on a rack in our home
Since well before Adam had his first look
My grandfather's shotgun at the ready
My Colt revolver hangin’ on a hallway hook

They all were kept fully loaded
Nothin' more useless than an empty gun
My wife and I steady teachin' safety
Amongst the million things you try teachin' a son

He'd had early instruction to not touch
When he was a bit older we would advise
"Consider every gun to be loaded
Until you've personally proved otherwise"

"And never point it at anything
You don't intend to shoot
The safety-on is a good thing
But the best safety is your being astute"

Early on he showed innate skill
Jumping cans around at fifty yards
Even with my single action army
He'd group smaller'n a deck of cards

Time came we set out on that hunting trip
Made our way north to Star Valley, Wyoming
Settin' up camp a'side a two-track
After a bit of searchin’ and roaming

Once the horses were fed and watered
We had us a light dinner and hit the sack
We'd be up early before sunrise
Settin' out south hunting a fine rack

Spotting a fine six-point buck
Unusual out in the open late morning
My son dropped him with Gramps' 30-30
Happy to've come upon him without warning

We set about to dress him out
Adam went to his saddle for his stone
Out of nowhere a lion was on that buck
Rumbling out a horrifying moan

His fiery eyes locked tight on mine
He crept a'yowlin’ over that fallen deer
I tripped, falling over backwards
Unarmed and fearin' death was near

That cat raised a threatening paw to strike
Pointing at me with his razor-like claw
I could smell his pervading, putrid breath
Reeking from the fangs of his gaping maw

I reached for a rock in defense
But before I could get a good hold
A shot rang out and punched that cat
Right trough the heart, droppin' him cold

I glanced towards the horses still gaspin'
And saw me a heavenly eyeful
Re-cocked and ready to shoot again
Was Adam with my Winchester rifle

I blindly stumbled over towards him
Crazy-screamin' over my sudden reprieve
Hollerin’, “Oh thank God, thank God!”
Still unsure it was something to believe

My son was pretty shook too
We hugged and cried our thanks for grace
I thought I'd be serious bad hurt or kilt
But I had nary a scratch on my face

Well now we had two critters to skin
I laughed at myself remembering my knife
That Model 94 was Adam's now
He'd sure earned it saving my life

Keep on raisin' up your children
Teachin' them the way they should go
Ferheavensakes, teach 'em to shoot
It just might save someone a death blow

by Rik Goodell

© 2021. All rights reserved

I continue to be grateful for the generosity of Clark Kelly Price
for allowing me to use his art alongside my poetry it inspires.
This wildly dangerous depiction, of what can happen when
field-dressing game, is a reminder to us all to stay alert.

The artist calls his painting, "Out of Nowhere" and it is
the precise provocation for my writing this poem.

See more of this artist's work at

error: Alert: Content is protected !!