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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 118-----------APRIL 2012



April 1, 2012

Happy April Fool's Day!

I got my April Fool's day surprise a day early!

Last night was the annual Inaugural Ball at the Elks Lodge in honor of Jim Bedard, the new Exalted Ruler for next year.  Preceding the dinner and dance, an installation ceremony for the newly elected officers for the year beginning April 1, 2012 was held in the Lodge Room.  The session was open to all, and unlike our regular meeting nights, we had to scrounge up some additional chairs to seat everyone.

Since I was re-elected as a Lodge Trustee, I was among the officers being installed.  I was honored to be installed by our son Rick, as he is a Past Exalted Ruler and was part of the installation crew.  After the installation, all the Officers and Trustees present were introduced to the dinner crowd in the dining room.

Now comes the April Fool's part!  When outgoing E.R., Rex King announced some awards for the past year, I was both shocked and pleased to be named Officer Of The Year!  This surprised me to the extent that several people later told me, "You should have seen the look on your face when Rex announced your name!"  I'm also not ashamed to say that the honor and recognition made my eyes a tad damp.

The real shocker was, that my entire family knew that I was to receive the award over a week before, and all managed to keep it a secret!  I'll try to insert a .tif image of the certificate here and share it with y'all.

While this image doesn't replicate the parchment-like texture and color of the actual certificate, it will give you an idea of how it looks.

As reported last month, Rick and I did attend the Yakima In Service Training session along with about 300 other Hunter Education Instructors.  And yes, there were some interesting moments.  During the sessions discussing the new 'draft' policy manual, there were comments from instructors that ran the gamut from tearful, to angry, to most everything in between.  I didn't hear anyone say that they really liked everything in the policy 'draft.'

I remember a sign in the barber shop I frequent, that quoted that old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"  However, this little piece of paper went on to say, "But, turn it over to a bureaucracy and they'll keep fixin' it 'til it is broke!"  From the comments, some of my fellow instructors may have seen that same sign, and really BELIEVED IT!

Do you remember that period of years beginning in the 1970's, when most all the major arms manufacturers began installing those 'Lawyer Proof' triggers on their rifles?  I bought a few rifles during those years, and they nearly all had trigger pulls that made shooting to the gun's accuracy potential nearly impossible without either installing aftermarket triggers or having the existing trigger tuned by a competent gunsmith.

The risk managers were apparently saying, "Make those triggers have a 10 pound pull, and we'll contend that it's impossible to have an inadvertent discharge in case we get sued."

It only took the manufacturers 30 years or so to realize that a finely tuned, crisp, 3 or 4 pound trigger is actually much safer than those requiring a hammer and a rock to trip!  Nearly all the major rifle makers have modified or re-designed their triggers in the last few years to rectify the problem.

It would appear that part of the new 'draft policies' are driven by the risk management corps as with those terrible triggers of the past.  It seems to some of us, that policy restraints that may make it more difficult to most effectively teach Hunter Safety are not in the best interest of the program.

All instructors were invited to respond with suggested changes to the draft policies by April 30th.  I do intend to submit some suggestions, but with the current atmosphere, expect they will be ignored.

Oh well, most of the instructors in the state are so dedicated to the program, that we'll simply find ways to get the job done, and done well, in spite of any obstacles placed in the path.

Enough of that!  Let's talk about the weather.

The past week or so has had all the local TV weather prognosticators carrying on about this being the wettest March on record.  Officially, in 1995 3.81 inches of rain, or moisture equivalent in snow, fell in Spokane.  March 2012 officially comes in at just under 4.5 inches.  Oh the crying and gnashing of teeth about such copious amounts of rainfall!

Any of my mid-west friends want to explain a week or so of those Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, or Nebraska thunderstorms?  Heck, 4 or 5 inches of rain may fall in a day or two as I remember it.

When we tell mid-westerners that we live in Washington State, we quite often get, "How can you stand all that rain?"

Well, folks don't realize that things are quite different on the east side of the Cascade mountain range.  While it may snow a lot here at the ranch, we don't get nearly the amount of rainfall that drenches Seattle every year.  In fact, we usually get downright parched in late summer, early fall.

Even though we chuckle when the natives marvel at 4 inches of rain in a month, some of that rain has been snow here at the ranch.  While most has melted away now, it has been cold and windy to the degree that I have not, and will not, venture to the shooting range until it gets considerably warmer and drier!

We've been watching with interest, the unusually warm weather back home.  I talked to a friend in Liberty, Mo today who told me it was 91 degrees at his house.  Well, we'll fix that!  As I mentioned last month we will be trekking back to Missouri and Iowa later this week to celebrate Ann's mother's 100th birthday.  As I recall, the last time we were back there in April, it rained every day and stayed so cold we nearly had to buy new wardrobes!  In fact, that road trip back, found us snowed in near Salt Lake City for one day and two more days in Grand Junction, Colorado before we even got there!

Rick, Christi, and Jennifer have nearly all their arrangements made for their Australia trip for Jennifer's cross country races.  They will be traveling with the DownUnder Sports group who has their itinerary all mapped out.

Meanwhile, Ann and I didn't want to be tied to the fixed schedule the Kids will be on, so are trying to arrange our travels with a travel agency here in Spokane.  All we really want to do is see one or both of the races Jennifer will be running, and be on our own for the rest of the trip.  We'll be working on that project over the next few weeks.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a plaque advertised in one of Ann's little catalogs that seem to arrive daily.  (Because of their propensity to slide out of the bundle and fall on the ground when we take the mail from the box, Ann's catalogs are affectionately known as 'slick bastards' around here.)  No attribution was given:

"Laugh When You Can, Apologize When You Should, And Let Go Of What You Can't Change.  Kiss Slowly, Forgive Quickly, Play Hard, Take Chances, Give Everything, And Have No Regrets.  Life Is Too Short To Be Anything But Happy!"

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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