Small Friends and Little Playmates


Many years ago, my family would go to the beach. What a vacation. We would set up on the beach with towels and umbrellas. The kids would jump in the surf and sit under the shade of the umbrella. Occasionally, people we knew would stop by and talk with us on the beach. The kids would ask if they could get a small friend to play with. What they meant was could they go play with other children that were playing at the beach? Years have pasted but we still talk about going to play with a small friend.

On Saturdays, I go visit with my friends at the airport. I call those friends the brain trust because they have just about all the answers to the questions that plague every day life and how the universe is run. My wife calls them small friends or little playmates. “Going to see your little playmates?”

Whenever I go somewhere, she always asks which of my little playmates I’m going to see.

This week I went to sporting clays shoot. Yes, three of my little playmates went too. All these small friends are over seventy years old but they are still counted as little playmates.

Getting these guys together is always fun, especially since we get to shoot guns. Even better is the fact that we keep score. We’re not worried about winning the sporting clays shoot. We just have to keep up with who is the best shot between the little playmates.

There are three things that you have to always have at a sporting clays event. You always have to have eye protection, ear protection and tough skin. The tough skin is not because of being around guns. The tough skin is to take all the verbal abuse. Remember, we are keeping score and it will soon be obvious who is the best shooter. Also, you have to take whatever criticism gets handed your way, because you are not shooting very well. Additionally, some quick wit helps to fight back because you lost the clay in the sun, you can’t see, you’re tired, old, shaky, you’re shooting an old gun, or just about a dozen other excuses for why you missed the target. One guy always says that we need to practice more. That is true. More practice would help tremendously, especially since all of the above things are true. (Shaky, can’t see, old, tired, feel free to add any others as necessary)

We did have fun though. It’s always a good day when you can go out and shoot guns, hit a few targets and insult one another. We even kept score to claim bragging rights on who is the best shot. It’s too bad that we had to turn in the scorecards at the end of the shoot. The best shooter wants to make a copy of the scorecard to send it out at Christmas time. The scorecard would be better than any Christmas card and get in an additional poke. (The gift that keeps on giving.)

When I got back from the sporting clays event, my wife asked what I had learned from my little playmates. I had learned two new things. It turns out one of our friends has an eye disease. Which kind? Either I can’t see or you can’t see. We also got about two hours of non-stop jokes and insults to use.

The best part was I had the best score. I only shot one point over fifty percent. There was only one or two point’s difference between everyone’s score. I heard a few new excuses and I wrote them down for the next time. They were not that original but “The sun was in my eyes and I lost sight of the second one,” are always good excuses.

My wife asked did everyone have a good time. Of course they all had a good time. Good fellowship and getting to shoot guns is always fun. It was even better for me. I was the best shooter and I’m still the best looking.