Not too long ago, my wife and I were driving in the car and somehow we ended up on on the topic of camping, which neither of us enjoy or wish to partake in. I mentioned how, as a Cub Scout, I did some camping, stayed in a cabin in the woods and did Cub Scout-y things like fish and make fire.
That led to a discussion of some other random stuff from my scouting days. For example, my father and I stayed overnight on the USS Little Rock, which is docked in the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. It’s hard to forget the Little Rock, as the sleeping quarters consisted of three-levels high sheet metal bunk beds.
Then I recalled a trip my scout troup took that caused my wife to burst out laughing in that “holy shit” kind of laugh that is equal parts amazement and disbelief.
I mentioned that one of the troop fathers owned a low-powered radio station that was run out of a small, run-down house in the middle of nowhere. Literally, this place had no neighbors or anything for miles, just open farmland and woods. The house sat alone on a hill with at least 100 yards of nothing in every direction, only a gravel road out front and thick woods behind.
From the outside, the house looked fairly normal aside from the giant antenna protruding off the roof. Inside, however, the radio station had taken over. The kitchen and bathroom remained, but the other rooms had been converted to a broadcast studio, lounge, records room, etc. I believe the station primarily played Easter European music, mostly Polish. We got a tour, learned about how the radio worked, checked out the mixing board, what you would expect.
Then we went out back, where things go decidedly more interesting.
The Dad who owned the station opened the trunk of his car, and started pulling out guns. Lots of guns. See, we weren’t just going to learn about radio, there was a bonus lesson of target practice, with the target being the empty woods behind the station.
This guy had an assort of handguns, rifles, shotguns and, I’m not shitting you, an Uzi, which any kid growing up in the ’80s recognized immediately thanks to various films by Chuck Norris, Arnold and Sly. We took turns learning to load, handle and fire the guns. I took my turn, firing the Uzi, and kept one of the spent shells for years afterward like a trophy.
It was at this point in my story telling that my wife interjected with a comment about how it sounded like I was being indoctrinated into some child militia.
In retrospect, I feel fairly confident that the Dad was probably preparing for the apocalypse, whether that be by invading Russians, the undead or some sort of plague. He had a house out in the middle of nowhere from which he could broadcast, positioned so he sould spot any approaching Soviet troops/zombies, and an arsenal of weapons to protect himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a fallout shelter dug somewhere in the field or the basement of the house.
So, if you ever ask me, have I fired an Uzi in preparation for “the end,” I can respond in the affirmative.Social tagging: boy scout > Buffalo > erie county > uss little rock > uzi > ytrh