Two Days, Two Nights, and Two Jugs

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Jeff Hoover

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
919
Coming off a week at the beach with the In-Laws, I was in dire need of some time off. Doc was kinda in the same boat, as his better half decided to vacation without him since he went bear hunting without her a couple months ago. In a way, you could say Doc was in the penance doghouse. Being that I was with him on the bear hunt, I only felt it right that I should help cheer him up, and not be so lonely. A quick two-day trip was planned to coincide with his beloved’s absence.

Driving across the Pa. Turnpike sparks all kinds of memories for me. Being originally from Pa., I was well versed in the travel to and from the state, as all my relatives still live there. The past months rain really greened up all the alfalfa fields and the corn looked gigantic for this time of year. As I pass the Somerset exit, a sign advising of the 911 flight 93 memorial is clearly visible. It reminds me of the new times, in which we live, and the act of brave patriot Todd Beamer, and his battle cry of “Let’s roll !” as he and several other passengers lead the charge to the overtaken cockpit.

Other sights that make me flash back to my childhood are the two black barns I pass with the yellow Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco. I told Doc I remembered reading an article in Sports Illustrated as a kid that stated all the barns painted in Md., Pa., WVa., Oh., and I believe Va. Were painted by the same man who worked out of a wood paneled station wagon. He lined the back with a drop cloth where he had all his paint cans, brushes, and cleanup gear. Several ladders were strapped on the roof. He did all the painting free hand. Some men wonder if they will leave a mark when they depart this world, well this fella certainly did.

When I finally arrived at Docs, I was greeted by a posse of pooches. Two dachshunds and a skittish, sweet old schnauzer. Rusty and Ruger are the wiener boys, and Pepe’ the patriarch. It was great to see Doc! He was commiserating alone pretty well. He was relaxed, well rested, and in a great mood! Handshakes and hugs were exchanged and into the kitchen we went to catch up and BS. Doc had some recently carved leather portraits lying on the table to show me. Of course I joked in gest that he didn’t have to give these to me, but the last laugh was on me. Below the stack of leather, was a large yellow envelope that said “To Tank, From Doc.” When I opened it up, out plops a leather carving of Skeeter and “Jug” Johnson, my favorite Skeeter character who was invented by Skeeter. Jug was said to be based on the caricature looks of Bill Jordan, and the mentality of some of the less informed Skeeter fans. I was speechless, but looked into the large envelope to see if there was anything else. There was. A nice leather key chain popped out. Thanks Doc!

By now, it was well passed lunchtime, and Doc decided to introduce me a proper Pittsburgh food establishment. Mohan’s was the place. Chicken is the dominant food. Wings, fried chicken, chicken Parmesan, you name it. Orders of up to 10,000 wings are filled, though they boast to filling one of 15,000. Doc and I decided to split an Italian hoagie and a dozen wings. Now these were wings! Not the skimpy, wimpy pigeon wings I’m used to being served in Md., but Buzzard sized! The hoagie was stacked full of meat, too! The perfect pre shoot meal!

Doc’s son Ethan was fresh back from a week of fishing in Canada and wrestling big pike and walleye. He was in dire need of a break, so he came along for some shooting fun too! We hit it pretty good. Plenty of pistols, along with some long guns rounded out the action. Steel targets, clay birds, and golf balls were all equally in danger. If it weren’t for the sun giving out, we would have kept at it. Ethan really enjoyed shooting some stout .45-70 loads from my Marlin Guide gun, and Docs Rugger #1. Doc is a little nervous about that #1. A Shiloh Sharps .45-70 rounded out the big bores. A sporterized Springfield, which Doc says killed Hitler was also shot. Needless to say, a great time was had.






Back to Docs house, to clean up and eat. That nights table fare was one of the largest pizzas I’ve ever seen. The box had to be tilted side wise to fit thru the front door! Surprisingly, we cleaned it up pretty quick. The night was filled with jokes, stories, laughter, and the 34th viewing of our theme movie, “Blazing Saddles.” It was working……..Doc had to be reminded how miserable he was supposed to be while serving time in solitary. Of course the customary toast to Elmer and Skeeter with some Henry McKenna was done and sipped between laughs of the movie.

Morning came and it was coffee and cogitation time. With no rush, we lazily planned the day’s schedule. Doc had a Dutch oven heating up full of potatoes, onions, eggs, cheese, and any other leftover in the fridge he needed cleaned up before momma got home. When six gunners get together, the only thing to make it better is to meet more six gunners in the area. This is the computer era for sure, and I have been lucky to meet several of my best friends thru this modern marvel. But nothing beats a face-to-face introduction and meet and greet. This is where COR comes in. Being from Pittsburgh also, it was only natural to invite him to our impromptu powder burning session. I’ve read a lot of COR’s stuff on the various gun forums, and heck, I even remember him getting a friend some .44 special dies on a special project we did a few years back. COR has a major distraction in the name of a job, and we had to work around it. He’d be meeting us for the evening shoot.

Meanwhile, It was back to Mohan’s for dinner. They had some fried chicken that needed testing by me, and I got the house surf & turf, chicken and shrimp. Fried to perfection, not greasy, it was delicious! Ol’ Ethan stuck to his roots and opted for the chicken Parmesan, while Doc got the bacon cheeseburger. Refueled and reloaded, it's back to the range. COR was waiting for us in the lot, and off we went to hunt for a vacant range. Again, there was a lot of shooting, laughs, story telling, and gun talk. Ethan did most of the shooting towards the end. By this time it was getting pretty dark, and the fire was shooting out of the barrels as the sun ran out on us again. Vehicles were loaded and we headed to Docs, where our conversation and cold drinks were shared as the talk continued. Poor COR had that job thing pop up again and had to leave well after 11:00pm. It was great to meet you Curt! Some of what I said was actually true and hope our paths cross again soon.

The two days flew by, as usual. Ol’ Doc was able to squeeze a few shucks out for me. He made a beautiful Ranger rig for my main carry piece, a 3” model 66, along with a pocket shuck for a Ruger LCP. I had the pleasure of watching a true artisan work at his craft. Along with the carving, shucks, and key chain, I was like a kid on Christmas morning.



Tuesday morning it was time to head back home. Only this time I wouldn’t be traveling alone. Skeeter and Jug would be coming along for the ride. I had them propped up on the dash, so I could keep an eye on them. After a while, I understood why Skeeter avoided Jug. Jug just rambles on incessantly, never really talking about anything in particular, but acting the expert on everything. I began to wonder if Jug wasn’t a little on the loco side, as I wondered why a leather carved character would want to talk to a real live human. Skeeter and I were having a good conversation on bullet casting when Jug blurts out, “you know a 12 gauge has 12 balls per pound, while a 16 gauge shotgun has 16 balls per pound. Guess what a 10 gauge has ?”, all proud of himself. Skeeter just dead panned it like a wooden Indian, rolled his eyes while looking at me, and said,” Tell us Jug, this is pretty complicated……” Jug all proud of himself, blurts out,”16, Skeet……hahahahaha.”

Skeeter said he was getting hungry and suggested pulling over for some burgers. He gave Jug $20 and told him to get us a bag from the rest stop. No sooner had the door closed behind Jug, when Skeeter said, “Step on it !” Skeet said Jug was driving him crazy, and well, at least he’ll have something to eat while hitch hiking. We had a good laugh and continued our conversation.

Traffic was light, except for the 18 wheelers whizzing by. One in particular, a cattle car was really moving out! I told Skeeter it was my daughters 15th birthday today and he had a great idea. He said he knew of a fireworks store right before the Md. line, and wouldn’t it be cool to shoot some off tonight for her birthday. I didn’t need to hear it twice. I thought it a great idea. As we pulled into the lot, Skeeter and I both said, “Holy $hit!!!” There was Jug with an armload of fire works, waiving us down. We told Jug that on account of Skeeter being a Federal Agent, and being on duty 24/7, he got an emergency call for a drug trafficker heading into Md. and we had to get after him. Jug said he understood and hitched a ride with a truck driver hauling cattle. He said all was going well and Jug was explaining casting to him, when the driver pulls into the fireworks place and tells him to check his tires. Jug gets out and the driver pulls off. Jug thought maybe the cattle hauler was an undercover agent too! Jug figured since he was here he’d have a look around, and bought some boomers. We told Jug to hop in, and get back on the leather carving, and drove home.



With Jug and Skeeter back where they belonged, the return trip was quick. Docs already planning the next hunt, and with that, he’ll have to be punished. He’ll be left home alone again, until me, Skeet, and Jug head back up the turnpike.

 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,741
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
You had too much fun Tank. Even Jug couldn't get y'all down & keep you from smiling. You & Doc should be ashamed of having so much fun.
 

Anthony Williams

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
288
Location
Massachusetts
Darn it Jeff, my apology, and a tip of my hat to you for mistakenly calling you "Terry." The kudos go to you Sir. Again, great read, and pics!

A.W.
 

cellar701

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
1,409
Location
Pennsylvania
Great narrative and pics. That is some sweet leather work displayed. I'll have to swap some photos of an old sporterized Springfield with Doc sometime - mine appears to be from the same timeframe as that one, and I'm pretty sure mine is the one used to kill Hitler... :wink:
 

snappy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
181
Location
Arizona
Nice story and pictures Jeff. Felt like I was there while reading it and I wish I was!

Gotta say that Mike B has got some remarkable skills with the hide!! :) Beautiful.
 

sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
Good stuff Tank, don't the women know you guys need adult supervision! Mike's skill with leather is beyond amazing, he makes it look easy but what he does just has to be seen to really be appreciated. Sounds like you guys taste tested about everything but Boysenberry pie!
Wish I could have been there to join the fun, food & shooting, I've got Callshot so the story telling is always on the front burner.

Dick
 

Jeff Hoover

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
919
Thanks for all the responses! It was a great visit with Doc, and his son Ethan. Just wanted to share some good times and kinda carry the torch for skeeter a bit. We had so much fun shooting, we neglected to take many pictures of ourselves. Shoulda got a group shot of us with COR, though we woulda had to black out his eyes and most of his face for security reasons. We did meet another shooter at the range that must have been a closet Dick "sixshot" Thompson fan as he was sporting a pair of grey crocs foot wear. We met him after he shot Ethan in the face. Nasty ricochet from shooting steel 40 yds away. Ethan was ok, COR and I being casters, looked for the hunk of lead. Anyway, here's a picture of Ethan shooting and hoarding most of the guns and ammo. He is a very good shot and likes to send the lead down range. He's a fine young man! Gotta love it!
545D96CC-5698-4158-B2BB-4AA09FE7A2B7-1266-000000C7D8C315DD_zps0c1d74a8.jpg
 

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