Today after lunch, to give Cathy a few minutes before handing the girls over and going back to work, I went out on the porch with the new Bronco air rifle*, figuring that it might amuse Dee and that Sabre (whose initial reaction last week was that it was somehow loud and therefore scary) would go around to the other side of the house to play on her own.
Not at all.
Dee amused herself with sidewalk chalk, and Sabre took a keen interest in what Daddy was doing. (I suspect that today, she actually listened and figured out that it's not loud at all.) The clanks and pings of the pellets against the little steel swingers made her grin, and ditto when I pointed out that she could watch the little orange chicken and ram move when they were hit. Shortly it even became a game: I'd break the action, load a pellet, close the action, rest the buttstock on my belt in the ready position, and look over at Sabre, who would then call out "chicken!" or "sheep!" on her preference when she was ready. I'd acquire the selected target visually, mount (hitting the safety on the way), and fire the snapshot. She learned the difference in sound between a miss (a thwap into the mud) and a hit, and learned that I sometimes have to slow down to make sure I get the hit.
Among "happy Dad" moments, this one is right up there with the bestest. Having her call the target like that is actually quite fantastic practice for me, but the making-it-fun-for-her part is priceless. I cannot reasonably expect that she'll take the interest I have, and will do my best never to push beyond simple, safe competency...
...but I'm savoring this. :-)
* Another point of praise for a gun I like more with every shot: I cannot imagine a better piece to have had in hand when this opportunity arose. It is perfect for this role: both in its attributes (great trigger, excellent sights, ergonomic safety, fully ambidextrous, and easy to run), and also in its concept. I was able to focus wholly and completely not on running the gun, but on engaging my audience and adapting as necessary. For anyone who is a teacher at heart, this is gold! A deep tip of the hat to Tom Gaylord (amusingly aka "B.B. Pelletier" on his really excellent blog), who designed and brought it from idea to reality--and also who educated me on so much background before I even went to purchase. Anyone who knows me personally can tell you that design is deeply meaningful to me, and this is a designed rifle. I'd recommend it to anyone, and everyone.