Of Fathers and Sons

Guest editorial by Joey Dezendorf

I was always the oddball of my family. While my brothers and dad were in the living room watching Nascar on television, I was in my room reading fantasy novels. I was never much interested in the things the other men in my family did, plain and simple. I never enjoyed working on cars, and organized sports couldn't hold my interest. Hell, I was just different.

The one thing I enjoyed as much as my father did was shooting. When dad asked me to come target practice, my eyes would light up, and a smile would make its way onto my face. Those precious hours seemed to fly by. The smell of gun oil and black powder will forever remind me of those afternoons with my dad, when all was right with the world.

My father started me off on an old smoke-pole 20 gauge that kicked like a left-footed mule. That gun, along with lectures from the old man, taught me the basics of shooting: Always keep your muzzle pointed on a safe direction. Always keep your eye on the target. Never aim at something you don't intend to shoot. Don't jerk the trigger; squeeze it. Don't flinch. These lessons were learned quickly through an eagerness for knowledge, and many slaps to the back of the head. If there's one thing that dad could never abide by, it was improper or unsafe handling of a firearm.

Over the years, I have kept my love for shooting and hunting, and to this day, if my dad and I are lacking things to discuss, the topic of firearms always seems to turn up. Our discussions range from antique muzzleloaders to the newest pistols on the market. The excitement in his eyes is mirrored in my own, as we discuss reloading techniques and cast bullets.

Finding something you are passionate about that your kid also loves is a wonderful thing. Those hours my dad spent taking me hunting, reloading, and shooting are always going to be held dear to me. Doing something with a loved one is always a rich experience, and my dad found a way to bond with the goofball that seemed to share almost none of his interests. My dad loved me, that's for sure. He fed me, clothed me, and made sure I always had a little spending money. Doing that is enough to make me want to wish him a happy Father's Day. But finding something that we both enjoyed, and doing it with me, well, that is what makes me love him more than any man on the planet.

Dennis Dezendorf, you did a wonderful job raising me. I know I wasn't always easy to work with, but you found something to hold my interest, and you always did things that kept my passion alive. Helping me buy my first shotgun, showing me how to reload my pistol ammunition; you not only kept my interest through the years, you fed my desire to know more about it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Happy Father's Day, old man!

Joey Dezendorf


Copyright 2003 by Joey Dezendorf

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