A few years back my Mom and Step-dad came for a visit and stayed with me for 2 weeks. About 3 days into their visit I informed them that I would be late for dinner. I didn’t give a reason. Mom asked why I would be late and I told her that I had a class to attend and didn’t elaborate. She of course asked what the class was. I could see in her eyes that she assumed I was obviously expanding my mental horizons with something along the lines of philosophy, advanced mathematics or quantum physics.
“I’m taking the training course for my concealed handgun license right after work, I’ll be a bit late but still hungry for your cooking when I’m done,” I said with a hint of dryness that should have reminded her that I had already received a science degree and philosophy was a been there done that scenario.
She said, “Oh…OK…what time will you be home?”
“I’ll have something hot when you walk through the door.”
My Mom is not an anti but my Step-dad was at the time. I wanted to avoid the conversation because I didn’t want to drive a wedge between…that. Putting her in a position of expressing an opinion concerning the actions of her Son and the known views of her husband was not fair to any party. It was a can of worms best left spilled but un-noticed. I had scheduled the class weeks in advance and didn’t realize the timing would coincide with their visit.
Long story short…My Mother’s Parents thought gun ownership was required and my Step-dad thought the 1994 AWB was about full auto machine guns.
Got home and had lamb-burgers with Roma tomatoes and caramelized sweet onions. I could tell that they had talked about “it” while I was gone and had decided to inquire about the whole idea with the same passion as if asking about the local weatherman’s distinction between “partly cloudy” and “partly sunny.”
I had to pull back my enthusiasm to match theirs and I droned on about the absurdity that soon I could pack a .45 into Starbucks while I could face hard prison time if I carried a concealed slingshot or pepper spray.
That at least got the conversation moving in a direction even an anti would roll their eyes at. We talked for awhile and all was cordial. We talked about the 6 thugs who lived in town. Yes, we had exactly 6 at that time. Now we have 4, and one of those is missing an index finger. I’ll post about that later; good story.
Fast forward 1 year.
Mom and Step-dad come out again for their yearly visit and we all decide to take my niece and nephew over to the coast for the day. They wanted to see the Wax Museum and Ripley’s “Believe it or not.”
We all ate breakfast together before loading into the car and I was carrying the PPK the whole time. Forecast was warm but the Oregon coast is always windy so I put on the heavy jacket.
Did the undersea gardens. Did the Wax Museum. Did Ripley’s. NO FREAKIN WIND.
I was sweating profusely by the time lunch was on everyone’s mind. My Mom asked me no less than three separate times why I didn’t just leave my coat in the car. I told her that I was fine as I was mopping my forehead.
To this day, she still doesn’t know that I was carrying concealed that day. She never suspected, nor did my Step-dad or my niece and nephew. I was the only one who knew, until we got to Mo’s Chowder House.
I took up my customary spot facing the entrance and ordered some over-priced seafood when a biker pulled up outside. Full leather, half-beard, he came in and sat down at the table next to us. He took off his leather jacket and slung it over the back of the chair. The lower left portion of his jacket hit the base of the seat with a metallic “thunk” and I knew he was armed. As soon as the sound rang out, he looked to see if anyone noticed and saw that I had. He gave me the once over and noticed I was sweating profusely while still wearing the coat and he gave me a head nod.
Immediately after that, he called the waitress over and ordered an ice cream dessert for my niece and nephew, obviously assuming them for my own children.
I then asked my niece/nephew to acknowledge the gift, which they did.
Moral of the story.
I spent 10 hours that day with my Mother and she never knew I was carrying a firearm.
Some random dude I spent 20 minutes next to, knew I was carrying a firearm.
Our community does not need to be intimate. A casual head nod can be all that’s needed.
Recognizing the enemy is a needed skill, but recognizing allies might have a better payoff.