While at the 2011 NRA Convention in Pittsburgh, Sweet Daughter wanted nothing more than to stand in line to see “Gunny” again. We stood in line for 2 hours last year, and he clearly made quite an impression on her. That, and Glock has the most cushioned floor I’ve ever stood on, so I was okay with that part of the program. Saturday morning the line looked fairly short, and so like some Cold War-era Soviets, we hopped in line without even knowing the details. It turns out the line was short because it wasn’t moving. And it wasn’t moving because R. Lee wasn’t shaking hands at that point. No matter. We talked to some nice people for about a half hour and then had to step out of line to go watch the anti-gun demonstrators. They didn’t show, so we got back in line to see R. Lee. And one of those very nice, well-meaning retired law-enforcement types who was behind us in line proceeded to tell me everything he thought I should know about handguns and shooting.
Him: “You know what the best carry gun for a woman is?”
Me: “The one I’m most comfortable with and will carry.” (And you thought I was going to say a .38 snubbie, didn’t you?)
Him: “The one you’ll carry. The .22 on your hip is better than the .45 in your bedroom.”
Him: “You know, you hafta practice with your holster. You gotta practice drawing and firing from your holster. You gotta train like you fight.”
And on. And on. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum. I swear I was familiar with every cliché he uttered to the point I was finishing his sentences. He meant well, and he was a Viet Nam Veteran, so I was as polite as possible. But when I got the call that the antis showed up, SD and I lost no time in beating feet back outside for the demonstration.
Afterwards we got back in line for the third time and waited our turn. It was worth it. R. Lee says he remembered SD from last year. Now, I don’t imagine there are that many 6’ tall middle-aged moms with little girls that wait in line to see him so it was probably true, but SD was impressed. And he autographed a picture for her and her stuffed animal. AND gave her a challenge coin. Then he signed another picture for me because I told him my boss’s boss was a retired Marine, and it gave me a little street cred to have his autograph on my wall when he stopped by. And so R. Lee insisted on sending another autographed picture for the Big Boss.
“What’s his name?” R. Lee asked.
“Um, Mr. Lastname”, I said. “I don’t think he has a first name. I’ve never heard anyone use it.”
And R. Lee Ermy autographed one for “Mr. Lastname”. And when I gave it to the Big Boss, he smiled, and said he’d have it framed and put it on his office wall. I’d never seen him smile before, or say that many words to me in a row. R. Lee is magic.
'You know in the bell curve of bad-assness you are on the far edge. Maybe not as far as female helicopter door gunners but you are closer to her that to the soccer moms...' - someone who wishes to remain anonymous