Hunting jackrabbits amongst the old-growth sagebrush surrounding Christmas Valley, Ore., was high-grade adventure for my pals and I back in the high school days.
The movie “Young Guns” probably had a lot to do with our enjoyment of having an excuse to swagger around wearing holstered .22 revolvers as backups to the shotguns. Felt very John Wayne-ish.
Our buddy who introduced us to these jackrabbit expeditions partially sold us on the idea with tales from an earlier trip with his family when they’d walked right into a diner for breakfast wearing their holsters and pistols, sat down and enjoyed plates of biscuits and gravy with their guns on. Just like the Old West.
I assume biscuits and gravy was popular back in the Old West. Pretty sure it had to be.
So we gathered our camping gear and journeyed all the way out to Christmas Valley and chased rabbits, and you had better believe we made the trip into town from camp one morning just so we could experience the Old-Westy satisfaction of tromping into a diner packing heat. Or maybe it’s packing “warmth” if it’s a .22.
We sashayed into the diner and the waitress looked up, stopped what she was doing and paused. For an uncomfortably long time. Just stood there. Staring at us.
I like to think I’m a fair hand at reading body language, and it was clear this extremely elongated pause was not to buy time. She knew precisely how she was going to handle this. She was just giving us the same expression any parent, teacher or child care provider exhibits prior to saying something that shouldn’t need to be said.
Kind of a nonverbal sigh. When she finally spoke it was to say, “Boys. Go outside and take those guns off. Then come back in, and we’ll see about feeding you.”
You know what we did? We went back outside and took those guns off. Came back in and had biscuits and gravy. Chastened, I think is the word for what we felt after that reality check.
She was right. We knew it. We didn’t huddle up outside and decide to contribute $39,250 to Greg Walden over the course of his political career to represent our agenda. We recognized common sense and got rid of the stupid guns.
I’ve been thinking recently that one approach to gun control in this country might be to track down that waitress from Christmas Valley from 25 years ago and appoint her as a gun policy advisor. She seemed fair and reasonable. No-nonsense.
We’d have to get her a membership to Mar-a-Lago, probably, and fly her to Palm Beach so she’d be in the mix for decision-making. Maybe Walden would kick in $39,250 for the cause.
Then maybe we don’t need that waitress after all. The kids in the country now seem to be at least making progress to get beyond the standardized thoughts and prayers response from lawmakers after yet another school shooting.
Something’s gotta happen. How it ever became acceptable for children to be attacked and killed repeatedly and nothing meaningful gets done ... it’s just ... I don’t ... how ... what?
Maybe we do need that Christmas Valley waitress. Send her to Australia to brush up on their successful reduction of mass shootings, get this country safer and then it’s biscuits and gravy all around.
Jon Rombach lives in Enterprise and is a columnist for the Chieftan.